Thursday, March 26, 2015

Handgjort - 1970 - Handgjort


01. Kerala 2:35
02. Over The Wall 4:38
03. Jamil 3:13
04. Scotland The Brave 9:28
05. Ferry To Panjim 1:32
06. Worlds On Fire 3:29
07. Farmer Jack 9:44
08. Colombo 3:05
09. Barshat 4:25
Bonus tracks:
10. Kerala [live] 13:48
11. Tadeo's Lament 5:22
12. To Cathrine 4:53
13. Greg's Recitation 3:05

Guy Öhrström — guitar
Theo Greyerz — tablas, stig
Arne Karlsson — sitar
Marcus Brandelius a.k.a. Greg FitzPatrick — ezra
Björn J:son Lindh — flute
Keneth Arnström — alto sax
Dallas Smith — clarinet
Bruce Green — oboe
Jan Bandel — gong

Greg FitzPatrick was a wandering, irresponsible hippie kid from Beverly Hills, who landed illegally in Stockholm after a year or two traipsing around India & Asia. He met a few other kids who were interested in exotic travel & had been trying to jam like Coltrane on acoustic instruments, and set about hustling them into a band. Deft & beautiful acoustic improvisations with lots of buzzing resonating strings. The group wafts from delicate folk that wouldn't be out of place on an Incredible String Band record to fast runs that could easily be Pakistani classical. Sitar, tablas, acoustic guitar, and the unusual esraj (it's a Bengali cross between a cello & a sitar). The record was originally co-released on Silence in Sweden and Love in Finland, mostly because FitzPatrick courted them both and didn't tell each about the other until it was too late.

Bo Hansson - 1977 - Music Inspired By Watership Down

Bo Hansson
Music Inspired By Watership Down

01. Born of the Gentle South (16:35)
02. Allegro for a Rescue (1:23)
03. Legend and Light (3:39)
04. Trial and Adversity (4:10)
05. The Twice - Victory (8:14)
06. The Kingdom Brightly Smiles (1:24)

- Bo Hansson / piano, keyboards, bass, guitar, tambourine

- Sten Bergman / flute
- Torbjörn Eklund / wooden flutes
- Kenny Håkansson / guitar, bass
- Göran Lagerberg / bass
- Tomas Netzler / bass
- Fredrik Norén / drums
- Pontus Olsson / piano, recording
- Bo Skoglund / drums, maracas

For some odd reason, this later album by Swedish artist Bo Hanson is frequently considered a real drop in quality from his previous works, but I can't for the life of me understand why. `Music Inspired by Watership Down', based around the well-known Richard Adams novel, is still full of all the colour, shimmering keyboards and unpredictable quirks usually associated with Hanson's work, and there's still plenty of traces that made his earlier albums (including one of my personal favourites `Attic Thoughts') so memorable and delicious to the ear. Like with an earlier album `Lord of the Rings', Mr Hanson once again turned to a beloved novel for initial inspiration, and the results are perhaps one of the most tasteful and exquisite instrumental prog albums, and certainly one of the most gentle!

With an army of keyboard variety (Moog, Hammond organ, you name it), endless tempo changes, propulsive drumming, jazz/fusion electric guitar flavours and even some adorable strolling reggae moments in the finale, the almost 17 minute opener `Born in the Gentle South' is a lush and mellow epic. Hanson's fellow musicians here have frequent little duels between eachother, with Kebnekaise member Kenny Hakensson's grand electric guitar solo in the climax worthy of approval from Camel mainman Andy Latimar himself. Playful, dynamic and always endlessly melodic, the whole piece makes for a sublime example of impossibly charming instrumental prog at it's most romantic.

After the brief delirous synth/guitar/drum interlude `Allegro For A Rescue', the stark piano and tip-toeing flute of the darker `Legend and Light' is full with a playful creeping unease, with two booming fanfares to offer some blustery relief. For such an imposing title, `Trial and Adversity' is actually very mellow and dreamy, with the most gentle of David Gilmour- inspired guitar licks over wavering spacey synths and placid washes of synths and another little taste of soft reggae tones. `The Twice - Victory' opens as a delicate and affectionate acoustic guitar and piano duet before rising to life as a victorious organ fanfare, only some electric guitar menace and marching drums raising the tension in the second half. Some Steve Hackett-type `Voyage of the Acolyte' sounds are in evidence here, and the instrumental melodies throughout the piece might be some of the prettiest Hanson ever offered. The brief `The Kingdom Brightly Smiles' is a warm piano solo finale to then close on.

