CARBON BASED LIFEFORMS biography
Carbon Based Lifeforms (CBL) are Johannes Hedberg and Daniel Segerstad (né Ringström), both born in 1976 and based in Göteborg, south-west Sweden. They met at the tender age of 15 and are still, amazingly, working happily together, almost 20 years later. CBL itself was formed in 1996, as an offshoot from other projects, but soon became their focal point, culminating in their first release on 'mp3.com' in 1998.
It is hard to categorise CBL's music but the best description might be that of a groundbreaking mixture of acid, techno and house music. The term 'acid/ambient' has also been coined; perhaps a respectful nod to the great pioneer Brian Eno?
CBL signed with the celebrated Lyon-based Ultimae label in 2002 and have since released two full-length albums (Hydroponic Garden in 2003, and World of Sleepers in 2006). Both albums have been extraordinarily well received by connoisseurs within the ambient scene.
Additionally they have actively participated in successful collaborations with several artists, including Magnus Birgersson of Solar Fields in a project to compose the music for the Swedish dancer Olof Persson's 'Fusion' performance in 1999.
Johannes often creates the building blocks of sounds and harmonies and could tweak sounds forever, whereas Daniel develops the rhythms and sculpts the ideas into tracks. It remains unclear which of them derives the greatest pleasure from manipulating the distinctive, squelching sounds of the Roland TB-303; certainly it is much more fun than any man is entitled to have whilst twiddling electronic knobs...
Through this synergy of ideas, their aim is to combine earth and space in their music. Daniel and Johannes use the combination of nature and technology as the main inspiration for their work. They like to represent both the positive and negative effects that this collaboration can lead to, including the negative impact that incorrect technology can have on the environment.
Visitors to this unique part of the world never cease to be amazed by the stunning scenery which exists in its varying, often contrasting, forms across the whole of Sweden. Whether it be the snow-and-ice-bound beauty of Lapland in deepest winter, or the sweeping, rolling hills of Dalarna during the short, warm summer nights, the genius of CBL's music is that it suits any occasion.
Their creativity occasionally overspills into what become 'new' projects. The results can be enjoyed by listening to releases from Thermostatic and Digidroid, as well as Daniel's own SYNC24, which is the result of sudden impulses of inspiration, giving room for his personal reflections.
The music often seems to reflect the natural landscape of its land of inception; indeed if you listen to 'Photosynthesis' on the World of Sleepers album then you find yourself feeling genuine concern for the forests. Given the source of the quotation in the song, perhaps this is the point. If so, it's a damned good one and epitomises the aim of the group in pricking the conscience when it comes to something as critical as the environment.
In fact, it's such a good point that we designed our own t-shirts in tribute, with the slogan on the rear of 'What about the forests?' and we wore them to our first visit to The Eden Project, a major ecological and environmental educational facility in England's south-west corner, promoting awareness of global climate change and the importance of sustainable development. A perfect place to promote CBL's ideology, we felt!
We first became aware of CBL through the iTunes channel 'radioioambient' during a particularly warm Nordic summer, immersed in the perfect harmony between complex nature and multi-faceted soundscape; such music hadn?t had such a profound effect on us since the Higher Intelligence Agency released their innovative first album 'colourform' in 1993.
When driving home to England we usually travel through the night and CBL is the primary music of choice. It is relaxing, yet not sleep-inducing; a definite advantage when driving 2000km in a short space of time!
The live edit of the track 'Inertia' was, with kind permission, the accompaniment to our own wedding video that's how much of an impact their music can have on people; it touches lives and evokes strong memories of deeply emotional experiences, which is exactly how ambient music should be: a soundtrack for life, not a backdrop to it.
jim & joanne sharman, may 2009