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Robin B. James
With their acclaimed ambient electronic music project Time Being, spacemusic maestros Phillip Wilkerson and Jourdan Laik have been exploring the expansive sonic realms of atmospheric soundscapes for the better part of a decade, becoming favorites on ambient, sleep, and study Spotify playlists. On their third album, An Ocean Of Time, the duo venture into over 70 minutes of deep-drifting, time-melting, soul-stirring bliss that hovers delicately at the fringes of darkness and light. The album releases today on Spotted Peccary Music in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats.

See inside the album and sample the music in this unboxing video:

The vast and immersive ambient soundworlds that unfold throughout An Ocean Of Time foster an introspective, deeply-serene state of mind well-suited for yoga and meditation. The album’s fathomless spaces evoke a sense of ageless infinity. The sublime combination of synthesizers, electronics, spatial effects, and subtle swarms of orchestral wonder coalesce into a boundless auditory expanse where time is forgotten. Hints of cello and violin drift upon an open sea of textural ambience, as occasionally pulsing electronics or melodic illusions come into focus, hold us in suspense, and gradually dissolving back into the void.

With soundscapes as expansive as the mind will allow, Time Being musically ponder this question in an attempt to touch a perfect heart of awareness, presence, infinity, and the essence of being. The music invokes the question, “Are we in the cosmos or is the cosmos in us?”

The sound of Time Being sometimes portrays forms in fog that offers suggestions without always simply resolving. To further illuminate what I hear on the album, I have reached out to both musicians to discuss their process and to bring their electronic art into a more crisp context. What you will read here are many short ideas that resemble a stream, flowing past bits of quartz and gold, containing bountiful plant life and an amazing range of small living creatures; life is raging all around, and every moment is magical, forming an interplay of the eternal, unchanging consciousness and the temporary, material world.

The conversation begins with the topic of making music.

Robin James: How would you describe your methods for inventing your sounds?

Phillip Wilkerson: I’ve had a lifelong interest in the creative process and discovered that creativity is more of an opening to the experience rather than trying so hard to capture the experience. Opening to the creative process sets vibrations in motion that are expressed as sounds or words. Capturing the vibrations (recording sounds) is just a mechanical set up--a recorder, a pen, etc. Getting stuck in the mechanicals is easy to do and sometimes, even results in new forms of creativity. So balancing both aspects is necessary, but for me, the mechanics are always secondary.

Jourdan Laik: Layers. You cannot sit down and create an intricate soundscape in one fell swoop no more than you can create a flower with just carbon.

Robin: How did your parents prepare you for your journey? What do you remember about discovering music? How does that allow you to create now?

Jourdan: I couldn’t have been more than 8. I was with my parents at a record shop. My mom asked me which I would like; she held out a few cassettes for me to choose. I picked one that was all black - I thought it looked cool. It was Mozart. We listened to it all the way back home. Once home I listened to it till bedtime. It wasn’t my first time hearing classical music. Maybe it was because the tape was mine but this was likely the first time I actually listened to music. I liked picking out all the instruments and following them up, down, in and out. I would even wave my hands around to the beat pretending I was a conductor.

Phillip: Most recently, I’ve discovered that the music primarily creates itself and the mechanics take care of themselves. Music channels through me and gets recorded. I don’t always “make it happen” It often happens spontaneously and without intent. Again, it’s setting up creative opportunities and then letting whatever happens next happen.

Jourdan: I want to make music and sounds that take people to a different place. Each composition means something to me personally - but I’m not interested in forcing you there. I want you to go where the music takes you. So as long as the music allows you to disconnect from where you are now, and go to a different place, then I have achieved my task as a composer.

Phillip: My task as a composer is primarily to create music that listeners enjoy returning to again and again--not necessarily on repeat, but over a number of years, revisiting like an old friend. To create ambient music that is evergreen and timeless. I wouldn’t call composing a task, but rather an opportunity.

Robin: What is music?

Phillip: Music is setting vibrations in motion in the form of sound. Sound is primordial and is a two-way manifestation that we can all participate in--as sound creators and sound listeners--neither is merely passive.

Jourdan: Everything is vibrating. The frequency of these vibrations define the different things we see. Humans love to experience beautiful things. When the vibrations are just right - they please us. Music is vibration organized into patterns and harmonies. But so is a flower. You can see a flower. But you can only really appreciate it when you look closer. Understanding everything about even one flower requires more than just a glance. Listening is the aural version of visual exploration.

Robin: (to Phillip) What is listening?

Phillip: Listening is Awareness, being aware of what is happening in the imminent moment. We can listen with our whole body to what is happening all around us and within us as a field of our immediate presence--locally, globally, and as a universal presence. And maybe simply because there is no definitive answer, it becomes apparent, if you ponder long enough, that life calls upon each of us, individually, to create a reality for ourselves and to take responsibility for creating an existence, within our sphere of influence, that is meaningful and beautiful. I think that might be what ‘waking up’ is really all about--taking personal responsibility for making our brief, fragile lives as beautiful and meaningful as we can.

Jourdan: Our reality is now. Dreams are a part of that reality because we experience them. If we were to “wake up” to something else, the same questions would persist. There’s a lot of conjecture and speculation about what’s out, up, outside of here. I think that’s a result of people wanting to escape the many unfortunate realities that befall us in the now. The best way to be more awake is to love.