I wonder if the album had a different title and a more colourful cover (or even a borderline insane one like `Attic Thoughts'), followers of Bo Hanson who kind of dismiss this one would be a little more forgiving. Suitable for a lazy afternoon background listen or a great way to unwind for everyday stresses, `Music Inspired by `Watership Down" is a perfectly lovely and diginified instumental album that lovers of Bo Hanson's previous works and the romantic prog of artists such as Camel, Rousseau and Terpandre should adore.

Bo Hansson - 1976 - El-ahrairah

Bo Hansson

01. Utvandring , del 1 - 5 (16:35)
02. Patrull (1:23)
03. Skogen (3:39)
04. Flykt (4:10)
05. Watership down (9:38)

06. Migration Suite (Bonusspår) (11:38)

- Bo Hansson / Piano, Keyboard, Guitar, Bass, Tamburine
- Bosse Skoglund / Drums, Percussion
- Fredrik Norén / Drums
- Göran Lagerberg / Bass
- Kenny Håkansson / Guitar, Bass
- Sten Bergman / Flute
- Thomas Netzler / Bass
- Torbjörn Eklund / Flute

I remember the first time I read Richard Adams Watership Down. If anybody out there hasn't already read it, then I urge you to pick this one up, as it most vividly incorporates everything from Tolkien to Homer in a way I've never come across - before nor since. This book had a profound effect on me, and I had jagged edged dreams of bloody rabbits for weeks on end - imagining myself deeply immersed in the great adventures of El-Ahrairah.

Now, Bo Hansson has never been the man to shy away from "stealing" inspiration from well known novels, but in all honesty he has never really made a mistake that way. One could state that he chose the safe bet with all these records - starting off with the now famous Lord of the Rings, but back then there were no film to back up a get-rich-quick-scheme on the basis of the new Hollywood blockbuster. -Nor were there any for Watership Down, although it had its fair share of success, when it was released in 1972 - staying on the best seller list until February 1975.

El-Ahrairah is a mystical character in Watership Down - it is a rabbit legend of sorts, that inspires these little creatures to do better - to think outside the box, and to be cunning as the devil himself - just like the rabbit in your back yard eating carrots and cabbage like there was no tomorrow, when you yourself are far far away on the big oceans of sleep. In Lapine, his name is a contraction of the phrase Elil-hrair-rah, which means "prince with a thousand enemies".

Having read the book first, for then to jump on board this musical adaptation, I obviously had my doubts. Would it take away from the fantastic experience - maybe even diminish the great fondness I had for this awe inspiring tale?

No is the quick answer. Just like Lord of the Rings - El-Ahrairah feels strangely in tune with the novel's gripping proceedings. The first cut called Utvandring (Exodus) describes in sonic pomp and grandeur, how a small group of rabbits are forced to leave the comfort and security of their own home due to the overhanging dangers of a soon to be man made building project. The music is beautiful towering symphonic rock with a strong penchant for the late sixties, which comes through in the warmth and glow of the interplay between guitar and organ. Sloshing back and forth the images of rabbits torn between their home and the unknown wilderness in wait - are almost tangible to this listener.

Such is the story with every track on here, and if you are fond of the subtle natural beauty of the piano escorting mighty cascading walls of gorgeously orchestrated music, then El-Ahrairah is a safe bet. The production of the thing is another winner. Whereas most artists had adopted the pre-80s sounding mixing with the metallic cleanliness attached to nearly every electric instrument, Bo Hansson stays true to his old hippie roots(remember this guy started out back in the late 60s contributing greatly to the aspiring hippie groove scene) and delivers a vibrant and warm production that elevates the true character of both the involved musicians and the underlying storyline. Let me put it this way: Retelling a story that in short revolves around the close bond we(the rabbits) share with nature, and how we with every new modern initiative are in danger of loosing the things that link us to this old and mystical connection - retelling it with music that is heavily drenched in chrome-like surfaces and distant studio techniques would perhaps be a step too far towards playing the devil's advocate.

