The Mountain Lake largely falls into the extensive category: atmospheric but often grandly-scaled, invoking images of space voyages and uncanny landscapes. It's thoroughly cinematic, at times self-consciously so, with a sense of expanse familiar to fans of Klaus Schulze. Agebjorn has made his name as a disco producer, most prominently as a collaborator with singer Sally Shapiro, with whom he cut a number of standout Italo-fuelled groovers. But while dancing has been swapped for lying down, the cosmic scale of Agebjorn's productions remains intact.
The affinity between trippy dance music and ambient is brought to the forefront on the album opener, an "ambient" mix of "Spacer Woman from Mars," one of his best known tracks with Shapiro. With a thread of continuity thus established to his spacey disco-pop, what follows is a dynamic mix of Moroder-esque instrumentals and evocative set-pieces.
There are plenty of drums here by the way. They're just whittled down to dubby pulses. And with its big trance-y synths and full, symphonic mix, "The Stones Are Blasted" is ambient only in the broadest sense of the word—it sounds rather like it's the opening theme song to an IMAX film about the space shuttle. Agebjorn's compositions are often at their strongest when they swerve away from the disco palette: Take, for example, the moody introspection of "Spiral Staircase," the beautiful, undulating melodies of "Swimming through the Blue Lagoon" and the particularly mesmerizing synthesizer swells of "Zero Gravitation," which make me want to watch Carl Sagan clips on YouTube. Agebjorn's remix of Glass Candy hovers between disco and ambient in entirely its own way, plunging the drums into deep pools of delay—analog bursts flit past like lightning bugs in the dark.
Fri / 6 May 2011
01. Johan Agebjörn - Spacer Woman From Mars feat. Sally Shapiro (Ambient Mix)
02. Johan Agebjörn - Amylium Casparium feat. NeonCoil
03. Johan Agebjörn - Underworld Mumble 1
04. Johan Agebjörn - The Stones Are Blasted
05. Johan Agebjörn - Spiral Staircase
06. Johan Agebjörn - Underworld Mumble 2
07. Johan Agebjörn - Swimming Through the Blue Lagoon (Original Casio MT-52 Instrumental)
08. Johan Agebjörn - Zero Gravitation
09. Johan Agebjörn - Take Me Home feat. Sylwia van der Wonderland
10. Glass Candy - The Chameleon (Johan Agebjoern Remix)
11. Johan Agebjörn - Last Tram To Comet Square
12. Johan Agebjörn - Love Ray feat. Lisa Barra
13. Johan Agebjörn - Siberian Train (Steve Moore Remix)