John Pedersen's "Connections"
"Connections", released on March 5th, 2020, is a captivating collection of contemporary instrumentals performed on piano & synthesizer anchored by rhythmic beats and ethnic percussion.
John's ten track soundscape is superbly layered with dramatic textures, enchanted elements and imaginative songwriting. Appropriate moods and sound colors ebb and flow upon waves of inspired rhythms. Gentle ambient passages occur at times but are often interrupted by pulsing bass lines and tribal percussion. Nonetheless, a cohesion exists throughout and makes for a satisfying musical adventure.
Being streamed and downloaded copiously on such sites as, Spotify and Pandora, Connections has been well received by the listening community.
Here's a track by track breakdown of the album:
- AMAZEMENT - Inspired by a Maslow-esque "Peak Experience" experienced while out hiking in the wilderness, this song attempts to convey that wonderful feeling of amazement that overwhelms not only the senses, but the soul as well.
- BITS OF PIECES - As the name suggests, this track extracts a variety of excerpts from John's old notebooks of music not yet used on any of his recordings.
- CONNECTIONS - is the title track and explores the sonic representations of our real life connections. Everything from electronic circuitry, as evidenced by the highly "electric" sequences heard at the beginning, to the blessings of friendships. Some of the exotic harmonic textures are also evocative of passionate love and, in contrast, some other musical motifs are ensconced in God's divine agape love. Essentially, a number of themes are available here for your listening pleasure.
- EUPHORIA - explores the feeling of euphoria one feels from the fantastic blessings in life. Whether it originates in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature, or the sweet experience of romance, or being divinely inspired - that sensational and sometimes, sensual feeling is expressed here in sound.
- NASCENT CLOUDS - is a stripped down version of "Parade of New Clouds" from Pedersen's 2012 album (released back in 2010). "Nascent Clouds", endeavors to inspire the listener to look up and treasure a new and beautiful cloud in the sky - perhaps seen for the first time!
- OBSTACLES - are the trials and tribulations of life - a consequence of participating in the human condition. This song offers a way through them in the reality that God is everpresent and ready to guide us through any situation regardless of how dire.
- REASON TO HOPE - This song's full title is, "One more reason to hope for a better world". Despite all of the bad going on in the world, this tune fosters (hopefully - no pun intended), a realization that everything (with God's help) will turn out ok.
- RETRO VIBE - is one of John's electronic music experiments, if you will. He wanted to pay homage to the disco days of the late 70's. Since John already did a disco tribute song on Spires 2 (Frolic in the Summer Sun), he changed the rhythm up a bit and did a more "breakbeat" type of musical incarnation on this song instead of a straight disco. Nonetheless, this tune still communicates a feeling of "retro-ness" with lots of fun sounds.
- THREE SKETCHES - started out with John sitting down at the keyboard and literally playing whatever popped into my mind. Stream of conciousness? Channeling? Automatic music writing? Whatever you call it, John played a grand total of 11 piano sketches - all done by pure improvisation. After much listening, he picked the three best of the sketches for the album. The other ones were lackluster and uninspired. These final sketches are a bit "all over the place" - as a plethora of musical ideas were flowing through Mr. Pedersen's hands but, nonetheless, they showcase some interesting themes.
- ZEPHYR - is a gentle wind - albeit, an "electrical" one. The electronic dance beat was dressed up with silky strings and heavenly textures for balance. Electric piano colors were also added to convey "warmth". Sometimes, synthesizer based music can feel outright cold, but John always tries to keep the emotions intact and sounding, "human", despite the use of modern innovations in sound design.
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