[Northern Plains sleeve]"Northern Plains" (Album, 1999)


It seems that if BIOsonic have one trademark, it's starting with a slow burn, and melding into something more upbeat. It sounds like they would be a good choice for composing soundtracks. Except for the brief snatch of a spacey sample halfway through it, the pace of the title track makes it sound ideal for a slow glide on the sea - something on a yacht, perhaps. Collision starts with that slow burn and ricochets into drum 'n' bass, and sounds ideal for a neon-lit car chase; while From Earth 2 Moon is all Spanish guitar, moody synths and theremin - I can just picture shady dealings going down in some beachside bar when I listen to it. Except for the spacey noises, which make me think of stars and planets, again.

The ambient synths and twangy guitar give Silence a modern cowboy vibe, and it's rather soothing, although nothing much happens. The highlight of the album by far, and sadly the only track featuring Claire Bradley's crystal-clear voice, is This Life, a beautifully sung piece of brooding paranoia, similar in effect to Portishead, and something that wouldn't sound out of place on the latest Death In Vegas album. Miles has more of those ambient synths and features tablas, but doesn't really go anywhere, which makes the upbeat drum 'n' bass of Tension a welcome bit of movement, although the rawk geetar riffs spoil it completely. Still has more tablas, hauntingly faint samples of bells, and a swooshing noise, which makes it sound like the soundtrack to a monsoon. sixovernine starts off sounding like Broadcast and jumps into more beats, and is ideal as a closing track.

So, any film or documentary makers out there looking for a good soundtrack? Judging by this album, which is full of moody, contemporary noir stuff, BIOsonic would be a good soundtrack choice for a modern crime film. Either that or a space travel documentary. Or an urban cowboy film. Or a travelogue. Or just let BIOsonic soundtrack your life. 7/10

Anna Jellinek

See also:
Jon Black