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.
AllMusic Review by François Couture