late last year Norways great prog-rock band Kosmoratik released
their debut album Gravitation. With the Summer 2013 CD release
of a second Kosmoratik album, entitled Bridges And Boats,
founder Eivind Johansen continues proving to be a quality singer-songwriter.
Imagine Leonard Cohen or Mark Knopfler singing with Pink Floyd and
you come close to the sonic complexity of Kosmoratik. Throughout the
10 track Bridges And Boats, Eivind is once again accompanied
by his Kosmoratik band mates singer-songwriter Lise Lotte Ågedal
and also, once again contributing his fretboard skills is the
Pink Floyd inspired guitars of Odd Gunnar Frøysland,
who also once again appears as Eivinds songwriter partner throughout
the all original album. The songs on Bridges And Boats dont
instantly spotlight the electric guitar, as Eivind and Lise are excellent
singers, but when called for Odd cuts loose with some cosmic prog
electric that will please Floyd fans. Just about each of the songs
on Bridges And Boats has a wonderful ethereal effect and theres
enough melodic content to keep the senses engulfed. Sometimes Eivind
sounds like Bob Dylan, its really eerie at times but Kosmoratik
scores another winning long player with the very appealing pop-rock
sound of Bridges And Boats. www.kosmoratik.com
mwe3.com presents an interview
Eivind Johansen of KOSMORATIK
How did you come up with the concept of the latest Kosmoratik masterpiece
Bridges And Boats? Is there a story behind the album concept,
the making of and approach to content? How about the song Bridges
And Boats and how does it set the tone for the album?
EIVIND JOHANSEN: The album is about communication and different
relations between people through time and distance. I see the ocean
as a symbol of time and the lives we live, with bridges and boats
being points of contact for reaching out to each other.
There is also an element of spiritual search through the potential
and magic of the moment, in itself being a possible interface towards
something greater than ourselves.
We wanted to start with this song as it outlines the theme of the
album, and it also shows both sides of what we are doing; the electric
side of things as well as our acoustic approach.
mwe3: Would you say Bridges And Boats is more acoustic or
even somewhat neoclassical in nature, compared to the Gravitation
album, even though Odd takes some great guitar solos on the new album.
This time Bridges And Boats really sounds like Leonard Cohen
singing in the studio with Pink Floyd.
JOHANSEN: Yes, the album is definitely more acoustic than Gravitation.
And I think that shows in particular on side 2, where we wanted
to bring a feeling of calmness to the vibe of album. We were also
trying to create a neoclassical or chamber music feeling on some of
the songs. With Odds arranging skills I think we were quite
successful in achieving that. Since Gravitation we have mostly
worked as an acoustic trio, which has brought us closer to the heart
or and core in what we do. And that to some extent also set the tone
for the new album. Thanks; Leonard Cohen singing with Pink Floyd
that is a great compliment! Because we wanted to maintain the progressive
rock elements from Gravitation, and even developing these further
on some of the songs. And Odd takes some great guitar solos this time
mwe3: How about Waiting For You? You can sense how
it segues perfectly following Metadata. Waiting
For You is kind of a haunting song.
EIVIND JOHANSEN: Thats all Odds work on Waiting
for you. We wanted some songs Metadata, Waiting
for you, Be here now and Be to hang
together as one piece of music and words. And we worked hard to find
the right way to segue Metadata into Waiting for
The fourth track "Be Here Now" is one of the stellar sounding
production numbers on the new CD. What was the concept of that track?
The whole concept of Be Here Now, which was also a name
of a George Harrison track, sounds somewhat metaphysical. A solid
hook (hold on to love, be here now is brilliant)
and Odd's guitar solo is one of the great moments in prog history
EIVIND JOHANSEN: Well, thanks a lot! Be Here Now
is a song about traveling in both a physical and metaphysical sense.
Its interesting that you noted the George Harrison connection,
as I am big fan of his early albums, which has this sincere spirituality
in the lyrics.
I am also very fond of the guitar solo on Be Here Now...
it really shines, and the ending is very exciting with the guitar
and moog doubling on the same line.
mwe3: Be is a great showcase of Lises beautiful
vocals. Did you and Odd write the song for her? Speaking of which,
how did you and Odd collaborate on these new tracks? You seem to be
the beat poet and sensitive singer and he seems to be immersed in
multi-textural progressive symphonic guitar sounds. A perfect combination!
So is Be the perfect haunting love song just made for
Lises sumptuous vocals?
JOHANSEN: Yes, she sings beautifully on that track and we wanted
her to sing more on the new album, doing some songs on her own. Its
indeed a love song, but with a spiritual motif.
The way we usually work is that I come up with the words, melody and
basic structure of the song. And then in the writing process Odd is
adding instrumental passages, riffs and counterpoint as well as arranging
for the various instruments we want to use.
For Be we wanted to use the Fender Rhodes as the main
instrument. But also to write a score for acoustic instruments that
we would record layer by layer on the mellotron, and then adding the
oboe on top to increase the organic feeling of the song.
mwe3: If I Follow You is another positive kind of love
song, a great duet between you and Lise. The whole concept of someone
following someone else, with love in mind, is very positive and uplifting.
It may sound like a whimsical thought, but its uplifting. Your
thoughts on that track?
