Geir Jenssen, who also goes under the name of Biosphere, lives in a town in northern Norway and assembles soundscapes. The noises he uses in this one come from a trip he made up Cho Oyu, a mountain on the border between Nepal and Tibet. The amount of wind and bell on the album hint at the ease with which he could have been overwhelmed by the hugeness of the landscape and peace-and-Buddhism stereotypes of Tibetan life, but he chooses his samples sparingly and shows a holistic and precise appreciation of place, giving time to small, specific sounds, such as the tip-tap of birds pecking at biscuits on a rock, and the incidental grunts of passing yak herders. He’s helped by Jon Wozencroft, who tucks the CD into a stiff card envelope along with a map and tour diary. This is packaging with a sense of occasion. Every once in a while Jenssen overworks an effect, but in its totality Cho Oyu 8201m is an absorbing release: an arthouse documentary without the scenery.
// Notes from the Road
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