Robin: What would you tell a youngster about getting ideas for composing and about the process of creating music?

Phillip: Don’t follow anyone’s rules or try to imitate other artists. Discover your own processes and let the music make itself.

Jourdan: Learn everything you can about music. Train your ears. Learn the rules so you know what to break and when. Learn the piano. You will wish you had these skills only a few years from now; and it won’t be long before you realize that you should’ve started earlier.

Phillip: Life calls upon each of us, individually, to create a reality for ourselves and to take responsibility for creating an existence, within our sphere of influence, that is meaningful and beautiful. I think that might be what ‘waking up’ is really all about--taking personal responsibility for making our brief, fragile lives as beautiful and meaningful as we can. Meditation is just a way to access and open our inherent powers of Awareness into spontaneous Being and Presence.

Robin: Are you able to bring music back from your nocturnal dreams?

Jourdan: I can lucid dream and have full control over making music. I seem to have the ability to create almost anything I want. I can’t seem to bring anything back with me though. When I wake, it’s all gone - only the memory that I could do it remains.

Phillip: Dreams are just another form (vibration) of Awareness. I would not make a distinction as to “where” music comes from. Recorded music is just an incident in Awareness that was captured.

Jourdan: We can be surrounded by a lot of info all the time. You can soon feel like all things are known. Where we’re from and where we’re going. The fact is that we know so little. There’s so much to discover.

Phillip: Life isn’t a passive process. It’s a creative opportunity. In many ways, I feel like I do live my dream, without being in an actual dream. My life is good. Which is not to say that I don’t have challenges. I just let whatever happens next happen and meet it with a welcoming attitude to see what unfolds.

Robin: The music of Time Being allows listeners to consider many impossible things. When listening I find myself exploring strange new oceans and vast alien summits. What are the most beautiful places you have ever experienced music in?

Jourdan: We don’t have any noteworthy mountains or seas in Wisconsin. But in the early summer, when it’s warm and the corn is still short - there are places where the vista goes on and on. With not a sound in the air - it is as tranquil as can be; you can float.

Phillip: I live in the land of magnificent sunrises and sunsets, Florida, with vast skies and magnificent clouds. We don’t have mountainscapes in Florida, we have sunscapes and cloudscapes. I’m being inspired constantly, just looking out my window.

Jourdan: Sometimes I want to be in a dark huge forest. Other times, someplace warm. I’d love a chance to photograph the upper midwest, Oregon etc.

Robin: What would you like to share about yoga and meditation, and your personal methods for experiencing a good life?

Jourdan: If you have a hard time with the kind of meditation where you’re alone with your thoughts, try meditation with music. Listen to it and try to visualize where your brain takes you. Don’t try to think about what the artist wants you to see - just let it happen. I have found that this is an incredibly easy way to quiet the mind.

Robin: Time is "what a clock reads" or a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event, the motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, the pulse of the surf on the shore, or the beat of a heart. What if our clocks were to Stop?

Jourdan: We’d need to change the batteries in our clocks.

Phillip: In a sense, the clocks can stop if you move your Awareness outside the paradigm of time and deeper into Awareness. Again, this is pretty close to a definition of meditation.

Robin: What would you like explorers of the ever expanding universe of music to know about An Ocean of Time?

Jourdan: Just to listen and go where it may lead.

Phillip: The artwork for An Ocean of Time reflects the expansive, boundless, spaciousness that the music opens up for the listener. It also hints at that balance / interplay between dark / light and time / being. I don’t necessarily equate the word “ocean” with the actual body of water we call the ocean, but more like the “face of the deep” primordial ocean or void (although I really don’t prefer that word if we can “avoid” it).

“An Ocean” is a play on “A Notion” as in the first and last title tracks. Time and Being first and last in titles to tracks 1 and 8. Time “seems” to Be endless (a notion). And Being (in the truest sense) is Timelessness. So we are Beings, experiencing “being” (awareness), in the infinite oceanic void of perceived Time, yet we’re always in this moment, in the now, where living and experiencing life really takes place. Sure, we have memories and expectations. They are just part of the play. All the titles of the tracks reflect these basic questions and themes: Awareness, presence, infinity, the essence of Being, timelessness--it’s all ultimately illusory, yet it is also fully and imminently experienced by our senses and our Presence in the eternal Now.

Robin: Your new album is a moving mirage of strings and particles touched and reverberating, patterns form in the haze, this one might be called substance and that one might be called serendipity, life understood as life is lived. Thank you for all of your fantastic work and for sharing your perspectives on the creative way of life!

Now let us turn to the music itself.

A global ocean has existed in one form or another on Earth for eons, and the notion dates back to classical antiquity in the form of Oceanus. In the first track, the title track, "An Ocean of Time" (7:09) I hear a subtle sigh of surf under a night sky, gentle tones, with no repeating melody, from a fantastic ethereal piano, with a slight hint of strings shimmering for brief moments. Various objects pass through the stars never lingering. The sound portrays forms in fog that offer suggestions without resolving. Darkness within darkness, nearly revealing fragments of gradually emerging details in a wide open skyscape, "Drifting Form, Ineffable Void" (5:47). There are significant differences between the way things are perceived to exist and the way things really exist, the "now" and the "not now" are part of the music.

