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Album Review

The material on Johan Agebjörn's debut album, much of which predates his work with Sally Shapiro, is a good distance from the melodic dance-pop of that project, which was overtly influenced by early-'80s Italo-disco — although Shapiro's instrumental album closer "Sleep in My Arms" suggested something of what was in store. In a sense this is another sort of throwback, to the even earlier ambient explorations of Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream, but this kind of music arguably has little use for concepts like progress and timeliness, and Mossebo's lush, limpid soundscapes are equally redolent of contemporary artists like Susumu Yokota. Agebjörn himself cites the celebrated early-'90s work of Autechre, Aphex Twin, and Future Sound of London, as well as his fellow Swede Krister Linder (Yeti) and the Norwegian Biosphere, as primary influences, which gives a good idea of what to expect here, though Mossebo definitely rests on the more placid and soothing end of things. As suggested by song titles like "The Sound of Snowflakes Touching the Ground" and "Putting More Wood in the Fire," there is something palpably Scandinavian and wintry about the album's tone, less due to icy twinkling synths (as in his work with Shapiro) than a gentle, glacial sweep that suggests the quiet grandeur of the Northern lights. Sonically, there's an even blend between electronic sounds (hazy synthesizer washes, gently pulsing clicks and hums) and organic ones (most notably Lisa Barra's entrancing wordless vocalizing, but also occasional pianos and field-recorded sound effects.) A handful of the pieces are entirely beatless, while only the vaguely electro "Ambient Computer Dance" has anything approaching a danceable groove. Mossebo functions well as a fluid but slightly varied whole, although the two-part "Siberian Train" offers something of a respite from the unmitigated new age serenity — the first half, which Agebjörn record in 1996, has a darker, foreboding cast that sets it apart from the rest of the album. It's accomplished, if not entirely distinctive mood music, and well worth experiencing, though clearly a different animal from the Agebjörn of Disco Romance. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Gothenburg-based Swedish producer Johan Agebjörn works in a range of electronic genres, from electro-disco and house to ambient new age, but always grounds his approach in a deep appreciation for the roots and history of electronic music. He is best known as the songwriter and producer behind the anonymous synth pop chanteuse Sally Shapiro, whose acclaimed 2006 LP Disco Romance was a deliberate, verisimilar throwback to the Italo-disco of the early '80s -- but before the beginning of their collaboration,...
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Mossebo, Johan Agebjörn
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