Schrodinger's Shredder
Guitar World|February 2020
INSTRUMENTAL MASTER NICK JOHNSTON SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON HIS GEAR, HIS SONGWRITING AND HIS MAJESTIC NEW ALBUM, WIDE EYES IN THE DARK
Peter Hodgson

NICK JOHNSTON HAS always occupied two worlds simultaneously — a Schrodinger's Cat of Shred, if you will. Is he a highly capable, achingly melodic and sometimes blazingly fast guitar hero for the modern age? Or is he a composer exploring new levels of melody, harmony and orchestration? With Johnston, you never know until you hit “Play.” On his latest, Wide Eyes in the Dark, we find more of the compositional, fusionesque Johnston rather than the ‘How does he do that?’ shred lord, and yet there are still plenty of licks and tricks, as on previous albums like Remarkably Human and Atomic Mind. It’s just that they’re couched in music that is almost cinematic in its scope and ambition.

“Writing music is kind of like a therapy, Johnston says. “I value that above everything. This is my fifth record, and some of the others felt like they were showing different facets of the same gem, but this one stands out to me and it’s hard to pinpoint why. There are more of the majestic melodies, more of the quiet sections.”

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