"In Heaven" - Warm and deep like the tropic sea, with Biosphere's piano chords and sublime pad and atmo sounds, Jenny Gibbert adding subliminal vocals...
"When the Night was black" - Noise (!), whispering, and string sounds far in the background. Then after 3 mins, the strings rise, everything moving slowly with a symphonic mood...
"Sky Lounge" - Lully haunting strings playing backwards, then -surprise?- the guitar comes in. Now it develops into some kind of a killer ballad!
"A Way to focus the Mind" - Again one of Geir's famous chord loops that could play a whole lifetime, wrapped in massive reverberation, strings on top.
"Nouvelle Machines" - Starts irritating with random bleeps and a loop of rustling sounds, and subsonic bass in the back- ground. Then a slow shuffling beat (103 bpm) fades in, accompanied by bass and strings, and so it moves on and on with a cool spooky sci-fi flair...
All in all, this is Pete's 'Silence' with a very strong and sublime Geir Jenssen influence. Actually it sounds more like a Biosphere record than a Namlook one.
One of the most wonderful FAX discs of all times!
(review by Wolfgang Röttger)
When two electronic masters like Namlook and Jenssen get together, expectations are high. Perhaps then, we are left more disappointed than normal if the release is in any way less than perfect?
Track 1 - "In Heaven" - the opening chime is instantly recognizable as 'Substrata'-era Biosphere. This track builds and builds into a stunning, panoramic arctic soundscape. "In a cold, beautiful, desolate, place" would perhaps be a more accurate title, but this is sublime.
Track 2 - "When The Night Was Black" - a background noise permeates this track, like a continuous howling wind or raging of the stormy sea. This is the soundtrack for all the kids who (myself included) looked out at the woods at night and wondered what was out there. A sampled voice, repeated at regular intervals, tells us that "in the winter time, when the night was black, the forest comes alive". As the track progresses, strange animals are heard to cry and the tension builds. Dark and creepy. Only questionable as to why place this track in between the two most wondrous tracks on the album - a different track order may have lent a greater feeling of coherence to the album, rather than feeling like just a collection of tracks.
Track 3 - "Sky Lounge" - opens with some ambient-treated guitar being played (backwards?). After a few minutes, drums and acoustic guitar come in and create a wonderful, soaring emotional piece. The is the albums finest moment, this is the sound of sheer joy. Absolutely wonderful.
Track 4 - "A Way To Focus The Mind" - again, the opening is very recognizable as Biosphere, creating a cold, cavernous atmosphere. Namlook synths layer over the top creating an eerie and mysterious piece, but the track doesn't evolve greatly over the course of the eleven minutes, and there is perhaps a danger of losing interest here.
Track 5 - "Nouvelles Machines" - a clanking, bleeping venture into abstract ambient/electronica. For me, this track does and says nothing, and it's a disappointment that something like this could find its way onto the release.
Overall, then, this is a bit of a mixed bag. Certainly it is a worthy addition to any fans collection, but I'd have to recommend Biosphere's solo albums first.
(review by AdAckBar1972)
Just picked up Fires of Ork2, and am completely underwhelmed. Not having heard the first one but familiar with Biosphere's work, I'm surprised how mediocre this record is. Perhaps this will grow on me, but the whole album sounds disjointed, and at 53 min., they could've done so much more with it. "In Heaven" sounds like a "lost" track from Vir.Vices2, "Sky Lounge" sounds like a new-age waltz, "Nouvelles Machines" is a waste of 12 minutes, and the other two atmo tracks "When the Night.." and "A Way to Focus..." are mediocre at best. IMO, this album also suffers from overuse of sampled voices, something which Namlook has been guilty of for the past couple of years. I don't know if I'm alone on this, but to me a 53 min. electronic album is a rip-off (what happened to all those great long 70 min. Fax albums?), especially if the material doesn't make up for the lack of playing time.
(review by Chris Knowlton)