HINTERLAND: Codes of the Biosphere (2021)
“To make things short, you can shoot a movie in your head with Hinterland's first album”
1 Eykela Forest 7:04
2 Vossai Moonfall 6:22
3 The Arc 7:32
4 Triangulation Station 11:00
5 Umbral Pass 8:14
6 Circumnavigation 7:56
7 Codes of the Biosphere 8:24
(DDL 24 Bits 56:32) (V.F.)
(Dark Ambient, Cinematic score)
A brand-new musical project linking Sean Costello, Isostatic, and one of the bosses of Synphaera Records, Don Tyler who is behind Remote Vision, Hinterland offers in CODES OF THE BIOSPHERE a first album of atmospheric music with sonic resources that are renewed from track to track. The scenery is fabulous, mixing the dark worries of the more or less compact drones to landscapes with slow evolutions that flirt on the fingertips with a psybient vision. Mostly ambient, the album projects a sensory dimension that adequately responds to the influences of Isostatic and its musical landscapes torn between emerald and scarlet colors that paints a vision of after-world quite realistic and consistent with the PDF photo booklet that comes with the download, still offered in 24Bits.
Eykela Forest brings us into CODES OF THE BIOSPHERE with continuous beeps that blend into a buzzing black mass. A ghostly rhythmic framework disappears as soon as it appears. These drones hint at the action of a stream developing into bubbling magma. The woosshh are huge and hungry. And if tinklings adorns the setting with a seraphic vision, it is also to awaken an evanescent static rhythm swirling with a delicate strobe-like tilt. A little longer, this rhythmic invitation is swallowed by another atmospheric passage draining the hum of an industrial life beyond the synth layers. A third rhythmic incursion reaches our ears around the 5:30 minute mark. Always as sharp and curt, this circular rhythm completes the 7 minutes of this introductory track that gives a good taste of the next 50 minutes of this new album of the duo Hinterland. Vossai Moonfall is a floating track with no breath of rhythm, but breaths of life. Like those flute chants that lull the bass-pulses whose echo melts into the barely buzzing drone effects. A melodious approach emerges little by little from this mass of sounds. Somewhat like a mechanical harp, it develops its sequenced approach with an emotive gradation where other arpeggios tinkle and teem nests of drones. The ethereal vision that Sean Costello and Don Tyler weave on this album is quite fusional between the tinnitus and those heavenly vocal layers that raise the level of intensity. Here, as elsewhere in CODES OF THE BIOSPHERE. The Arc continues on this momentum mixing intensity and emotionality, started in the last right of Vossai Moonfall, with an opening that crushes our senses. The ears on alert to this avalanche of tones, its opening is worthy of the shifting of a mega space shuttle filmed for the IMAX cinema with its THX. Different sounds and sound effects converge on the first 90 seconds of the track, which gradually decreases its level of intensity to reach a panorama that is equivalent to what our eyes see on the photo booklet. It's beautiful, it's serene, even idyllic!
We catch the first beats of the album with Triangulation Station. The title requires 90 atmospheric seconds before we hear the sequencer untie a structure zigzagging puny under a big cloud of electronic drones. Sometimes audible and sometimes muffled, the structure travels among the different shades and paths of the synth layers until it disappears, 3 minutes later, in a mass of drones and distortions that calms down 3 minutes after. Giving up the rights over the rhythm to the sequencer that comes back a second time as Triangulation Station will conclude with a softly lapping structure under nice orchestrations to melt the least sensitive soul around the music. Umbral Pass is another one of these ambient tracks whose evolving landscapes develop our imagination. A track with resonant glass chords whose PDF booklet photo evolves in symbiosis with our ears. The sound envelope is invasive, almost claustrophobic, with details that meet the prospects of discovery of this passage with iodized shadows. Circumnavigation develops a bit like the previous track, but slower. An atmospheric track centered on the rustling of the winds and where wandering chords structure thoughts between the woosshh. The title-track explores a fascinating ambient melody that becomes a seductive astral rhyme for sleepless nights. The setting is great for this first album of Hinterland which is built on the dynamics of the American label whose very good albums keep piling up.
A futuristic soundtrack for the filmmaker in us who dreams of making a sci-fi movie, CODES OF THE BIOSPHERE contains the necessary resources to push us further and further into a reflection to explore a planet with iodized oxygen. The idea of integrating a PDF booklet where each title is expressed by a picture helps greatly to unlock a timid imagination. To make things short, you can shoot a movie in your head with this first album of Hinterland.
Sylvain Lupari (October 17th, 2021) *****
Available at Exosphere Bandcamp