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Sverre Knut Johansen — Distant Shore
(Origo Sound OCD 9311, 1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-07-01

Distant Shore Cover artNorwegian multi-instrumentalist and composer Johansen builds lush symphonic soundscapes of the highest order, rich in melodics, well developed and skillfully arranged. There is an ever-changing quality about the music on Distant Shore, themes are in constant redevelopment, nothing repeats, which keeps the music interesting, yet there are no sharp edges — it all flows together too smoothly, creating an illusion of lethargy. The arrangements — mostly synthesizers, sequencers and an occasional outburst of soaring pyrotechnic guitar (or introspective soprano sax), go far to reinforce all these first impressions. But first impressions can be deceiving. Under the surface is a cauldron of melodic energy and subtle rhythmic intensity. The only flaw here is the poppy "Eruption" with those damned drum machines — a song that tends to spoil the continuum of this otherwise brilliant album. It took this writer several listens to cut through the smooth synthetic surface, but — like Kit Watkins' Azure, there is far more going on here than meets the ear at first listen.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 7, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Sverre Knut Johansen

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