Review of Almost Never - from Buttrag #8 (Chicago), May 1993

More richly twilled sonic collages, packaged, as usual, gorgeously with a 12-page booklet rife with original artwork. While Biota's basic m.o. in many ways remains the same all the way back to their days as the Mnemonists (the name now seemingly assigned to their artwork wing of the organization), their last few releases have embraced a largely acoustic swirl with greater and greater frequency; the unique harmonic blending and rigorous sound processing that occurs often renders particular "instruments" unrecognizable or clearly written passages choppy and broken-up, but the non-electric foundation or root of the sound -palette lends a certain organic presence to the music. Records like Tumble and Awry may appear, on the surface at least, to be moving into a more musical vocabulary, and with Almost Never the usual dissonance (albeit an extremely careful, beautifully sculpted dissonance) is at its least obvious level, but it's just a trick. Biota continue to move and progress; like precious few others playing "experimental" music, this combo may have an identifiable "sound,' but they don't rest on any laurels. Within the often dense, lush and beautiful scapes Biota create, a huge sound-world is evident, and the many strange points of reference (or things that seem to be such) are drawn from a wide range of experience. Self-created snatches of music derived from endless styles float in and out, the unique arrangement of instruments (such as marxophone, hurdy gurdy, and penny whistles among more standard choices) mesh for new textures, and the stunning arrangement of these sounds and patterns transform the old into new, or better yet, nothing you've heard before. Another incredible collection that flows seamlessly.