Biota are a United States avant-prog musical collective. They have released several albums and are known for having a very distinctive sound. David Newgarden wrote, "Biota is not even remotely like any other group I can think of" in a review of their 1995 album, Object Holder.
The band formed in 1979 in Fort Collins, Colorado
as Mnemonist Orchestra
) lead by Mark Derbyshire and William Sharp and recorded five albums on their own self-produced label, Dys. In the mid 1980s they split into a visual arts group retaining the Mnemonists name and a musical group called Biota.
Almost Never (1992) features three long compositions. The band's line-up was James Gardner, Tom Katsimpalis, Steve Scholbe, William Sharp, Gordon Whitlow, Larry Wilson and Randy Yeates.
On Object Holder (Recommended Records, 1995), the band's membership was James Gardner, Tom Katsimpalis, Steve Scholbe, William Sharp, Gordon Whitlow, Larry Wilson and Randy Yeates. Artwork for the album was by Mnemonists: Ken DeVries, Bill Ellsworth, Tom Katsimpalis, Dana Sharp, Stan Starbuck, Ann Stretton, E.M. Thomas, Dirk Vallons, Larry Wilson, Kyle Yeates and Randy Yeates. Musical guest appearances on the album are by drummer/lyricist Chris Cutler, vocalist Susanne Lewis, Andy Kredt, and Forever Einstein's Charles Vrtacek (now known as Charles O'Meara) on piano, who later joined the band fully. Object Holder was their first album to include lyrics.
Genevieve Heistek (of Set Fire to Flames and Hrsta) joined the band for Invisible Map (2001), which otherwise included James Gardner, Tom Katsimpalis, Andy Kredt, Mark Piersel, Steve Scholbe, William Sharp, Charles O'Meara (a.k.a. Vrtacek), Gordon Whitlow, Larry Wilson and Randy Yeates.
The band have only performed live twice: once in 1981, and in Montreal in 1990. The latter performance was eventually released as Musique Actuelle 1990.
As Mnemonist Orchestra
- Mnemonist Orchestra (LP, 1979, DYS 01, Dys Records)
- Some Attributes of a Living System (LP, 1980, DYS 02, Dys Records)
- Horde (LP, 1981, DYS 03, Dys Records)
- Roto-Limbs (Cassette, 1981, DYS 06, Dys Records)
- Biota (LP, 1982, DYS 07, Dys Records)
- Gyromancy (LP, 1984, DYS 10, Dys Records)
- "Nailed/Tic" (7", 1984, Recommended Records)
- Rackabones (2xLP, 1985, DYS 12, Dys Records)
- Bellowing Room (LP, 1987, Recommended Records)
- Tinct (LP, 1988, Recommended Records)
- Bellowing Room/Tinct (subsequently released together on single CD, 1990, by Recommended Records)
- Awry (10", 1989, Recommended Records)
- Tumble (CD, 1989, Recommended Records)
- Almost Never (CD, 1992, Recommended Records)
- Object Holder (CD, 1995, Recommended Records)
- Invisible Map (CD, 2001, Recommended Records)
- Musique Actuelle 1990 (taken from a 1990 live show, CD, 2004, Anomalous Records)
- Half a True Day (CD, 2007, Recommended Records)
- "Early Rest Home" on Rē Records Quarterly Vol.1 No.3 (LP, Recommended Records Rē 0103, 1986)
- also released on RēR Quarterly Selections from Vol. 1 (Recommended Records, 1991)
- "Walk Aside" on Rē Records Quarterly Vol.4 No.1 (LP, Recommended Records RēR 0401, 1994)
- Art Bears: The Art Box (2003, remixes)