A bridge crosses the Styx at Limbo. "Here. Now. Always." (6:51) considers the ever expanding present, depicted by colorful vapors and small thin clouds of desire. Form, and formlessness, the "present" is a relative concept different for observers in relative motion. The music invites us to muse in our beds about dreaming and multiple consciousnesses, death, collective memory, and the simultaneity of the constant presence of the "dreamer."

When living consciousness becomes coherent, the behavior of random systems may change. Life is raging all around, and every moment is magical. Time as an illusion, a mirage of strings touched and reverberating, patterns form in the haze. "Infinite Cadence" (10:35) suggests that there could be a correct understanding of the relation of the self to the external world, but offers no actual proof. No matter, I just like the way it sounds.

The next track speaks of liminal experiences, radical subjectivity, and the great moment, only to wake into another dream. "Unfolding Way" (3:56) to me sounds like a series of sheets that are made of night. The sound has a flowing, surreal, dreamlike quality, neither affirming or denying what "is" or "is not."

Human reason has boundaries, when we sometimes experience existential dread, anxiety, or anguish, the moment gets stuck and stands still, and to seek expectantly the possibility of the good is to hope, perfection guides us from inside. Following this principle allows us to live in peace with nature and to find tranquillity. "A Perfect Heart" (9:44) brings a sound of motion deep within huge clouds. Later the sun comes out and is sparkling brightly.

A centaur is an example of poetic fiction, an illusion from antiquity, or perhaps a relic of someone’s dream. Humans are thus sometimes compelled to find or create meaning, authenticity is evidenced in acting, one should act as oneself and try to realize that in the most lucid dreams we are in control. "Momentary Illusions" (11:21) brings us deeper ever more, floating between the bottom of the ocean and the shimmering surface of the water. Does a dream offer clues for a deeper interpretation of waking reality?

The idea of lucid dreaming, of knowing that you're dreaming and thus being able to exert some control over your dreams, suggests that the only things that exist are thoughts and ideas. In the closing track, "A Notion of Being" (15:30), the sound asks me, can there be a desert canyon under water? This is what the wind might sound like there. Time Being allows listeners to consider many impossible things.

Time travel is the concept of moving backwards or forwards to different points in time, and some people might be traveling at different speeds, while agreeing on cause and effect, and measure different time separations between events. The past lies behind, fixed and immutable, while the future lies ahead and is not necessarily fixed. Music such as this investigates being as being, often to find no real equivalent of our concept of existence. Again the essential questions, perhaps the only questions that matter, are: Does it sound pleasing? Will you play it again?

1 An Ocean of Time
2 Drifting Form, Ineffable Void
3 Here. Now. Always.
4 Infinite Cadence
5 Unfolding Way
6 A Perfect Heart
7 Momentary Illusions
8 A Notion of Being

An Ocean Of Time was mastered by Ben Cox, and is available for physical purchase in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. The CD version of the album arrives in a factory sealed 6-panel gatefold package that includes vibrant artwork, liner notes, a 4-page booklet, and exquisite package design by Daniel Pipitone, with an original photo by Matthew Cooper.

Time Being will be featured in the coming weeks on Spotted Peccary Music's popular Spotify "Impulse: Artist Curated" playlist, and on the label's YouTube live stream series: Transmissions; subscribe for updates at the links below.

About Time Being:
Time Being is the collaborative project of Jourdan Laik and Phillip Wilkerson. Both Jourdan and Phillip are interested in expressing and capturing photographic and/or artistic images that relate to time, eternity, and capturing the presence of the current moment, that is, freezing a moment of time in an artistic expression. Their collaborative music is an attempt to capture the presence of the moment using audio and sound capture. (

About Spotted Peccary Music:
Portland-based Spotted Peccary Music is North America’s finest independent record label with a focus on deep, vast and introspective soundscapes. For over three decades, the artists of Spotted Peccary have been on a mission to develop, produce, publish and release ultra-high-quality, deep-listening experiences that engage the listener and exceed expectations. Every release is carefully prepared in a variety of high quality formats from MP3 to high-res studio masters. Explore more than 170 titles and 45 artists at and

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Perhaps this one album, Hemispherica Portalis, changes everything. Music is organized sound, an invisible expression that lights up your inner universe. Here are some new colors and materials. Spotted Peccary Music released the new duo's debut album worldwide on September 25th (2020), with most popular sales and streaming links available at

Here are some delicate flavors for your tongue's sensitive ears, moving between different points in time, experiencing products of vivid imagination, whose goals aren’t purely to explain phenomena beyond comprehension, but perhaps they also function to assure, encourage, and inspire. In the history of humans it has been said that the world has always existed, or the world did not always exist but was created in some way, or the world previously existed, but in another form, and has somehow been brought into this present moment. Music can provide an atmosphere for thinking new thoughts. On Hemispherica Portalis I hear lots of textures, there are no words except for the song titles. The artists deploy new technologies which create a sonic experience that has never before been considered to be possible.

Desensitized is a collaborative project realized between Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis. The name “Desensitized” could be an antidote for our strange times, seeking relief from the most recent changes that have emerged from the teetering and whirling globe we live on. The controversial author H.P. Lovecraft once postulated that the most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. Desensitized is a balm for these new tribulations we are living through now in 2020.

Performing under the moniker “Desensitized” these two veteran ambient electronic sound explorers have joined forces to craft a thought-provoking work of art that combines ancient and futuristic moods into a captivating world of sound, filling the imagination with illusory images of undiscovered realms.

