Johan Agebjörn / Mikael Ögren

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Artefact Review

by Paul Simpson

Johan Agebjörn's second album with Mikael Ögren resembles a journey through space similar to the way 2017's We Never Came to the White Sea evoked a trip through the snowy European countryside. Inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, the record's theme of space exploration is interpreted through patiently unfolding textures and slowly paced rhythms. The muted ambient techno of "Passing the Gates" suggests the feel of wonder as the expedition begins, and we're fully engrossed in the wonder of discovery several tracks later, with the slow ambient trance of "Flight Over the Sea." "Static Air" is a bit faster and more shimmering, introduced by samples of astronauts observing a surface that "looks like a big crystal." "Octapod" is darker and more industrial-sounding, with sharp notes scattered over a brittle, trippy beat. "The Hall of Crystals," an asteroid belt fantasia with angelic vocals by Martina Björk, is fittingly the most new age-sounding track on the album. "Space Travel" is a starry, pulsating electro-disco jam expressing the amazement of zipping around the cosmos in a rocket. "Final Sight" provides one last view of the galaxy on the descent back to Earth, filled with wonder of what's yet to be seen.

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