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Johan Agebjörn — Subtracted Soundscapes
(Spotted Peccary no#, 2023, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-08-21

Subtracted Soundscapes Cover art

Subtracted Soundscapes is Agebjörn’s eighth full length album (including the two with Mikael Ogren); some of those are on Spotted Peccary, a couple are on SP’s earlier imprint Lotuspike, and several are on other labels altogether, and presumably cover a lot of different electronic music territories. So what exactly is a “subtracted” soundscape, anyway? The eight tracks here are pieces that were released on some of Agebjörn’s previous releases (both SPM and other labels) but have now had parts subtracted from them, to arrive at something calmer, gentler, and warmer than the original versions. All of the versions here are now completely without any cadences — “beatless” if you will, but with the melodic structures of the original versions remaining intact with an ear toward approaching a deeper sonic purity. I can’t say that I’ve heard the original versions of over half of the remixed pieces presented here, but what is here is treacherously beautiful, full of warmth and grandeur, with a quiet and soothing presence that is at obce comforting and irradiant. By the fourth track, “Sleep in My Arms,” we experience slow rolling shimmers of musical color with subtle space whispers that are just out of reach, and as the pieces proceed they become more and more soft and subtle. “Dulciter Somni” features guest vocalist Lisa Barra (as did the original version on Mossebo) adding multiple layers of voices over Agebjörn’s rich layered synthesizers, to create one of the most gorgeous pieces here or anywhere. The sprawling ten minute closer “Zero Gravitation” (reworked from the 2011 album The Mountain Lake) is an extension of pure bliss, filling all the corners of near and far space, while another originally from the same album, “Swimming through the Blue Lagoon” fields deep bass pulses against a shimmering backdrop and beautiful layered melodic fragments. While I’m not normally enamored of artists remixing things, here Agebjörn presents some of his earlier works in an entirely new — and improved — light.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Johan Agebjörn

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