In 1996, De Benedictis released a self titled album called Surface 10, which remains one of his primary stage names. This was his debut ambient electronic music CD on Hypnotic/Cleopatra Records, featuring dark, ambient soundscapes and teutonic (Berlin school) techniques with a borderline space rock sound. Since then, he has brought the Surface 10 name into completely uncharted territory, melding a broad range of genre-based styles with edgy experimentation. Dean gained later momentum rekindling his ensemble-performance roots by working with groups including Brand X and The Stratos Ensemble. He is perhaps most known for his solo music, creating new sounds, sometimes even exploring the glitchy side of digitally generated melody, amidst his techno tribal and ambient music exploits. Dean is also the co-founder and producer of Cyberstock, an outdoor music concert and visual arts display that was once held in the Santa Monica Mountains. He is the founder of both Fateless Records, and the Fateless Flows Collective. He has a mountain of composition and recording accomplishments, many of which include visual components, and he has dabbled in filmmaking as well. In addition to Spotted Peccary, Hypnotic/Cleopatra and Fateless Records, his work has also been recorded on DiN Records, Novabeats, Bottom Heavy and Hypnos. His sound has been described as electronica, experimental, ambient, IDM, Berlin school, jazz fusion, progressive rock, deep space, tribal, down tempo, and drum & bass. Some of his favorite instruments include piano, synthesizer, guitar, voice, cedar native flute, concert flute, and percussion.

Deborah Martin is blessed with a vivid imagination and a deep love of historic places and peoples of the past, she has the ability to travel through space and time to create a mystical and energizing sound journey, a melding of modern and ancient music. She blends visual elements of places, people and events of long ago with sound, spirituality, theatre arts, music, anthropology and medicine. Deborah is one of three owners of Spotted Peccary Music as well as being one of its best selling artists. She is a multi-instrumentalist, her favorites include ambient electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, orchestral textures, Taos drums and various percussion instruments. In previous albums she has been known to use sampling technology to include partial segments of Omaha and Kiowa cylinder recordings from 1894, and live recordings of Kiowa pow wow songs as well as field recordings from her own travels to places such as Nepal and Tibet. She has made her way throughout Europe, Asia, and the North American continent. Her sound comes from a very deep and ancient place, whispery melodies and lush, haunting chordal movements, evoking the sights and sounds of past and present while invoking the theme of sacred spaces.

The abstract and alluring music that unfolds across the album’s seven tracks is in many ways just what one would expect when Martin and De Benedictis' recognizable yet disparate styles are focused into a singular expression. Hemispherica Portalis acts as a jumping-off point for the duo’s Desensitized deep dive into a new form of texture-based sonic exploration – one that merges vintage space-music tendencies with a modern electronic ambient style. Roiling in slow motion, Martin’s signature sounds and digital synth expressions expand and contract as the occasional acoustic flourish or melodic moment briefly bubbles to the surface. Added to that are the nuanced layers of De Benedictis’ remarkable laptop-based sound-sculpting approach and the resulting array of textural, experimental, and at times gritty elements that he expertly swirls into the mix.

“I knew the drastic contrast between our two approaches would likely yield something new,” explains De Benedictis. “Deborah has a majestic and pristine melodic style, while I bring a textural and sometimes edgy experimental approach, using sounds I often create on the spot. I find the combination of our layers and approaches uniquely lush and personally refreshing.”

Martin elaborates, “Dean’s years of sound sculpting expertise paid off in ways I can never fully explain; as soon as I began playing the melodic basic song structures, he was immediately adding textures and nuances that glued the passages into place. The creative result is a breathtaking display of original sound samplings, live recorded textural beds, and electronic elements melding into a profound ambient electronic revelation.”

I think it is only fair to wonder why they chose the name "Desensitized," so I asked them.

First Dean De Benedictis responded, "To me, the word describes something happening to the general populous, because so many of us experience the world through media now, and I find this somewhat of an additive to all of the other experiences that are inherent to life on earth. In a way, yes, the media kind of homogenizes our potential authentic experience, but I think there’s even more to it than that. I myself, personally, get more of an abstract impression from the term desensitized, not as just as the name of our band, and not implying only one cause, but a multi-tiered and universal affect. When you say the word "desensitized," it actually implies many aspects of the world that we have become "desensitized" towards, at this point. Sensory overload sometimes comes from many different places now, not just living life. Yes we get it from our own real-world experiences to some degree, but when you add modern developments like media and technology to that, now we have so many different angles and convolutions about experience in general that there really is no one thing that we have become "desensitized" towards."

Deborah Martin added, "When we decided to get together and work on a collaboration, even though I have my name on other collaborations with Spotted Peccary, we thought, let's do something different, let's create a name that fuses both of our energies in a way that does not detract from our individual artist names, but really does make a statement about what we are doing together for our music projects, and I thought of the name Desensitized simply because, as Dean said, we become oversaturated with many things, whether it be media, even medicine, there are just so many different things that we become used to that it does not have a shock value any more, we are not affected as much by it, and that is distressing, so we wanted to make that our moniker, so to speak, because as Dean described, and I agree with him completely, it covers so many different aspects, not just the meaning of the word "desensitized" and so there is a depth to it that we feel accommodate the music projects that we are working on."