EIVIND JOHANSEN: Yes, its kind of whimsical both in content
and in performance. Odd found these school instruments like recorder
and glockenspiel for kids to create the joyous instrumental feeling
on that track.
a love song, but it also has references to making a new start in life
and the possibilities that could bring.
mwe3: One of the center pieces of the album Anchor
And Compass is actually subtitled Classic Rock.
It starts off slow but has a great hook. What inspired Classic
Rock (undercover cops in cars)? It almost sounds like
two songs in one, before the great guitar solo and mellotron fills
or is that strings? Theres some great drumming on that song
too. Who plays drums on Bridges And Boats and how about the
other musicians who contributed on the bigger tracks? The whole concept
of calling a song Classic Rock is quite brilliant in my
EIVIND JOHANSEN: Thats one of my favorites on the new
album too, and yes, it can be heard as being in two parts, with the
second part taking off when the drums kick in. Its a song about
music and friendship going back to a time in life when music really
mattered and had such a tremendous impact on the lives of my friends
and me. So, its a celebration of the power of music and the
greatness of youth. And I wanted to call it Classic rock
to celebrate that moment in time.
As for the undercover cops... when growing we were always kind of
paranoid when it came to illegal substances and the scary threat of
police in undercover, whom we seemed to notice everywhere and very
often imagined as hiding in cars either parked or driving by...
time has showed this threat to have been greatly exaggerated or even
non-existing, as I think the local police force never had much interest
in what we were doing, illegal (though) it may have been.
The drums are played by our friend Andre Banini, who plays the drums
throughout the album. There is a string section on this track, and
we used this string section for some of the other songs as well. They
are called Strings Unlimited and are well known here in
Norway working with various projects and different kinds of music.
Of the other players on the album, we had the pleasure of working
with Torunn Irene Kristensen again. She is a very gifted young oboe
player, and she also played on Gravitation. Jørgen Mathisen,
who played the saxophones, is another great young musician working,
primary in the outer limits of jazz, and we really dig his playing
on the album. Other than these; its all Odds work!
mwe3: Track 9 on Boats And Bridges, entitled Strangest
Dream is one of the great songs of 2013. Lise does a great
job on that song. Did you set out to create a vast, sweeping production
number on that song? What do the lyrics mean and, do you find that
writing big numbers that are clearly indebted to classic rock or prog,
is more challenging or less challenging to write than say, track 8
Body Of The Song which is very low key. So then, is Strangest
Dream an attempt to write a very commercial, catchy production
piece song? Because if so, it worked! Just a brilliant track...
Can you tell us whos playing what on that song?
JOHANSEN: Thanks for saying that! We wanted it to be a big sweeping
production number in a classic rock sense. And we wanted it to be
catchy as a good pop song. Except for the drums and vocals its
all Odd playing on this track too.
As for these two songs, for me I think the song Body Of The
Song actually was harder to write. I labored on that song for
quite a while, whereas the original version of Strangest Dream
was written fast, over a couple of days only. But then again Odds
input to the music writing and his arrangement is what makes it both
immediate and complex. The first version of Strangest Dream
was actually an acoustic, low key folk inspired song, but it turned
into something different entirely. Its also the first single
of the album.
The song has a story to it, in which I met by chance an Amnesty representative
from Iran on the streets in Oslo. Our conversation started out rather
badly, with him finding me as just another ignorant and disrespectful
passerby with neither sympathy nor compassion for his cause. But then
all of sudden everything changed into something new and magic, when
I by chance mentioned my interest in the great Persian poet, Hafez.
And we ended up talking about poetry and humanity, and meeting each
other anew without prejudice or doubt of each other's intentions.
mwe3: Fathers Day sounds like a quiet way
to end Boats And Bridges. Is the song an homage to fathers
of the world? We have only one father right? And I miss my dad every
JOHANSEN: Yes, thats very much what its about. We
wanted to end the album in a quiet and thoughtful mood, as the end
of a journey. Also I think of it as is an open ending, towards what
comes next, when it comes to music from Kosmoratik.
mwe3: So whats next? Are you writing or planning something
more? Two Kosmoratik albums in, where to go next with the group's
sound and vision?
EIVIND JOHANSEN: We did also record three other songs when
working with Bridges And Boats, which didnt make it to
the final version. Yes, we even talked about making a double album
at some time in process, but eventually we had to put these songs
on hold, choosing the ones we felt best tied in with the concept and
vibe of the album. We also have other strong material going back to
the Gravitation sessions, and some new songs still unrecorded.
So there is plenty to choose from for a third album.
But we havent yet decided how we want to proceed with a third
album. There are different possibilities like working with a band
in the studio, focusing on the more progressive elements of our music,
a well known producer, etc. But this is something we have to decide
upon later. For the time being we are focusing on promoting the new
album, both here in Norway and to some extent abroad, or at least
as much as we can.
We really feel our music has a global appeal, and we have fans all
over the world, which is really fantastic for a small band from Oslo,
Norway! And we hope that even more people will get to know our music,
establishing a platform for playing the music live to an international
audience. But well have to walk this way step by step. And as
of now, we are very excited to see where its taking us, be it
near or far.
Thanks to Eivind Johanson @