For those in the know, Nick Johnston is one of the rising forces in the guitar universe. Now, after a little more than a year, we get to hear some new music from his upcoming album, Remarkably Human (opens in new tab), which is slated for a September 27 release.
It’s clear that Johnston is exploring some epic and creative new landscapes. I know the word “epic” gets thrown around a lot, but trust me, I’m using it correctly in this context. The title track, which you can hear exclusively in the video below, is a perfect representation of the album’s intention.
From the first notes, a feeling of mystery washes over you, setting the stage for what’s to come in the next six and a half minutes. There is great breadth to the sound as it develops, as if the entirety of human existence is flashing before your eyes as you listen. I told you this music was epic.
With Gavin Harrison on drums (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson), Bryan Beller on bass (the Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai) and Luke Martin on piano (Plini), Johnston puts on a clinic in dynamics, building thematic elements and motifs that are unmistakably his own. As with any great guitar player, you can sense the restrained control as each note is delicately chosen and effortlessly delivered to achieve powerful melodies.
Of course, a Nick Johnston song wouldn’t be complete without one of his signature solos that leaves your jaw much lower than where it should normally be, and Nick delivers in spades. The song is called "Remarkably Human," and Johnston’s guitar playing seems other-worldly… are you trying to tell us something, Nick?
If you’re a fan of instrumental music, you should delve into the catalog of Nick Johnston, but beware: You might be inspired to pick up your guitar and not stop playing it for 24 hours straight.
For more about Johnston and the new album, visit nickjohnstonmusic.com.