Now, about the sound. What I hear are millions of small sounds, lush melodic electronica that transports listeners into new territories, blending edgy textural and experimental soundcraft with a commanding sense of depth and imagination. What I hear is not traditionally melodic, I hear lots of textures, there are no words except for the song titles. The artists deploy new technologies which create a sonic experience that has never before been considered.

This album of sonic mythology is really different and essential, I think it is best suited for late night listening, when the planet is very quiet. There are so many tiny details and shivers to be experienced. Questions to be pondered, such as, are those myths and legends fanciful stories of something that existed only in the minds of our ancestors, or were they based on true events? How was the earth created? Why do we have night and day? Why do people die? How did the human species arise? There are no lyrics heard in the music, so your thoughts and discoveries are ultimately unlimited.

Music is organized sound, an invisible expression that lights up your inner universe. Here are some new colors and materials. Here are some delicate flavors for your tongue's ears, moving between different points in time, experiencing products of vivid imagination, whose goals aren’t purely to portray phenomena beyond comprehension, but perhaps they function to assure, encourage, and inspire. In the history of humans it has been said that the world has always existed, or the world did not always exist but was created in some way, or the world previously existed, but in another form, and has somehow been brought into this present moment. Music can provide an atmosphere for thinking new thoughts.

In my mind, Salvador Dali's abstract clocks glow across a dark background, representing time travel theories. Not all scientists believe that time travel is possible. Myths are a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. Many societies group their myths, legends, and history close together, considering such stories to be true accounts of their remote past and mix into a blend of all their folktales, fairy tales, superstitions, weatherlore, ghost stories, as well as stories of isles and continents lost below the surface of the waters. I sometimes wonder if some kinds of music permits the spirits of ancient humans to continue to navigate the seas, explore lost civilizations, examine sacred writings, tour ancient places, investigate ancient discoveries, question mysterious happenings, to ponder creation, divine will, fertility, death, and love - such concepts that are a universal part of many cultures throughout the world. Tales are told and sung, perhaps someone might embellish a detail here, exclude a name there, transpose two incidents, amplify a cryptic part, perhaps sometimes one might give greater motive or justification to an action. The only important question might be, do you like the way it sounds?

Sometimes we are faced with unknown possibilities. The sound on Hemispherica Portalis is of electronica and air, changing into new unnamed forms and impressions. It starts with flutes, winds through a vast array of electronic illusions and ends with harps. The sound brings the listener through new territory in the electronic ambient universe, two astonishing artists collaborating on a colossal sonic adventure, a series of creative acts and intellectual contemplation where the "experiencer" and "experienced" argue about the ways in which supernatural agents formed the earth and peopled it, the causation to direct the natural forces to produce various effects, and often inspires at least one ambition of science: to invent an explanation, translating the unknown into the known. However, the constant listener should not make the error of believing. Always question what can be assumed, and most of all, enjoy the show!

All of the music on Hemispherica Portalis was composed, performed, co-produced and recorded by Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis at Dreaming Edge Studio, which is located in Vancouver, Washington. There was some recording assistance on tracks 2 and 5 by Daniel Pipitone. The album was mixed by Matthew Stewart and Deborah Martin. Hemispherica Portalis was mastered by Howard Givens at Spotted Peccary Studio NW in Portland, Oregon, and is available for physical purchase in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. The CD version of Hemispherica Portalis arrives in a factory sealed 6-panel gatefold package that includes vibrant artwork, liner notes, and a 16-pp booklet with a visual story for each of the seven tracks -- all of the exquisite package design & layout is by Daniel Pipitone of Daniel Pipitone Design, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1 Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years) 06:59
2 Concunus Dracus (Dragon of the Heavens) 09:30
3 Formulata Oblivonos (A Complicated Tale) 09:15
4 Ecumenicus Orato (The Umbilical Center) 12:54
5 Saltis Nominus (Floating Seabeds) 11:38
6 Terminus Equitos (Redemption Seeker) 06:09
7 Amphibinatum (Myths and Legends) 09:05

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Guiding the listener on a fascinating voyage, the album DREAMS BEYOND has nine tracks that allow listeners to travel through quiet spaces and mysterious realms, frequently propelled by dynamic rhythms that build to powerfully dramatic moments. Using his collection of synths, electronic percussion, electric guitars, and sound design software,Norwegian musician Sverre Knut Johansen infuses the tracks with a creativity that satisfies the ears and sparks the imagination, weaving melody, rhythm, and texture into a captivating musical tapestry that constantly evolves from beginning to end. Inspired and sincere, Dreams Beyond is bestowed with passion and warmth. It is a thoroughly enjoyable exploration that invites us to follow our dreams into the unknown and beyond, seeking – and discovering – a peaceful paradise of long days and beautiful landscapes, safe from danger, and hidden from the outside world.

A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Dreams are also sometimes seen as a means of seeing into other worlds, dreams often function as a “signpost” motif to mark certain stages in life, the unexpected discovery of one’s own jewels. Perhaps knowledge cannot be defined through perception. This album presents an opportunity for using your ears to explore impossible and fantastic landscapes in alien worlds, sometimes resembling the mountains of earth, sometimes resembling nothing you have ever seen. Are dreams experiences?

I had the opportunity to exchange email with Sverre Knut Johansen in August of 2020, The first question I asked him was about how the album came about. This is what he told me.

