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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Sverre Knut Johansen Contact (2017)

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

“Contact is a story put in music and interpreted with an unusual strength of rhythms and where the delight lives with uncountable points of emotions”

1 Contact 4:18 2 Hope 4:43 3 Journey Through Space 6:44 4 Apocalypse 6:44 5 Cosmonaut 5:12 6 Sphere Alliance 7:00 7 Ancient Civilization 3:59 8 Apocalypse Pt. II 3:35 9 Moonbase 9:56 10 Airwaves 6:17 11 Pensive Moment 3:30 Sverre Knut Johansen Bandcamp (DDL 61:58) (V.F.) (Upbeat, Cinema Music)

Although it doesn't seem like it, Sverre Knut Johansen is a rather prolific artist. Set apart his albums produced by the American label Spotted Peccary, two all in all, the Norwegian architect of sounds and atmospheres keeps producing his music in an independent way via his Bandcamp site. After 3 albums in 2016, the one that we like to compare to Erik Wollo returns with a 4th opus in 12 months. That's a lot of music my friends! But the art of EM being a divinatory one, a lot of imagination and know how to transpose her into music seems easier for some than for others. Inspired by apocalyptic events, destructions of mass by invaders or by man, CONTACT is a story put in music and interpreted with an unusual strength of the rhythms which sows the swell, otherwise the tsunami in a universe where the delight lives with uncountable points of emotion which feeds it.

The title-track begins this most recent journey of Sverre Knut Johansen with a soft rhythm. Pulsations, too much spaced to create a livened-up structure, pound an approach in mode suspense whereas a voice of cybernetic goddess blows an aria which fits very well to the synth veils perfumed of the mysteries of the East. Hoops go and come in their stroboscopic cocoon, insufflating more of intensity into a rhythm which will take off for a heavy and lively Electronica. Thunders of percussions set the fire to our ears while lines of synth get spin by crisscrossing themselves to trace harmonious beams in acuteness tints, like the tears of a nostalgic saxophone. In 4 minutes, Sverre Knut Johansen condenses the various phases of his last album. Hope follows with an approach as much intense. Rolling of furious percussions make rage the layers and the effects of synth which inject paradoxical elements where shine these melodies which we have already heard somewhere, otherwise in the music of the musician native of Mo i Rana. Arpeggios shiver under this intense sound fauna where we can also hear sighs of astral divinities. There are points of intensity here which are pure delights for sensitive souls, especially after the short ambient passage which fed on sound effects and on lamentations of a completely unexpected guitar. Journey Through Space respects the musical direction of the first two titles here by presenting a structure as heavy and as dense of musical and sound elements, but strongly watered of good orchestral effects. We doubtless enter the most cinematographic approach of CONTACT. A very meditative title which is sculptured in Philip Glass' mold, Apocalypse is a small jewel of the minimalist art which hangs on constantly to the minimalist tune of the keyboard. We pass by all the ranges of emotion here while the music embraces ethereal passages, others stormier otherwise more complex with a vision of sci-fi and finally a heavy techno ideal for drunk Zombies. Most of the titles here hold us all on the alert with constantly evolving structures. While our ears thought they could go quiet with the very honeyed intro of Cosmonaut, the title evolves subtly towards a huge theatrical rock where will reign a guitar and its heavy riffs as well as its convoluted harmonies, if not solos.

Sphere Alliance makes no compromise and reveals a structure still very heavy but forged in a good electronic rock where our fingers remain more active than our feet … But one can dance over it! The heavy rhythm is sitting on sober percussions and on sequences which sparkle from all sides without really wanting to lead the pace. The synth is seducing with breezes which are transformed into layers of voices but especially into a swarm of sound effects which always tease our curiosity for sounds. And this desire for tones, the sounds and their colors and is more than justified here! Ancient Civilization offers a very energetic tribal music. That reminds me of Element 4 in a context of African chants or yet to actin movie music by Hans Zimmer, kind of Black Hawk Down. Arpeggios glittering in a sphere of tranquility, Apocalypse Pt. II is one of the two quiet titles, the other one being Pensive Moment, that we find here. The ambiences are always very profound, giving this film vision which glides all over this last contact between Sverre Knut Johansen and the music lovers. Moonbase is another very intense title with percussions and heavy pulsations which plough a heathen rhythm. Effects of voices and/or of sibylline breezes feed the paradoxes of this motionless rhythm which is weaved for cinema, the kind of action movie where the tension is at its height, with its structural approach which plays on both poles, ambient and rhythmic, before offering a 2nd part and its suspense amplified which hangs on to our lobe of ear. Intense and effective! Airwaves offers a kind of nice fusion between Groove and Chill Out with an ambience of a quite futuristic movie. It's lively, even sensual, and a pleasant guilty pleasure! Pensive Moment closes this last story all in music from the Norwegian musician with agood melody where arpeggios hesitate to go out of a very nostalgic envelope. What of better than to end an album of disaster, of human greyness, with a thing which makes very Vangelis? Another beautiful surprise of Sverre Knut Johansen who continuous his seduction operation among the ears gourmand of electronic rhythms in a universe which is just as much.

Sylvain Lupari (April 6th, 2017) *****

Available at Sverre Knut Johansen Bandcamp

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