Sverre Knut Johansen: Secret Space Program (Spotted Peccary, 2017)

May 6, 2017 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Sverre Knut Johansen: Secret Space Program

Norwegian ambient composer Sverre Knut Johansen’s new album is themed around extraterrestrial life and abduction conspiracies, but it sounds a bit more earthly than one might expect at first. Opener “MILAB (Military Abduction)” even features seagull calls and wave crashes. In addition to swirling, arpeggiating synthesizers, a lot of the instrumentation sounds like flutes or sweeping strings, but guitars seem to be the only non-electronic instruments mentioned in the liner notes. The rhythms are often very percussive and dramatic, sometimes getting into choppy, stuttering IDM territory, other times sounding more cinematic. By “Genetic Programs”, we’re into more of a deep space realm, and possibly into some sort of electromagnetic field that’s disrupting the flight, and causing static and interference. “Precognitive Abilities” has skittering Autechre beats along with dramatic new age melodies. “Sphere Being Alliance” is more trancey, like BT or something. The album achieves a very unique combination of guitar heroics, widescreen bravado, cosmos-pondering, and chaotic glitchiness.

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