SKJ: Most of the music on this album is crafted and sound designed with inspiration from the art picture BEACON by Michał Karcz. The BEACON picture is the front cover on this album and for me it is quite magic and maybe a little unreal.

Q: Why did you choose that particular image?

SKJ: I guess I chose the picture because it reflected the music I want to make. Also I had this title “Beyond Dreams” in my mind for some years, and this fine picture also reflected this title. When I was working with the music I always used BEACON as my screensaver, for when I compose and when I listen.

At this point I decided I wanted to find out about Michał Karcz, so I looked at several websites, Karezoid Michal Karcz ( and Abduzeedo ( Here is a summary of what I found.

On Abduzeedo: “The combination of digital photography and painting totally works well for his art. The universe that Michal is taking pleasure to make are places that don’t exist coming from his dreams, desires, imagination and fears. For those you won’t know about Michal, he is an artist based in Warsaw, Poland that graduated from High School of Art in Warsaw.”

On Karezoid: “My journey into the world of photography began in the early 90’s, but at that time my biggest passion was painting, which helped me to develop a vision that was hard to create with other visual techniques. Unfortunately I had to leave the paintbrush and canvas. A few years ago I have opened “the door” to my own world with help of a different key. Most of my work is like a journey to the places which don’t exist. Places from my dreams, desire, imagination and fears.”

The Work of Michał Karcz shows great imagination, and I look forward to seeing more. He has a new website:

Let us return to Dreams Beyond and the interview with Sverre Knut Johansen.

SVK: The meaning of the title Dreams Beyond is to explore and follow our dreams beyond the unknown, finding, searching and discovering a secret treasure (a paradise) hidden from the outside world, a peaceful place with long days surrounded by birds, beautiful landscapes, safe from all danger in this world. A healing place.

The music is more ambient than what I have recorded before this time and some sounds also pull the music in a more orchestral direction.

(Now I would like to pause in the interview and take a closer look at the music.)

The story never begins or ends – it merely ‘becomes.’

The last of the summer moons have begun to wane, the old crows break their long silence and begin to shriek strange cries from the darkness, expressing dark moods framed by adventurous melodies that haunt the ancient mountains. These are the Tatra Mountains, the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains, which form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. Their topography causes one of the most diverse climates in that region. Leo Frankowski mentions the Tatras several times in his Conrad Stargard series of science fiction novels, also there is mention of these same mountains in The Wolves of Time, a series written by William Horwood. The composer Karol Szymanowski on occasion found inspiration with the distinctive traditional music of the same Tatra mountains in southern Poland. The opening track sets this listening adventure in motion, “Tatra Mountains (Introduction)” (4:40).

There might be a science of dreaming, crossing the ancient chasm, cautiously emerging into percussive motion and pulse, a dance into the fullness of time and what lies hidden. Before the magical time of the chimera ends one might sometimes be aware while dreaming that one is dreaming, “Awakening” (9:37). To look through the ceiling, through the roof, to dream of reaching the sky, weaving awe for the soaring landscape, is sometimes a simple matter, requiring only a “Skylight” (8:58). Such openings allow for rhythm and pulses to lead the way up into the vast beyondscape. With a sound signal like whistling the title track emerges, leading into a stop and start sequencer pattern that keeps repeating and building: “Dreams Beyond” (10:54). Unseen creatures continue to whistle from the void, calling out to each other to enhance their telepathic illusions, thoughts dance upon the pillows of oblivion. What I hear next reminds me of the majestic beauty of creation and all those who love the silence and calm of the mountains, “Dawn” (4:01) is the frontier of the void, light emerges with varying shapes of the crystal-image spreading luster across the sky.

The term Tatra is a general expression in Slovak for barren or stony land, and in Russian for rocks and small stones in a river. The Tatra Mountains are home to many species of animals and insects and this song includes many imaginative clues that may trigger your ideas of what those beings might be doing. The track “Tatra Mountains” (8:35) presents a melody that haunts the wonderful meadows just under huge lime cliffs, walk through the valleys and then climb the higher parts of the range and behold the soaring landscape all around. The Legend of the Sleeping Knights is a folktale from the Tatra region, inspired by the outline of one of the most famous peaks, Giewont, which is said to resemble the posture of the sleeping knight.

You are now floating gently above the delicately painted sleeping knight, now surging towards ecstatic climaxes, now yielding to the hypnotic strains of a wordless dance. My favorite track is “Causeway” (9:48), an interesting journey through many layers and textures on a raised road across wet ground. I hear electronic insect sounds, portraying a trail through night and mystery, time and room variously for romance and terror, and letting go. Imagine discovering that you have already fallen into some accidental time travel to prior historical settings, and have been left stranded. Imagine being suddenly transported into the past, and managing to make something by exploiting all the things you know from having studied history. The mood is slow and vast, ever stranger events rekindle the fires of a dying universe. “Echoes of the Past” (9:19)

The final track is titled “Human Connection” (6:38) and is a reflective processional meditation, in my mind’s eye I can see lines of pilgrims climbing the mountain to find gems holding the powers of the season. The cello is played by Henrik Silfverhielm, and the synthesizers provide the situation.

Q: What equipment did you use for this project?

SKJ: There are two important synth pads that have been great for making this album: The "Equinox" Pad from PRISM for REAKTOR By Native Instruments and the "Epic Majestic" Pad from OmniChill by Plugin Guru for Omnisphere.

