"Like much of our work, Invisible Map embraces the concept of travel. The map is not literal; it is intuitive and/or instinctual. The movement may occur across time, or over geographic distance." Bill Sharp of Biota.
If fans of Biota were shocked by the pop songs that appeared for the first time on the previous Biota release on ReR, Object Holder, Invisible map is going to send them reeling. On Object Holder the songs were courtesy of Susanne Lewis (Hail), and made a glorious twenty-minute interlude in the centre of what was a typically mysterious Biota landscape of half-heard, half-remembered fragments of folk, jazz, rock and ambient. On Invisible Map, however, the songs kick the whole project off, and recur at regular intervals. They are sung by Genevieve Heistek, from the same school of Montreal musicians who spawned God Speed You Black Emperor. Heistek is a real find; her understated part folk, part Indie vocals are imbued with a wistful quality that perfectly complements Biota's obsession with memory and distance.
The songs provide a central point around which Biota hang their esoteric production ideas, cajoling, commenting on, shadowing and re-formulating what is essentially folk-rock. Crazy shawms suddenly spurt out of the mix, unsteady tripping rhythms from the drums counterpoint interlocking guitars, and unsettling sound processing pushes the material to the edge of oblivion. The instrumental parts of the album revolve around folk dance music, but there are Arabic scales and mutated Country and Western to propel us through the imaginary landscapes. The tracks were built up from solo accordion or rubab, drums and guitar, and the whole piece is woven into an ambiguous cinematic journey. Mixing and effects were applied in real time, "by hand". This gives a wonderful spontaneous feel to the music, and Biota have made an art out of accepting and working with freak accidental effects. It is not easy to pen an avant gard pop masterpiece, but with Invisible Map Biota have achieved this almost effortlessly.
Biography: Biota started out as The MNEMONISTS, a group of composers and artists from Fort Collins Colorado. They are masters of the art of creating drifting hypnotic sound-collages out of hurdy-gurdy, pre industrial loops, processed ambient sound, electric guitar, and fragments of half forgotten memory. Their work is highly visual, and is always accompanied by beautiful line drawings and painted art works; the total meaning is forged from the combination of sonic and visual information. As The MNEMONIST ORCHESTRA they recorded cult LP's of unbelievable density and complexity, the best known of these being the extraordinary HORDE, re-released by ReR in 1998. Biota have also released four CD's on ReR - Tumble, Bellowing Room, Almost Never & Object Holder. The MNEMONIST name was retained by the visual part of the group, and they produced the stunning artwork for this new release.
"Not even remotely like any other group I can think of - no less than astonishing" CMJ
"Aswim with ideas, somewhere between ambient void and Dead-Head jamming" TIME OUT
"Truly modern music never sounded so evocative or emotional" ADVOCATE PAPERS