120 OneTwenty is the latest album from Daniel Biro. It dropped in the middle of February and took six years to complete. The album is a heady homage to the electronic music of the 1970s, as well as a musical “Thank You” to Biro’s brother, Nico, who passed away a few years ago. Nico initiated Daniel into the wonderful world of music.
Divided into 10 sections, 120 is designed to be listened to in one sitting, in its entirety. As Biro says, “Music needs time. Please give generously!” The album’s title denotes the beats per minute of the entire composition.
Growing up in Italy and France, Biro got his first synth when he was 12 years old. Moving to London in 1985, over the ensuing years Biro released a dozen albums, along with writing music for feature and short films, television documentaries, theater, sound installations, and dance performances.
The first section is called “Door,” and the name is apt. The piece opens slowly, riding gentle synths that emerge into brilliant, effusive energy and then descend to shimmering waves of softly glowing emanations forming “Ancient,” a dreamily intoxicating suffusion of tantalizing colors and sparkling hues. The mood is radiantly wistful, like the oozing harmonics of the empyrean. Two-thirds of the way through, “Ancient” assumes industrial-lite jazz tones, elegant and full of trickling textures.
“Nimbus” rides a droning synth riding exotic polyrhythmic percussion. For lack of a better term, the tune exudes electro-pop tones and textures carrying filaments of mystical timbres akin to a caravanserai. “Nimbus” flows easily into “Itinerarium,” an undulating, soothing jazz-flavored piece full of muted sensual flavors that develop and swell with voluptuous intensity. “Embark” offers a mechanical sensibility, along with edgy, ascetic colorations traveling on a stuttering polyrhythmic pulse segueing into “Levitator,” which combines fusion jazz with sheening psychedelic-laced tones.
“Barren” oozes portentous ambient colors appropriate for Ridley Scott’s neo-noir Blade Runner – pensive, inscrutable and taut with tarnished sophistication. “Immortal” exudes an ambience similar to “Barren” but injects brighter, delicate tones of trembling luminosity. As “Barren” melds into “Returning,” a metallic undertone diffuses, mounting to interweaving layers of textures that become a scintillating wall of effervescing sound.
The final section is entitled “Outside,” which opens with an almost indiscernible emerging primeval air that transports the listener back to the moment when God looks upon his creation and says, “It is good.”
The only words capable of describing 120 are “gorgeously delicious.” Daniel Biro’s musical wizardry amalgamates complex layers of sonic tessellations and gravity-defying textures into confections of pure elegance. This is ambient music as it should be, immanent and transcendent, yet revelatory. It’s simply sublime.