This album works like a story being read to you in a language you yourself discover along the way. It is exciting music speaking of horrors and impending bravery, when the plot craves it - either through dangerous sounding guitar snarls - or the lone cow bell tick tocking away in the back counting down to the moment of fear's sudden impact. The story also has great many strolls - shorter travels from rabbit hole to thicket - from undergrowth to the vegetable garden, where many of these are told through some delicate flute sections, that sprinkle the music in colours of autumn fields in receding bloom.

If you're into the oldest and most treasured way of teaching - that is telling stories, inspiring images of the mind - and then having these handed over to you through the sonic palette of a highly capable and imaginative rock n' roll band, then you should start digging around for this wonderful trip out of the rabbit hole.

Bo Hansson - 1975 - Attic Thoughts

Bo Hansson
Attic Thoughts

01. Attic Thoughts (5:30):
  a) March
  b) Repose
  c) Wandering
02. Time and space (1:37)
03. Waiting... (7:34)
04. Waltz for interbeings (3:21)
05. Time for great achievements (3:11)
06. The hybrills (1:28)
07. Rabbit music (6:23):
  a) General Woundwort
  b) Fiver
08. Day and night (4:30)
09. A happy prank (3:15)

- Bo Hansson / organ, guitars, bass, piano, synthesizers, Mellotron, special f/x

Guest musicians:
- Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone
- Rune Carlsson / drums
- Mats Glenngård / violin
- Kenny Håkansson / electric guitar
- Göran Lagerberg / bass, acoustic guitar
- Thomas Netzler / bass
- Rolf Scherrer / acoustic guitar
- Finn Sjöberg / electric guitar

With Attic Thoughts, Bo Hansson enters a new phase in his remarkable and unluckyly short solo career. The sound becomes more mature builded up by the usual warm, soft, eclectic and varied musical structure with the important change into a true symphonic pleasure. The result is something absolutely new to my ears, a completely original work and it's hard to imagine why this artist still doesn't have the attention he deserves.

Attic Thoughts, as the following Music Inspired by Watership Down does, demonstrates the highest level of quality and complexity reached by this important swedish multi- instrumentalist in the half of the seventies. It can be easily recognized as a whole genre itself for the peculiarity of the deep horizons, the warm passages, the slow and mid tempo and the sudden gentle variations (with even jazzy and waltzer incursions), the synth's solo alternating with sporadic but wonderful guitar solos of Kenny Hakansson, the piano interludes and the mellotron's escaping. All drenched with a convincing rythm's section and a nordic delicate taste.

It's unuseful to review it song by song. The best thing, I think, it's to strongly recommend this album (and the following Watership Down) but pay attention, please! This is only for who loves intimate, warm, wonderfully chiselled and polished symphonic experiences. If so, then Attic Thoughts has to be yours!

Near to the masterpiece status for sure. A work highly inventive, artisanship of highest standard of quality.

Bo Hansson - 1973 - Magician's Hat

Bo Hansson
Magician's Hat

01. The City (7:20)
02. Divided Reality (6:17)
03. Elidor (1:34)
04. Before The Rain (1:31)
05. Fylke (1:50)
06. Playing Downhill Into The Downs (1:39)
07. Findhorn's Song (1:43)
08. Awakening (2:43)
09. Wandering Song (3:13)
10. The Sun (Parallel Or 90°) (7:07)
11. Excursion With Complications (3:23)

Bonus track on 2004 CD:
12. Big City (11:28)

- Bo Hansson / organ, guitar, slide bass, synthesizers
- Sten Bergman / flute
- Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone, flute
- Rune Carlsson / drums, congas, bell
- Pelle Ekman / drums
- Göran Freese / saxophone
- Owe Gustavsson / bass
- Kenny Håkansson / guitar
- Bill Öhrstrom / congas
- Bobo Stensson / electric piano

An excellent follow up to the Lord Of The Rings, Magician's Hat showed off Hansson's prowess in great guitar work, slide bass and just general composition and strength of the work. Magician's Hat is different to it's predecessor but equally as good. Listen out for songs like ' Divided reality', ' Awakening' and the epic slow jam of ' The Sun parallel or 90 degrees)'. The cover work again was a great plus on all Bo Hansson's releases too. There is a definite mysticism to all Hansson's works, maybe it is the Scandinavian air, who knows but the purity of his sound has not dated even all these years later.

