Petter Carlsen

REVIEW: ‘The Sum Of Every Shade’ – Petter Carlsen

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.

For more about Petter, check out his WEBSITE and his FACEBOOK page

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!