The Epic Majestic Pad is the foundation for the two "Tatra Mountains" tracks, also giving life and passion to "Dreams Beyond" and "Awakening" tracks.

The dramatic bird sounds I use in "Tatra Mountains" are a big part of this song as they create a more dramatic and intense vibe throughout the track. These two minutes I created with these sounds are important to the whole album as I also use them elsewhere to link the tracks together. The bird sounds on "Tatra Mountains" along with different effects and synth sounds was crafted from the OSCar programmable Music Synthesiser.

I have for some years been thinking about the guitar and for this album I asked some friends and borrowed a guitar and a EBow.

Playing the guitar is a new experience for me and this can be heard on all songs except “Tatra Mountains.” - For the tracks - “Dreams Beyond” - “Dawn” - “Echoes of The past” - “Human Connection” - I use EBow on the guitars.

Q: What have been your earliest and most important musical or artistic discoveries?

SKJ: In 1976-1980 around this period I listened a lot to Isao Tomita and at the same time I read the books of Erich Von Daniken. A perfect combination. Tomita`s “Bermuda Triangle” was an exciting musical discovery. This might mean that I have been growing up with more symphonic classical music and not so much electronic traditional music.

Q: In a few words, how would you describe your composition process?

SKJ: Finding the right sound and seeing what happens. Most of my music is Improvised in real time.

Q: What would you like to try that you have not tried yet?

SKJ: A concert.

Sverre Knut Johansen was born in 1960 and is from Mo i Rana, a lesser-known town in the northern-central Helgeland region of Norway, just below the arctic circle. Rich content and strong melodic elements have become his musical trademark. Johansen’s first electronic album was produced by Erik Wøllo in 1994 on the Norwegian label Origo Sound. Johansen has allowed his listeners to become Krononauts, providing a path to the extreme distances of time, sometimes to explore the creation of the universe, and other times just for the speculative wonderment. He has a master’s degree in music technology from NTNU in Trondheim, Norway (2009). In the beginning he experimented with audio cassettes and then built his first music studio in 1983, where he composed and recorded his own symphonic rock through the 1980s, adding computers and midi technology in 1990. Some recording highlights include Distant Shore (Origo Sound, 1994); The Source Of Energy (Origo Sound, 1999); Av Jern (Orkana, 2008); Planets (Origo Sound, 2013); Hibernation (Origin Music, 2013); Life (Origin Music, 2013); Ancient Prophecies (Origin Music, 2013); Lights (Origin Music, 2013); Elements Of Light (Origin Music, 2014); Different Directions (White Horse, EP 2014); Nightshift (Origin Music, 2014); Earth From Above (Spotted Peccary, 2016); Secret Space Program (Spotted Peccary, 2017); Contact (Origin Music, 2017); with David Helpling – The Vast Expanse (Spotted Peccary, 2018); with Robert Rich – Precambrian (Spotted Peccary, 2019).

The new album, DREAMS BEYOND, a beguiling collection of compositions infused with imagination and beauty, is on Spotted Peccary Music in a wide variety of formats, available at

1 Tatra Mountains (Introduction)
2 Awakening
3 Skylight
4 Dreams Beyond
5 Dawn
6 Tatra Mountains
7 Causeway
8 Echoes of the Past
9 Human Connection

Spotted Peccary
Michał Karcz
Erich Von Daniken
Isao Tomita
Bermuda Triangle
Tatra Mountains

#AmbientElectronic #ElectronicMusic #SynthesizerMusic #ElectricGuitar #SverreKnutJohansen #SpottedPeccaryMusic #ElloAmbient #BeyondDreams #InstrumentalMusic #TatraMountains #MichałKarcz
Electric guitar soundscapes, layered textures and atmospheric symphonics, remastered from the original 2003 release SPM-1203, this is a streaming digital-only re-release, not available on vinyl or CD, originally recorded at Wintergarden Studio in Norway 2001-2002, with cover art by Greg Klamt, and photography by Erik Wøllo.

Imagine different types of twilight in which emotions could form a landscape described best from a distant vantage point, moving through a wide range in style and mood, giving us time to dream. Erik Wøllo is a Norwegian composer and musician, a guitarist and synthesist, on this album he plays guitar synthesizers, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, electric bass guitar, percussion, and created the programming. Liv Frengstad plays cello on "Sounds of the Seen, Part I" and "Sounds of the Seen, Part II."

Music is a way to utilize the power of creativity, an entry point for connection and meaning. On Emotional Landscapes I hear variations of meditations on sunrises that start quietly and build into complex layers. Human emotions could mean many things, the range of emotions could possibly include war as well as peace, energized and dormant, negative and positive, but the songs on Emotional Landscapes are consistently calm and positive, often constructed by steadily building themes and layers, always an interesting weave of ideas expressed on guitars and electronics, the music is sometimes melancholic, always very hopeful and affirming.

Erik Wøllo has been using his guitar since he was 11 years old, learning to bring a new freshness to the light, to ignite our thoughts to beauty. Under the midnight sun, there is a continuous period of twilight during the summer months in Norway, and during the winter, the darkness, a musical silence, the soul hearing the melody that the ears could not. The dawn of a new beginning, when light is still visible in the sky due to sunlight scattering off the atmosphere, the sunrise over the water with distant mountains. When the world is sleeping at midnight, dreams come as nature's easel, giving brilliant colors and mystery to the vast starlit night.