Bo Hansson - 1972 - Lord Of The Rings

Bo Hansson
Lord Of The Rings

01. Leaving shire (2:47)
02. The old forest / Tom Bombadil (3:42)
03. Fog on the barrow - Downs (2:28)
04. The black riders / Flight to the Ford (3:48)
05. At the house of Elrond / The ring goes South (4:23)
06. A journey in the dark (1:07)
07. Lothlórien (3:22)
08. Shadowfax (0:50)
09. The horns of Rohan / The battle of the Pelenmor fields (3:58)
10. Dreams in the houses of healing (1:50)
11. Homeward bound / The scouring of the shire (2:11)
12. The grey havens (4:56)

- Bo Hansson / organ, guitar, Moog synthesizer, bass

Guest musicians:
- Sten Bergman / flute
- Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone
- Rune Carlsson / drums, congas

No amount of Lord Of The Rings soundtracks or versions will depict the very nature of Middle earth more accurately than Bo Hansson's version. This album oozes themes around Elves, Hobbits, Black Riders, The Grey Havens, Lothlorien and so on. The simplistic organ and guitar sounds together with basic percussion make this concept album an aural delight. Looking back I can see why the Charisma label snapped this Swedish artist up. He is no doubt the most underrated artist of the progressive rock genre.If one had never read the book, Hansson would have reached some place inside you with the feel of this album. As a whole the complete work is essential listening but to highlight certain tracks listen to ' Flight To The Ford', ' The Ring Goes South' and ' The Old Forest' How could Hansson depict a world so completely and so accurately? Listen and you will begin to understand the genius at work.

Bo Hansson - 1971 - Ur Trollkarlens Hatt

Bo Hansson
Ur Trollkarlens Hatt

01. Storstad (11:28)
02. Elidor (1:35)
03. Före regnet (1:30)
04. Fylke (1:52)
05. Sluttningar (Lek i nedförsbacke) (1:45)
06. Findhorns sång (1:37)
07. Uppvaknande (2:47)
08. Vandringslåt (3:16)
09. Solen (Parallellt eller 90 grader) (7:14)
10. Utflykt med förvecklingar (3:29)
11. Delad verklighet (6:20)

12. Vals i Gryningen (5:51)

- Bo Hansson / Organ, Moog, Mellotron, Bass, Guitar
- Bobo Stenson / Electric Piano
- Gunnar Bergsten / Saxofon
- Kenny Håkansson / Guitar
- Owe Gustavsson / Upright Bass
- Pelle Ekman / Drums
- Rune Carlsson / Congas, Drums
- Sten Bergman / Flute

By the time Bo Hansson's debut in 1970 'Sagan om Ringen' (Lord of the Rings) had been released internationally and was receiving widespread praise in '72, he had already completed work on his second, the more diverse and less funeralistic 'Ur Trollkarlens Hatt' (The Magician's Hat). Retaining the services of Rune Carlsson (congas), Gunnar Bergsten (sax) and Sten Bergman (flute) from the Rings sessions as well as Owe Gustavsson (bass), Bobo Stensson (piano), Pelle Ekman (drums) and Kenny Hakansson (guitar), Hansson took the initiative, turned up the steam, and recorded a fine follow-up to his classic debut.

