Joachim Nordwall is a musician who works in the self-described genre of “Psychic Broadcasting.” Okay, I am the first to agree with anyone who thinks that description is more than a little pretentious. The term most people would probably apply here is “ambient.” And again, there are a lot of music fans out there who consider the very idea of ambient music pretty damned pretentious as well. As I think is abundantly clear, it is practically impossible to give a quick, shorthand name to what Mr. Nordwall’s music is. Despite these semantic challenges, though, I have to say that his recent Ignition CD is an outstanding piece of work that would appeal to a wide variety of music fans — if only they had a chance to hear it.
Contrary to popular belief, Brian Eno did not invent ambient music, although he did coin the term, and his description of what he had in mind is still the most concise definition I have heard: “It can be either be actively listened to with attention or as easily ignored, depending on the choice of the listener."
I have found myself in both frames of mind while listening to Ignition. For the purposes of this review, I listened closely to all 49:22 of the single-title track that makes up the CD. What I found were actually at least three seemingly full compositions, seamlessly blended into each other. Only Joachim Nordwall knows exactly what his intentions were — I am going by what I hear.
The way the album plays to me is like a three-act play. And within each act there are three distinct components. Basic stuff; a beginning, a middle, and an end. The longest segment is the first, which runs for approximately the first 20 minutes. He may well disagree, but this section seems to be a fully realized piece. Back in the old vinyl days, I am certain it would have occupied all of side one of an LP.