Saturday, January 9, 2016

Algarnas Tradgard - 1972 - Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden

Algarnas Tradgard
Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden

01. Två Timmar Över Två Blå Berg Med En Gök På Vardera Sidan, Om Timmarna, Alltså (Two Hours over two blue mountains with a cockoo on each side of the hours..that is) (13:25)
02. Det Finns En Tid För Allt, Det Finns En Tid Då Även Tiden Möts (There is a time for everything, there is a time when even time will meet) (6:11)
03. Möjligheternas Barn (Children of Possibilities) (3:12)
04. Tristans Klagan (La Rotta) (1:40)
05. Viriditas (3:00)
06. Saturnus Ringar (Rings of Saturn) (7:15)
07. Framtiden Är Ett Svävande Skepp, Förankrat I Forntiden (The future is a hovering ship, anchored in the past) (5:07)

Bonus tracks:
08. 5/4 (10:26)
09. The Mirrors of Gabriel (8:26)

- Andreas Brandt / violin, vocals, percussion, flute
- Mikael Johanson / bass, handdrum, zither, tablas, percussion
- Dennis Lindh / drums, tablas, percussion, zinks, jews harp
- Dan Soderqvist / guitars, percussion
- Jan Ternald / mellotron, piano, moog modualr, organ, electric piano
- Sebastion Oberg / cello, flute, sitar, tablas

ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD are a seminal, 6-piece Swedish combo who made one album in 1972, a cult classic and masterpiece of psychedelia that could have come straight out of the 'Kraut' school of Space Rock. After the release of their album, they kept on playing live for a while, even recording a full album's worth of new material in 1973-74. But it wasn't until 2001 that this material was mixed and released, on a cd entitled "Delayed".

Their 1972 classic, "Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden", is a veritable testimony to the halcyon days of hippiedom - a time when grown men, like children playing with forbidden colours, were popping hallucinogenic bonbons and experimenting with psychedelic sounds in their quest for mind-expanding adventures and altered states of consciousness. However, ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD's music never lapses into drugged-out silliness or aimless noodling. It ranges from earnest, to Medieval, to completely creepy - a sort of 'RIO meets folk'. They concoct some earthly (and unearthly) sounds using a combination of traditional, modern rock instruments and ethnic/archaic ones, the result being a spectacular blend of slow-smoking psychedelia with a strong vernacular Swedish folk bent. Their guitar-based, trance-like music is reminiscent of ASH RA TEMPEL; it also shares GONG's organic mayhem and the hypnotic qualities of early TANGERINE DREAM. If you can imagine a Nordic version of AMON DÜÜL II or ASH RA TEMPEL, you'll have a pretty good idea of what they sound like. The 2001 cd "Delayed", which makes heavier use of drums and guitars, is yet another marvellously atmospheric and creative mixture of prog and psychedelia.

 What a truly fascinating album this is! The album is actually entitled "Framtiden Ärr Et Svävande Skepp, Forinkrat i Forntiden", which, translates as "The Future is a Hovering Ship Anchored in the Past", which is also one of the song titles of the album. As you might guess, ÄLGARNAS TRADGARD is a Swedish band, but a truly unique band. Just imagine what would happen if the Krautrock scene happened in Sweden, rather than Germany. Just imagine bands like AMON DÜÜL II or ASH RA TEMPEL gone completely Nordic, then you get sort of an idea of what these guys are like. The band includes both modern (guitar, synthesizers, bass, drums/percussion, violin) and ethnic and archaic instruments (sitar, tabla, zinks, zither, rebec). It's truly a bizarre combination of Krautrock, prog, Indian, and Nordic folk music. Most of it is all instrumental, with only two cuts with vocals (in Swedish). If this isn't the epitome of a hippie band, then what is? After all, the guys of the band all look like long haired freaks, and the music sounds like it's LSD influenced.
Of interest is one of the band members is Jan Ternauld, he is also an artist, so he did the cover to this album as well. He also did covers for a couple of Bo HANSSON's albums, specifically "Magician's Hat" ( Ur Trollkarlens Hatt) and "Attic Thoughts" ( Mellanväsen). In fact, that's not the only Bo HANSSON connection you find with ÄLGARNAS TRADGARD, they also recorded for the same label, a small label called Silence Records (a label, in the early '70s that was very open to this kind of music - and is still around, and had reissued this on CD).

Regardless, if you fancy the idea of Krautrock with a Nordic bent, you gotta try this album out!

This album is a bit of a monster really as it blends Folk, Experimental, Psychedelic and Krautrock together. Ethnic instruments like tablas, sitar and zither are used to further set them apart from anything remotely traditional. This is unique, and it left me intrigued to say the least. Flute, violin, cello, mellotron, moog, bass, guitar, synths, percussion, piano,organ and jews harp round out the instrumentation. This is mostly instrumental with a guest female vocalist on one track and male vocals on another song, with some vocal melodies spinkled in.
"Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains With A Cuckoo On Each Side, Of The Hours...That Is" opens with what sounds like church bells. I'm not sure what the next sound is but it's liquid sounding. Mellotron waves, synths and then drums come in as the song starts to build. This is spacey with some violin. This sounds great ! It changes 8 minutes in as drums stop but violin continues with a different melody. Vocal melodies join in. A dissonant or confusing final minute. Impressive beginning. "There Is A Time For Everything,There Is A Time When Even Time Will Meet" opens with flute and percussion as different background sounds can be heard including a dog barking. Or is that my dog ? It stops 1 1/2 minutes in as a squeeky door slowly opens, and then a ticking clock can be heard followed by mournful violin and then sitar. The strings of an other instrument are slowly plucked for a pastoral conclusion. "Children Of Possibilities" is more of a folk song with a guest female vocalist and cello. "La Rotta" features drums,violin

"Viriditas" has these distant, reserved male vocals with piano and other sounds. "Rings Of Saturn" is my favourite song on here. This is where the guitar takes the lead and runs with it. It builds in strength with drums to create an amazing sound. It's like the guitar sounds are bouncing all around us. Over 7 minutes of Krautrock inspired jamming. "The Future Is A Hovering Ship, Anchored In The Past" is actually the title of this album, but in Swedish of course. Ok these song titles are making my head hurt. This is a dark and chilling soundscape that moves along slowly. Think "Saucerful Of Secrets" and you get the drift. I like it. The next two songs are live bonus tracks from the same concert, and make this recording even better by their inclusion. "5/4" is spacey and dark with mellotron. Drums come in as it builds. A full sound after 3 minutes with percussion and guitar. Fantastic sound ! The song calms right down before rebuilding with heavy drums. "The Mirrors Of Gabriel" opens quietly, slowly building as synths come in. Percussion creates a beat. The percussion stops 5 minutes in as the soundscape becomes haunting and eerie. The sound builds with heavy drums.