Petter Carlsen – “The Sum Of Every Shade”
Norwegian songwriter and performer Petter Carlsen has been recording since 2009. He latest album, “The Sum Of Every Shade”, is his fifth full studio collection since “You Go Bird” and his last, 2017’s “Glimt”. The album takes inspiration from all aspects of his career, from his prog rock explorations to his own indie folk background. The opening track, “I Love The Way You See The World”, is fitting epic number to launch this new long player. Wonderfully atmospheric with 360 vocals set in the valley together with a surging, energetic soundtrack. The music, you will soon realise, is the central energy and showcase of this new collection and that consumes the next track, “Dogs”, for the most part.
Petter’s vocals are sincere and often understated throughout this number as the whole envelops you. “Strangers” is so angelically sung that you could almost believe that Petter had asked someone else to perform this number. No so, with Country and soft rock ballad influences, “Strangers” is dark and eerie, yet fulfills the edict of this record for beauty and scope. “Contradictions” follows suit with more soft rock and Country instrumentation to weave Petter’s innocent, harmonious voice that wraps itself around you tight. I love the drama of the opening of the next song, “Pages”. This is minimalistic in scope but again reaps all it cane from the musical arrangement, with a cinematic quality all of its own. A highlight!
“Giraffes And Elephants”. What a title for a song! This is the most acoustic number thus far, with a delicate and sensitive recording of both vocal and guitar and an instantly singable chorus. “Good News” ramps up things again with plenty of life and emotion from the rock guitar, you feel the pain as Petter asks “where do we go from here?”. We need some good news. And this is where music offers escapism and you can certainly achieve that with this album. In “Beneath The Snow”, you can feel the outdoors. The chill. The landscape. The remoteness. You can also feel each breath from Petter as he tells his chilling tale. A movie in itself. Petter asks if he is still me or if you are still you in “Funny Old Life”.
With long, superb guitar solos separating every verse and chorus, Petter’s message “don’t always trust what you hear” resonates. Petter concludes this album with another stripped, acoustic number, “The Enterprise”, which open up halfway through with a gorgeous string accompaniment, again offering that cinematic quality and feel whoch draws to a haunting climax. “The Sum Of Every Shade” is a work of genius. Sounds and voices that have been created from one mind and one concept. It’s rare to find something of this quality that is not the norm or middle of the road. Approach with an open mind, but languish within the inside of its outer beauty.