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Sverre Knut Johansen — Still Time
(Spotted Peccary no#, 2024, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-06-25

Still Time Cover art

In recent years Norwegian composer and multi-instrumentalist Sverre Knut Johansen hasn’t missed any opportunities to build his music around a concept; there was Secret Space Program in 2017, Precambrian two years later, and then Metahuman in 2022. This time the concept is a bit more down to earth, that there is Still Time to prevent extinctions of animal wildlife — there is a sense of hope permeating the music at hand, but also a sense of urgency within it, though extinction itself is a natural phenomenon as well — humanity can’t stop the changes that will take place naturally over time, though it is our duty not to accelerate it. One thing must be said regarding this release: the booklet for Still Time — one page for each of the ten compositions, and then a few extras for credits and such — contains some of the most beautiful wildlife photography that one is likely to find anywhere, along with a brief explanation of each; a listener is led to believe that the photos (which were taken by Solly Levi at various nature preserves around Africa) came first, which then led to the titles, and finally the compositions and arrangements of tracks like “Oryx in Yellow Light,” “Rhinoceros on Large Salt Pan,” “The Desert Elephants of Namibia,” “The Golden Flamingo Lake,” and “A Cheetah’s Realm” among them. While it’s not noted precisely what instruments were used to create the arrangements, one can figure hardware synths and software tools to be a big part of it, along with a heaping helping of studio and reverb effects. In particular on “Desert Elephants of Namibia,” the marching pace is matched with elephant drums and orchestral ebb and flow, while many of the other pieces tend toward more electronic sounds. There are plenty of angelic wordless vocals mixed in among these pieces as well, and “The Golden Flamingo Lake” features some Far Eastern sounds not unlike a Japanese koto. The two opening tracks, “Massive Extinction” and “Still Time (Saving Our Planet),” set the stage perfectly for all that follow, resplendent in their grandeur, evocative, radiant, and beautiful. Throughout, Still Time offers stunning and powerful elements of musical imagery.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Sverre Knut Johansen

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