Johan Randén: Summary


(Johan Randén)
Release Date: 
Friday, May 4, 2012

Summary is the perfect title for Johan Randén’s third studio album because it is a diverse presentation of instrumental tracks lead by Randén and his guitar. His motive was to make an album that was accessible to everyone by incorporating familiar sound be it Jazz, 70’s rock guitar or what have you. I’d say he did a pretty successful job in creating that dream. Being an instrumental album most of my examples will be based on personal interpretation, as they should be, so get ready for more of this descriptive stuff. 

Track one, Tres Hombres, is a funky little jam that doesn’t exactly cross into James Brown territory or even Black Joe Lewis territory but it reminds me of the kind of funk sound that you’d find in an 80’s film attempting to portray a setting where funk would fit the theme of the scene. Dare I say it also has an Eagles like feel to it with a tendency to flirt with Jimi Hendrix type riffs. It’s very clear that Randén has command over his guitar.

Track two, Country Manic, is just as you would expect, an almost Rockabilly flare with a familiar Country flavor. Billy Burdette comes to mind and for the most part the track begins pretty impressively, but honestly, I felt it got a bit redundant after awhile. It really did feel like an homage that was missing a bit of the passion for the sake of mimicry.

Sky Express is up next which has a real Muzak quality to it. It’s a very contemporary Jazz number that I would expect to find riding in an elevator in some big city building or as hold music from the bank. Really not my favorite style of music but Randén puts the sound of the music across with proficiency.

Floating Around is the next track which is probably the first one that really grabbed my attention. It has a real David Gilmour like sound to it mixed with a bit of Clapton and John Mayer, maybe even a little Jimmy Vaughn. If any song on the album could represent Randén’s dream I’d say this would be it. My favorite on the album hands down.

Up Next we have Eclipse, an entry level contemporary Jazz number, that again sounds just a bit like hold music. Really when you put this song in contrast with the last you start to see some cracks in the foundation of Randén’s idea of making the entire album accessible to anyone. I don’t see to many people who would find their place in every song on the album.

E.R.T. is the next track that starts off with a bit of intrigue, what sounds like music coming in backwards, then kind of goes soft before ending with one of the most excellent examples of Randén’s guitar prowess at the back end of the track. It’s a progressive rock sound that just goes off into it’s own odd little world that’s absolutely inviting to those who can appreciate the sound of a musician who can really rock a guitar.

Really the back end of the album starting with E.R.T. is where it really begins to all come together in a consistently fluid theme. Like I said, Randén is really in command of his guitar throughout but for me it all makes the most sense in the later half with almost all of the tracks coming together in a meaningful way, again for me. Like I said, the album is completely interpretive and someone else will more then likely get something else out of it then I did, but that’s the beauty of music. Give it a try and let it transport you to familiar and not so familiar places. Enjoy.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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