The symbols of nature are usually the objects and things from nature that represent thoughts related to them, I hear whirling air, I think of dawn on the water as a new day begins. There is color on the cloudy horizon, with textured atmospherics, distant birds at sunrise, the musical elements collect and grow into melodic themes. "In The Picture" (2:46).

Metaphors can be implied and extended nonliteral comparisons, the metaphors we use shape the world and our interactions to it. Metaphors spontaneously arise in art and serve as an entry point for connection and meaning. They spread so quickly and smoothly, a new beginning, symbolizing nature's easel, giving brilliant color to what was hidden under the passing starlit night. The second track, "Metaphor" (4:45) begins with guitar finger patterns, continuing the cloudy melodic dawn, which expands into a flow, and then percussion completes the transition into form.

Euclid defined the term "prism," referring to a geometric shape with polished surfaces that refract light and display the colors of the rainbow. In the track "Prism" (4:16) I hear emerging textures patterns, kalidescopic synthesizer drones arcing over clouds and then wind, changing light caused by subtle movement, rising patterns and glowing.

A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe. The "Second Totem" (5:25) begins with voices from distant times that blend and echo through a matrix, shamanic dance elements with melodic patterns unfolding joined by beats that layer in repeating patterns.

This next track is my favorite song, "Sounds of the Seen, Part I" (8:06). It begins as the cello sings a sad haunting melody floating through a wash of atmospheric electronic textures, eventually percussion kicks in and the textures take movement and form, a dance takes shape about half way through, and after a journey, the track ends in a collage including field recordings of people's voices happily echoing in a large building. The album notes indicate that the voices of people were recorded under the World Trade Center in August of 2001. Liv Frengstad plays the cello.

A valley is a low area between hills or mountains often with a river running through it. The sixth track is titled "Valley" (3:02) and what I hear is a guitar cathedral, atmospherics sustained high above us, framed by a landscape that is green and alive in the warm weather, valleys surround the mountains in all directions and in the darkness of night, northern lights illuminate the sky.

The concept of virtual worlds significantly predates computers, Pliny the Elder spoke of perceptual illusion, and in 1962 the cinematographer Morton Heilig explored the creation of the Sensorama, a theatre experience designed to stimulate vision, sound, balance, smell, even touch, through wind. A virtual world facilitates interaction across time and geographic boundaries, on the track "Virtual World" (5:54) I hear thicker electronics emerging with beats forming textures and glowing complexities, guitar sounds travel along, interlocking elements create a kinetic feeling of dance and locomotion.

The synthetic worlds blend into the next track, "Mountain Beach" (5:20) in which I hear cascading melodic pulses merging rhythmically into repeating patterns, subtle ringing chimes and even these toughest and most rugged landscapes shine beautifully, through deep forests, arctic tundras, grand mountain tops, colorful grass-roofed houses, and, of course, majestic fjords.

Next, it is time to return to the big room with the sad cello that haunts our memories, "Sounds of the Seen, Part II" (3:06) makes me think of flocks of small electronic birds at dawn taking form, joined by Liv Frengstad on cello.

In outer space, a satellite is an object in orbit around a larger object, and can take the form of natural satellites such as Earth's Moon, or the word can refer to objects such as the world's first artificial satellite, such as Sputnik 1, which joined the peripheral regions of our planet on the 4th of October in 1957, and began the age of space exploration. The track "Satellite" (4:20) brings the listener deep into space where a repeating melody rises, transforms, and then fades into the darkness.

The measure or beat of movement, the pulse or pace in the darkness, "Echo of Night / Cadence" (6:20) brings to my mind’s eye many layers of electronic textures emerging from the void and taking form, lightly dancing, a science fiction ghost story told with distinct electric guitar engaging in dialogue with keyboards, washed away to be replaced by a more somber ceremonial dawn.

It has been a long journey through many different slow textures, clouds of cicada, the ocean in the distance gently slips away to reveal the final song, "The Hidden Track" (9:53).

Norway is famous for its fjords, still blue lakes that stretch deep inland, often with cliffs towering either side. Waterfalls in Norway are renowned for their power and size, with a steady supply of water coming from its fjords, lakes, glaciers and mountains. Twilight is the time between day and night when there is light outside, but the Sun is below the horizon. Allowing for silence, choice, exploration, and observation, what would an emotional landscape sound like in terms of melody, intensity, setting, style, and feeling? Landscapes can be vastly different and can include settings like the woods, oceans, deserts, fields, mountains, etc. Silence can be supportive and grounding, especially as a sanctuary from the often frenetic energy of the universe. This collection of guitar-based electronica offers ways to explore our emotions and experiences through metaphor, in a continuous period of darkness becoming twilight that transforms into dawn, again and again.

1 In The Picture (Remastered)
2 Metaphor (Remastered)
3 Prism (Remastered)
4 Second Totem (Remastered)
5 Sounds of the Seen, Part I (Remastered)
6 Valley (Remastered)
7 Virtual World (Remastered)
8 Mountain Beach (Remastered)
9 Sounds of the Seen, Part II (Remastered)
10 Satellite (Remastered)
11 Echo of Night / Cadence (Remastered)
12 The Hidden Track (Remastered)
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