Biosphere & Higher Intelligence Agency – Birmingham Frequencies

birminghamHigher Intelligence Agency kinda sucked. That’s being a bit harsh, as they did help shape the concept of “ambient dub” but on the other hand, it’s also an information-free concept.

Silly terms are what they are – silly – but Colourforms is almost ok for what it is, though I’d recommend Global Communication first (and last, really). They had the snap and the style, whereas HIA always had a bit too much cheese. Like Shpongle.

Preemptive disclaimer: I know you did a lot of DMT and Shpongle is very important to you but sometimes the truth hurts. They’re mediocre at best and you damn well know it.

However, when we pair HIA with Biosphere for Polar Sequences and Birmingham Frequencies, things get almost-kinda-sorta-nearly funky, and definitely enjoyable. Polar was the first collaboration, and it’s interesting but not nearly as good as Biosphere‘s solo work from that era. This record, however? Aw man! It’s hot!

By “hot” I mean “hot in the sense that it captures the tones of the imagined future so distinct to that time period and builds an accessible-yet-deep bridge between the desire for the beat and the desire to eradicate the beat.” No barns were burned in the making of this recording from the year 2000, reportedly constructed from the sounds of urban Birmingham but lacking in that “found sound” stamp that many find delightful and I find somewhat lazy.

There’s a term that folks used in the way back when, and that term was “chill” – a word engaged to describe a wide range of music that’s largely unconnected. A lot of really talentless shit got pushed out under that nearly useless term, stuff that you’d find in compilations at a $12 martini joint or in the record collections* of the hopelessly blurred and permanently burnt. But yeah, this is chill. It’s very much like sitting on a frozen playground in the middle of the night and watching your breath condense in the air and not caring that your hands cannot be felt any more.

This is the sound of simple, unhurried pleasure.

*CD sleeve album on the passenger seat of their car

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