JOHAN AGEBJÖRN: The Mountain Lake (2011)
“I have quite enjoyed this wind of freshness that surrounds the EDM and New Age melodies of The Mountain Lake”
1 Spacer Woman From Mars (Ambient Mix) [with Sally Shapiro] 3:10
2 Amylium Casparium [with Neon Coil] 5:07
3 Underworld Mumble 1 0:15
4 The Stones Are Blasted 5:15
5 Spiral Staircase 5:43
6 Underworld Mumble 2 0:13
7 Swimming Through the Blue Lagoon (Original Casio MT-52 Instrumental) 5:04
8 Zero Gravitation 10:10
9 Take Me Home [with Sylwia van
der Wonderland] 5:15
10 The Chameleon (Johan Agebjörn Remix Edit) [with Glass Candy] 4:29
11 Last Tram To Comet Square 13:01
12 Love Ray [avec Lisa Barra] 4:33
13 Siberian Train (Steve Moore Remix) 7:54
(CD/DDL 70:08) (V.F.)
(Ambient, EDM, Prog New Age)
While doing a short research on Johan Agebjörn, we learn that he is a Swedish musician whose music crosses ambient approaches and classical piano. But he is more known for his work with the Swedish princess of disco, Sally Shapiro, with whom he impregnated a strong Italian disco style tendency. THE MOUNTAIN LAKE is his 2nd opus on Lotuspike, a division of Spotted Peccary known for its progressive New Age approach and brings to it a more EDM vision. Structured on 13 tracks, THE MOUNTAIN LAKE is a pleasant album to hear where an atmospheric EM style is shaping quite well to the hybrid and disparate rhythms, drawing thus some very nice melodies which come up in the standards of an intelligent and innovative synth-pop.
Crackles, sizzling and static white noises open Spacer Woman from Mars (Ambient Mix). A soft synth line floats on a bass pulsating undulation while Sally Shapiro's felted voice sways among nervous oscillations which flicker all around the music. Static, the rhythm moves in stroboscopic circles whereas a sequential line gets harmonizing with the hatched ethereal vocalizes from the Swedish Diva. Scattered percussions and spasmodic keyboard chords shape a circular and motionless techno. This first track depicts the album's ambivalent atmospheres where rhythms are in opposition to the harmonies while being encircle by moderate musical elements. Amylium Casparium has more mordant with its stroboscopic sequenced line which goes along with good panting percussions. Fine resonant chords and good metallic percussions support the weight of the brusque rhythm which, in spite of its clear technoïd trend, remains fossilized in its dancefloor approach wrapped that it is of nice layers of an airy, oneiric and serene synth. The Stones Are Blasted is a good electronic melody, quite as Swimming through the Blue Lagoon, with a minimalism sequence which pulses a hypnotic tempo with delicate arpeggios sparkling in a harmonious electronic atmosphere. Bells of a sombre monastery resound, and Spiral Staircase spreads a dark synth line with tones of old organ coming from darkness. A mephistophelic approach where we follow a dark and murky movement, among whispers and variations of which the oscillatory curves feed a soft paranoiac madness.
Zero Gravitation is THE MOUNTAIN LAKE's most electronic track. It's a long musical piece which evolves in an ambient structure with fine pulsations of which palpitations awake softly a morphic rhythm covered by nice wrapping synth layers. It's a fragile and latent rhythm, as well as slowly progressive, that gives this taste to stamp one's feet on a long track with vocalizes strata which criss-cross the blackness of a soft cosmic down-tempo. Take me Home is another beautiful electronic ballad that seems to be coming out of Amylium Casparium mould, but which remains more balanced, with good percussions effects and soft felted voices whispering behind soft arpeggios with tones of glass. The rhythm there is pleasant and lively, quite as in The Chameleon which is on the other hand more insistent and slightly livelier, especially with these limpid arpeggios which roll up a tempo become crystalline as it progresses on strikes of percussions and curt and scattered synth pads. Love Ray is a soft melody coming from stars where Lisa Barra's whispers float among crystalline chords and light hoops of glasses. Siberian Train ends with a frenzied rhythm where a sequential line waves with strength on beautiful percussions which draw the movement of a train on a furious railroad. Johan Agebjörn amazes for his vision and musical creativity where everything is linked on a furious tempo but always coated by beautiful layers of a silky synth.
I have quite enjoyed this wind of freshness that surrounds THE MOUNTAIN LAKE. Johan Agebjörn managed to knit an album where ambivalent rhythms going from soft techno to down-tempo are shaping to ambient or moderate surprising structures. It's a real nice album where suave vocalizes are being lost in the breezes of synths and hybrid rhythms that are seething on beautiful percussions and sequential lines always near rhythmic explosions that we have here and there. In fact, it's a nice mixture that is just well dosed.
Sylvain Lupari (April 27th, 2011) ***½**
Available at Spotted Peccary Music