Substrata (released, oddly, on the new age-heavy All Saints label) was the first full-length solo work released by Biosphere's Geir Jenssen following a three-year period of silence. The album was the first of three to appear almost simultaneously, however -- the other two being the soundtrack to the psychological thriller Insomnia, on the Norwegian Origo Sound label, as well as his third Apollo album -- proving he'd hardly been in hibernation. Interestingly, while many ambient artists have moved increasingly toward the integration of percussion and rhythmic sequencing, Substrata finds Jenssen almost completely abandoning the rhythmic elements of earlier works such as Patashnik and "Novelty Waves," focusing on dark, subtly melodic, often piercingly melancholic soundscapes that flow seamlessly from one to the next. The album recalls the more abstract moments of Global Communication's ambient works, as well as the glacial expanses of Jenssen's 1996 collaboration with Higher Intelligence Agency, Polar Sequences, and is quite easily among his most accomplished, satisfying works to date.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Cooper