Invisible Map


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Invisible Map Review

by François Couture

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