Biota

Invisible Map

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AllMusic Review by

The fifth album by the collective Biota (if one doesn't count the LPs under the name Mnemonists), Invisible Map carries on with the change of direction instigated on Object Holder. This time, instead of having about 20 minutes of pop songs in the middle of the group's usual dreamy landscapes, the pop material is thoroughly integrated to the music. The singer is Montrealer Geneviève Heistek (of Godspeed You Black Emperor's entourage). Her half-alternative, half-trip-hop voice appears on every third or fourth track, starting with "The Rapid Color." In 76 minutes, Biota takes the listener on a beautiful, if tormented, journey through 37 short pieces. Gordon Whitlow's David Thomas-like accordion riffs meet with Tom Katsimpalis' balalaika, William Sharp's hurdy-gurdy, and Chuck W. Vrtacek's delicate piano lines, all wrapped up with audio art fabric. With its wide range covering delicate post-folkish pop songs to ambient soundscapes, Invisible Map may be the collective's most accomplished and accessible release to date. All music styles (folk, jazz, blues, rock, musique concrète, free improv, etc.) coalesce to be filtered through the dreamer's ears: background vocals are slightly treated, soloing instruments are heard from a distance, rhythm tracks are deliberately just a bit out of sync. This way, the simple tunes never really come into focus, giving the whole album an aura of mystery. The 12-page booklet contains beautiful artwork by the Mnemonists collective. Strongly recommended to both fans and curious newcomers.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 00:44 Amazon
2 03:46 Amazon
3 02:59 Amazon
4 02:36 Amazon
5 02:39 Amazon
6 00:29 Amazon
7 03:19 Amazon
8 02:12 Amazon
9 03:29 Amazon
10 00:52 Amazon
11 02:25 Amazon
12 03:21 Amazon
13 01:36 Amazon
14 01:58 Amazon
15 02:08 Amazon
16 00:56 Amazon
17 00:54 Amazon
18 00:32 Amazon
19 03:22 Amazon
20 04:30 Amazon
21 00:46 Amazon
22 01:32 Amazon
23 01:33 Amazon
24 00:37 Amazon
25 01:28 Amazon
26 01:15 Amazon
27 01:19 Amazon
28 03:18 Amazon
29 01:22 Amazon
30 02:05 Amazon
31 01:37 Amazon
32 03:21 Amazon
33 03:08 Amazon
34 00:56 Amazon
35 03:23 Amazon
36 02:38 Amazon
37 01:03 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick