aka Geir Janssen
continues his string of striking electronic releases with Dropsonde -- his fifth for the Touch label, showing that he's definitely found his right spiritual home by now. As with his other recent efforts, Dropsonde explores a particular theme or style throughout, in this case his own brand of fusion. Though starting with the same rhythmic chill that has helped define his work over the years -- muffled, clipped beats, background drones, and so forth -- opening track "Birds Fly by Flapping Their Wings" has as its key element a gentle, skittering cymbal loop. The tension between such jazz-tinged breeziness and the sterner flow of the overall arrangement makes for a compelling listen, starting off an album that happily lives up to its initial promise. As other rolling drum or percussion parts step up on each song -- never overpoweringly so, but always a prominent element -- Janssen
builds in more gentle pulses, simple, reflective melodies, and skittering electronic glitch to create a complex but still focused series of collages. The almost martial beat on "Fall In, Fall Out" and the tight loops on "Sherbrooke," sounding somewhere between several skipping CDs and the most beautiful ambient piece Brian Eno
never recorded for On Land
, make for captivating listening. "Altostratus" provides a slight change to the album's general approach by setting aside the jazz-derived percussion, while "In the Shape of a Flute" does indeed have a bit of flute sampling added to the song along with the other expected elements. "Daphnis 26" is the dark highlight of the album, the shuffling, rapid-fire drums there sounding ominous enough as it stands, while the wheezing arrangement overall suggests an old factory working late into the deep night.