Journalist Wyndham Wallace on the Kasper Bjørke Quartet
Ambient music’s currently enjoying a renaissance, which has coincided with the growing reclamation of New Age music. Despite being known for minimalist techno, Cologne’s Kompakt Records have long championed what their annual compilations call Pop Ambient. Danish producer and DJ Bjørke may be better known for his club-friendly style, but The Fifty Eleven Project, a two-hour collection devoted to the years following his cancer diagnosis, might be the finest example of that sound to date, combining elements of ambient, New Age and classical to create a shimmering, nocturnal masterpiece.
Clearly pursuing peace, Bjørke's plush analogue synths and slumbering sequencers, sometimes embellished by strings and piano, have a mesmerising effect. Nonetheless, there’s an additional, unsettling foreboding present, as though John Carpenter were lurking in the shadows, and electronica fans, too, will revel in the infi nite textures and wafts of A Winged Victory styled melody. Ultimately, its narcotic effects distinguish it best – and that Bjørke’s been given the all-clear is also worth celebrating.