(Touch)

In 2001, Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere) travelled to Tibet with the aim of climbing the Cho Oyu mountain – sixth highest top of the world – armed with minidisc, microphone, shortwave radio and photographic equipment. Jenssen’s trip is now documented by the diary that he wrote during the climb – which is transcribed in the CD booklet and, with additional photos, in his website biosphere.no – and by the twelve tracks of this splendid CD, one of those items that, when received in a certain frame of mind, make me feel literally inadequate and – in this particular case – full with admiration for people like Jenssen, who endure huge efforts to fulfil their quest for something that no word can define correctly. The sounds of “Cho Oyu” are radiant in their simplicity, presenting us with lots of suggestive views of the Tibetan environment while working effectively as a spirit-heightening background. A herd of yaks is led by the shepherds with melodic whistling, eliciting a heartwarming sense of purity; shortwave interferences of an airplane’s staff communicating with ground control, casually recorded at night by Jenssen while he was at 6400m, remind us how lonely we can be – wherever we are. The wind is omnipresent: one can feel the limbs freezing even while sitting on the couch. When the raw materials get treated, the magic springs out in large quantities, like in the fantastic loop of Tibetan music in “Jobo Rabzang”, which is as good as any Jon Hassell masterpiece. “Cho Oyu” is deeply significant in every aspect, uncovering our most hidden sense of non-belonging and subjecting it to the universal laws, to see if there is still a chance of avoiding everyday’s useless gestures and comments. Jenssen’s aural and written narrative are straightforwardly efficient: I found myself reading the text, surrounded by these sounds and voices both at late night and very early morning, trying to adapt my imagination to a similar ordeal, something that I’m almost sure I won’t be able to experience in my life. Thanks to Geir Jenssen’s profoundness, I can at least feel it a little nearer. It’s not enough, though.

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