Jerry Johansson - Next Door Conversation

After Jerry Johansson’s latest commission, a piece for sitar and a string quartet, which was released last year on the same label, he took a next step and added also the Persian santur to the musical texture, but I also have the impression there has been a deep and meditative reconsideration and ripening of the composition core of combining raga, melody and of using the transposing principles. A certain section of a basic fundament remains a raga in spirit, while another section adds (a sweet, slightly melancholic) melodic (theme) improvisation, a bit more often introduced by the string instruments (violin and cello). Like on the previously released composition, the strings, sitar, and now also santur leads are build up very closely in harmony and pitches with the previously played instrument, transposing so smoothly that the listener often hardly notices the total change. It is as if the raga first builds up around clustered harmony strings and droning vibrations. Then musical themes are taken over by different instruments closely and overlapping. Additionally, the melodic theme which is repeated adds also extra layers in the composition. Certain small parts are improvisations are with plucked strings. It is nice to hear how just relatively kept simple ideas are collected and seemingly being musical meditated upon to develop and finds its own richness and inner harmony, in a vivid sense, because of its calm change.

Gerald Van Waes
(August, 2007)