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Sverre Knut Johansen turns back the clock, peering into the distant past on his fourth Spotted Peccary release, PRECAMBRIAN. Focusing his conceptual musical lens on the prehistoric development of planet Earth and its inhabitants, Johansen is joined by noted electronic music maestro and soundscape pioneer Robert Rich to create a deeply compelling ambient-electronic odyssey that serves as a virtual soundseeing tour through our planet’s vivid history.
Each track on PRECAMBRIAN takes the listener through significant geological periods and evolutionary events of Earth’s 4.6 billion year history, bringing the epochs and eons to life through musical poetry and recorded natural sounds. The sonic landscapes, both organic and electronic, are always deep and captivating, evolving through abstract amorphous spaces, peaceful harmonious moods, and dramatic eventful moments.
The music is built on a foundation of swirling synths, pulsing electronics, and occasional rhythmic moments, creating a space where Johansen’s mesmerizing compositions are highlighted by Robert Rich’s piano and spellbinding voicelike gliss guitar. Add to that the recordings of environmental sounds, both natural and mechanical, and the immersive world of PRECAMBRIAN springs to life with depth, energy, and artistic vitality.
Johansen and Rich transport the listener through the ages as they conjure sonic visions of a planet in constant change. The music evolves in a vivid timelapse that unfolds before the ears, occasionally pausing to experience key events along the way, before the title track ends the album with a sweeping musical epilogue that acts as the closing credits to Johansen’s epic geologic adventure.
“The epochs on Earth are an exciting topic for me,” Johansen professes, “so I was inspired to create an album around the concept of the Earth’s geological time scale. The music is epoch-based where I try to convey with nature sounds what might have happened on Earth, creating moods around certain events that have taken place, like oxygen, birds, water, and ice.” Deep listeners may notice some of the real world ambience skillfully woven into the tracks throughout the album.
PRECAMBRIAN is a stirring and enthralling work of art where synthesized and organic sounds mingle to create a beautifully detailed sonic journey. It’s a voyage through time in which Sverre Knut Johansen has elegantly condensed billions of years into a mood-based soundscape charged with emotion and wonder. While it’s certainly true that the entire geologic history of planet Earth is a lot to cover in a single album, Johansen is hopeful that PRECAMBRIAN’s music, artwork, and gorgeous 20 page booklet will combine to tell an intriguing story, and perhaps serve as a thought-provoking reminder of how important it is to be mindful of the world we inhabit. As he puts it, “Of course the album only scratches the surface of Earth’s 4.6 billion year history, but I hope it can help open up our eyes and consider what we are doing with this planet.”