Exposé Online banner

Sverre Knut Johansen — Dreams Beyond
(Spotted Peccary SPM-3005, 2020, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-10-05

Dreams Beyond Cover art

For his fifth release on the Spotted Peccary label (and ninth album overall) Johansen has created a set of soundpaintings that, unlike many of his previous releases, aren't tied to any lofty, earthly, or sci-fi concepts. The nine instrumental pieces here stand on their own, adventurous musical visions that open the door to what might be soundtracks to dreams, propelled through visionary horizons and dramatic enveloping environments. Working at his Space Center studio, Johansen creates the pieces using synths, software instruments, electric guitars and effects, and electronic percussion, playing all of the instruments himself other than some guest cello on the album’s final track, “Human Connection.” With only a couple exceptions, the compositions are mostly in the eight to eleven minute range, offered up as extended immersive panoramas inspired by the album’s surreal cover art created by Michal Karcz (there are six panels in the cover, plus a four-page booklet with three images). Following a short four-minute intro piece, the journey gets underway in earnest with “Awakening,” a piece that shifts around rhythmically while synths paint sparkling background textures and soaring guitars offer soulful and colorful brilliance. The follow-on, “Skylight,” leads the listener through a sequenced labyrithine meditation with curious sonic mysteries randomly illuminating the background. One might be forgiven for thinking that the bird and insect sounds on “Tatra Mountains” (a range that divides Poland and Slovakia) are some kind of field recordings, when in fact they were created with a special Oscar programmable synthesizer, while the foreground throughout the piece is built on expressive synths, sequences, and shimmering textures that intermittently bloom and pass from view. With an entrance like a pillow of soft clouds, “Causeway” is dripping with power, color, and glistening beauty, with gentle mysterious percussives that grow as the piece proceeds along its path. All taken, Dreams Beyond takes the listener on an immersive journey without any conceptual baggage.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Sverre Knut Johansen

More info

Latest news

Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Richard Johnson and Jud Martindale - Creatures of Habit – For those interested with tracking down the roots of master acoustic fret bender, Richard Leo Johnson, look no further! Uncovered from the independent release catacombs is a 1993 gem from Johnson and...  (2000) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues