Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Harvester - 1969 - Hemåt


01. Nar Lingonen Mognar
02. Kristallen Den Fina
03. Kuk-Polska
04. Nepal Boogie
05. Everybody (Needs Somebody to Love)
06. Bacon Tomorrow
07. Och Solen Gar Upp
08. Hemat

- Bo Anders Persson / guitars, vocals
- Thomas Tidholm / saxophone, flute, vocals
- Urban Yman, Kjell Westling / violins
- Arne Eriksson / cello
- Torbjörn Abelli / bass
- Thomas Gartz / drums, vocals

- Ulla (With THE ICE CREAM) / cymbal (small)

Harvester was formed in 1967 in Stockholm by guitarist Bo Anders Persson and included cello player Ericsson and violinist Yman. They were first known because of International Harvester and Pärsson Sound who delivered colossal live sessions during the late 60s. In 1968 they changed their name for Harvester. During that period they partly abandoned their psych-out droning rock and focused their interest on traditional folk music and acoustic performances. Harvester provided splendid home made epiphanic folk ragas made of ritual psychotropical moods and improvised bucolic ballads. The debut album Sov Gott Rose-Marie was released in 1968 on Love. In 1969 alternative labels had started to pop up, and with the name shortened to Harvester the band released their second album, Hemåt, on Decibel.

Continuing the Swedish Krautrock adventure, International Harvester lost the "International" part of their name and continued to fine-tune, push and redirect the confines of their brand new invention. Hemåt (Homewards) is the second and last album of theirs, and it is quite a shame because I for one would have loved to hear what could've, should've might have been. Instead they morphed into an altogether new act called Träd, Gräs och Stenar, which went even further with a certain tool shed production...

What I really like about this album, is the fact that they have evolved the intimate and minimal chug rock of their debut into something infinitely more solid, grooving and rocking. There are tracks here that just ooze wild tribal fury and fire with rumbling Cream like drumming and the apt guitar and bass visions to accompany such a thing. What those tracks turn into as a whole (and as a result of this saucy cooperation) are these magnificent raw creatures of sound tearing up the very soil with Neanderthal music stamping through the airwaves like a regular hippopotamus' hoe-down. It's primal and largely based around simple monkey like rhythm schemes, but it works wonders just as well. The second track Kristallen den Fina is a fine example of this remarkable style.

Jumping straight to my favourite cut off Hemåt - I'd like to speak a bit about the rendition of Everybody (Needs somebody to Love). This track is completely torn apart in these mellow skewed psychedelic surfaces - sounding almost like mantra like chants emanating from your local opium den. Wah wahing guitar along with the tribal tom work again points a finger back towards Cream, but this is just so much more loosey goosey and jello based. If you've heard the original song before, then don't hold your breath for anything recognisable other than the steaming vocalisations in the back... So why only 3 stars you say? Well this album's got some serious issues as well. One of them being the horrifically bad sound quality there is to some of the tracks. Audiophiles of PA take cover - you're most likely going to hate these with every inch of your body. Tracks like Nepal- Boogie and Bacon Tomorrow(HA HAH!! Gotta love that title though...) sound like they were recorded from the insides of a shed by a drunk toddler with a 1940s microphone down his nappy. Whatever qualities there are to either of these tracks are lost in complete marmalade overkill. Everything sounds muffled and gagged - like listening to a psych jam from the other end of a telephone. Too bad, because one of these sounds like an acid drenched take on Canned Heat's bobbing boogie style.

Finally, I find it pretty mesmerizing that the title track Hemåt is a bonus track that originally was left off the record. The only reason I have it is because I purchased the reissue cd, and to top it all off - the tune is actually one of the best psych jams on this outing! Maybe the guys had completely gone fishing - smoked too much space tobacco and injected the wrong kind of medicine, but I think it speaks volumes about the whole mental state of the times(and band), that a track like this was binned in favour of either of the earlier mentioned toddler recordings. Sheer madness! Still, when this album is good - it is very good, and I feel instantly shot back into those Neanderthal grooves with the hypnotic tribal drums, the occasional saxophone toots and the see saw guitars sloshing away

1 comment:

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