Jeff Johnson (ArkMusic/1980) $9.99
Total time: 42:59
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An introduction by Stephen Griffith -
When we look upon water we see only the surface and the surrounding scenery it reflects. Beneath lies the deep with all its mystery. One must break through to touch "the face of the deep."
Jeff Johnson's album does just that ' it plunges into our depths as people. Sometimes caressing, often piercing, Jeff pulls away the veneer, bringing to light those things we all seek to hide.
The thrust of The Face Of The Deep is evident after one listen, but the one who digs into allusions suggested by the album will not be forsaken. There are treasures to be found.
If you listen to the introduction to "Happy Ending" with Giacomo Balla's painting The Staircase of Goodbyes in mind; if you think of the movies of the 30s and 40s when listening to "Happy Ending;" if you recall Rodin's sculpture masterpiece The Thinker; if you have read the classic novel All Hallows' Eve by Charles Williams; if you have read or seen Francis Schaeffer's Whatever Happened To The Human Race', then you will not only hear the cry "Help Me," but you will understand it. And there is no little difference between hearing and understanding.
The rest of The Face Of The Deep is equally revealing to the careful eye. For example, "The Moulin De La Galette" and "Gauguin's Dreams/What Keeps Me Here'" can almost be considered a trilogy dedicated to impressionistic painters. There is a twist here, though. The "hero" of this trilogy takes a different road and therefore reaches a different conclusion.
This album is not one of total despair. There is hope, but that hope is tempered with an honesty limited by our humanness which is expressed vividly in "Even If I'm Not Sure."
Jeff Johnson's task is to expose "those things we all seek to hide." Our responsibility is to look, to hear, to respond ' or to ignore.
....effusive imagery, thought-provoking lyrics and meandering synthesizer - a theatrical performance with classical keyboards. A gentle cultural journey replete with grace to hope and trust...an audiophile work of singular excellence. Light rock with philosophical flavor. Chic. Arty.
~ Jim Long/Campus Life (January 1981)