Music Reviews

Artist: Johan Agebjörn and Mikael Ögren (@)
Title: We Never Came To The White Sea
Format: CD
Label: Spotted Peccary Music (@)
Rated: *****
'We Never Came To The White Sea' is a collaboration between Swedish artists Johan Agebjörn and Mikael Ögren, an original soundtrack to an unreleased road movie of the same name. Agebjörn has worked solo in ambient electro and also disco (neo-italo disco) with singer Sally Shapiro with several albums to his credit as well as remixes for others. As for Ögren, he's a priest by profession but also a synthesist heavily influenced by electronic pioneers Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre, as well as '90s trance innovators. The two, being neighbors by location are often frequent collaborators. Also present on this album is the (wordless, sampled) voice of Sally Shapiro, as well as contributions by Tommy '86, Anneli Andersson (vocals), and Anders Frostin (violas). Obviously the music is cinematic in nature being a soundtrack, and it has a huge lush melambient (my word; melodic ambient = melambient) quality to it. Although the album begins with what one might take to be a New Age melody on "As I Passed The Vyartsilya Border Crossing," (a recurring theme) this is not what I'd call New Age music. There are passages where the rhythm is a little too powerful for that, such as the bold bass on The Lights of Lakhkolampi Pass By," and other sections where the ambience tends to turn dark. This is an album of many moods and influences, and Agebjörn and Ögren have combined their talents to take you on a trip with numerous facets and moods. While the melodic content is heavily indebted to Jean Michel Jarre, the rest recalls such artists as Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, Pete Namlook, Patrick O'Hearn, and the ambient side of Art of Noise. This is really a beautifully composed and produced album full of enchanted mystery and beguiling atmospheres. The voices employed go a long way to enhance this. 'We Never Came To The White Sea' is likely an album to remain on my playlist for some time to come.

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