TTW#10 - E-Man
Cassette only - limited edition of 350 copies
A1: The Difference
A2: De Du Da Da Di
A3: Upland I
A5: Upland II
A6: Great Nations
B1: Jeg Er Moderne
B2: Upland III
B3: Nibsy the Newsboy
B4: Heaven & Hell
B5: The Mission
B6: Upland IV
B7: De Du Da Da Di (Original)
E-Man was the first apparition of Geir Jenssen – these days better known as Biosphere. This tape, originally released in 1984 on Likvidér # LIKV 4025, features contributions from Per Martinsen (Mental Overdrive) and Nils Johansen (Bel Canto).
All tracks recorded on a Teac 4-track cassette recorder at Elverhøy Studenthjem, Tromsø and Nord-Norsk Studenthjem, Oslo, Norway between 1983-1984.
All tracks written by Geir Jenssen except: A1 written by Jenssen/Martinsen, A4 written by Jenssen/Johansen/Larsen, A6 and B4 written by Jenssen/Larsen, B1 written by Jenssen/Høyer/Larsen. Geir Jenssen: electronics, Ragnar Larsen: vocals and bass (A4, A6, B1, B4), Frank Jensen: vocals (A1, B5), Per Martinsen: electronics (A1, B7).
Illustration – SavX.
A long lost eighties artifact from UK tape label The Tapeworm, released along with three other strange and wonderful tapes, to be found elsewhere on this week's list.
E-Man is probably not a name familiar to most folks, and Geir Jenssen might not be either, but odds are, most aQ customers and drone obsessives do know Jennsen by his “other” name, Biosphere!
But before you freak out and nab one of these expecting some sort of icy grim minimal ambience, be prepared, this was originally released in 1984, and is a whole 'nother beast. E-Man specializes in gloomy synth driven new wave, with crooned dramatic vocals, programmed electronic percussion, Joy Division-y basslines, Kraftwerk like melodies, wicked cool, but definitely of its time. Although folks who have been digging on the recent resurgence of new wave / cold wave, should for sure check this out, cuz this is the real deal, warm whirring swooshes of synthesizer, “Rockit” like rhythms, electronic drums, even some scratching, a little bit funky, but also cold and clinical, space-y here and there, with haunting snippets of found sounds, mysterious voices, but all would around the groups propulsive sound. There are some moments that hint at the Biosphere to come, a little more spacey and abstract, but even those tracks are strangely new wave-y, almost new age-y actually, and often lead right into some stiff outerspace robo-funk, usually overlaid with the above mentioned reverb drenched croon. Not at all what we expected, but we're totally digging it.
Bad ass Savage Pencil artwork too…
Igloo Magazine (USA):
E-Man was the first project of Geir Jenssen, who went under a number of later monikers such as Biosphere. Jenssen's Biosphere productions are a quite distant from his E-Man sound, with minimal synthesizers and vocals preceding his ambient and techno compositions but there are some undeniable hints in the album. The tracks of this LP were recorded between 1982 and 1984…
The LP opens with “The Difference” with halting synth chords playfully toppling over each other with cold indifferent lyrical slices dissecting the analogue twiddling. The track is more of an instrumental than a vox version, with the emphasis being put on the machine sounds and the sonorous spiraling of the vintage electronics used. Likewise, “De Du Da Da Di” is instrumental; with larger brasher bass sounds making their way into the frame. “The Upland Part I” is a wonderfully warming piece of synthesizer music, mirroring some of Jenssen's later Biosphere sound. The track has some of the qualities of S.C.D.'s music, a work of real music gift that borders into space but remains somehow grounded. “Visjoner” ups the tempo with despondent vocals coiling around the chords before “The Upland Part II”, an aural breath before “Great Nations” brings a typical MW style track. “Hosono” and it's squelching bass and organ chords finishes the a-side with “Jeg Er Moderne” starting off side b, an addictive new wave number that featured on Masikdans. “The Upland Part III” and “Nibsy the Newsboy” follow, two instrumental pieces of rich synthesizer sounds. “Heaven and Hell” moves into slower synth pop lovers style. The track's measured down-tempo sound echo a number of 80s electro tracks, lonely and unrequited. “The Mission” is an clever work of discordant lyrics and warm synthlines. The final ambient whirrings of “The Upland Part IV’ introduces the split original version of “De Du Da Da Di”. Japanese samples melt into a squelching soundscape of synthesizers and space tone.