Evoking a fantasy landscape of mystery and dreamy fascination, Hansson's approach is one of careful thought to composition and atmosphere with unhurried expansion and a soft touch. Here Hansson extends his brand of earthy, pulsing rhythms that take from Eastern European, classical, jazz, folk and Latin, laying down grooves and vamps overwhich other instruments are layered, all led by a warm backdrop of organ. The 12-minute 'Storstad' draws us in with constant shifts between wild gypsy dances, acid waltzes, calliopes, sambas, Latin jazz and trippy ballroom psychedelia. A Spanish guitar boleros through 'Delad Verklighet' featuring some tasteful synthesizer fills and a lovely flute opens 'Elidor/Fore Regnet/Fylke', occassionally reminding of Pink Floyd at their most sundrenched and hallucinogenic. 'Sluttningar', 'Findhorns Sang' and 'Uppvaknande' get back on theme with more grinding organ and undulating swells of rhythm. 'Solen' jazzes us to the conclusion with an infectious beat and some nice electric piano. As these recordings can lean toward muddy, the 2002 remaster is recommended and has superb photos and Swedish notes.

Dated? Sure. Naive? Maybe a little. Beautiful and important progressive rock? You better believe it.

Bo Hansson - 1970 - Sagan om Ringen

Bo Hansson 
Sagan om Ringen

01. Första vandringen (3:30)
02. Den gamla skogen - Tom Bombadill (3:43)
03. I skuggornas rike (2:31)
04. De svarta ryttarna - Flykten till vadstället (4:07)
05. I Elronds hus - Ringen vandrar söderut (4:42)
06. En vandring i mörker (1:12)
07. Lothlórien (4:00)
08. Skuggfaxe (0:50)
09. Rohans Horn - Slaget vid Pelennors slätter (4:00)
10. Drömmar i läkandets hus (1:58)
11. Hemfärden - Fylke rensas (2:56)
12. De grå hamnarna (5:07)

Bonus track
13. Tidiga skisser från Midgård (8:49)

- Bill Öhrström / Congas
- Bo Hansson / Organ, Moog, Mellotron, Bass, Guitar
- Gunnar Bergsten / Saxofon
- Rune Carlsson / Drums, Congas
- Sten Bergman / Flute

Bo Hansson is an acclaimed Swedish progressive rock multi-instrumentalist deserving of more attention than he received. Here in the States he couldn't get arrested which is our loss but this album did quite well in other parts of the world. Hansson plays all of the keyboards and guitars on his debut homage to Tolkien, getting help only on the drums, saxophone and flute. "Lord of the Rings" is a largely quiet and contemplative album with a sound that is dreamy, spacey, often melodic. Some sections do wake up with energetic if not outwardly rocking playing. I guess I would describe the album as a mixture of Floyd for emotions, Popul Vuh for the meditative aspects, and Oldfield for the spirited moments like "The Black Riders and Flight to the Ford." This track runs the gamut from bright keyboards to rhythmic conga playing to acid-drenched guitar solos. In fact Oldfield work like Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn sound as if they could have been influenced by LotR which precedes both Oldfield classics. Overall the album is draped in organ textures, with accompanying saturated lead guitar, bass, flute and sax. Closer "The Grey Havens" sounds very much like a Popul Vuh track with organ layered over the top. It sounds the same beginning to end with slow, subtle variations happening below the surface. If that sounds appealing don't pass up this album!

In his excellent Guide to Progressive Music, Bradley Smith notes the album "exudes a hypnotic and mysterious atmosphere.not really jazz, rock, or classical, nor is it soundtrack the time of its appearance there really were no precedents for an album like this.resembles the 68-70 era of Pink Floyd a la "Set the Controls" only without vocals.takes the most moody and spacey elements of that style and expands it to album length, quite an innovative move for intoxicatingly Gothic and psychedelic atmosphere that is drifting, pulsing, organic, spiritual, melodic, and friendly." [Bradley Smith] A fabulous description and I couldn't agree more!

The one area where I don't find the album particularly successful is in the conjuring of images of Tolkien from the music. Others state that the music directly brings the book to one's mind and perfectly matches music to story. Honestly, if I didn't know the album was based on the Tolkien book I would never have made the connection. It's great and adventurous progressive rock but it doesn't remind me of Tolkien-esque images nearly as much as some other works. That minor quibble aside "Lord of the Rings" is highly recommended to fans of instrumental fantasy prog; Oldfield fans, Nektar fans, and Floyd fans would all I suspect enjoy this very much.

Björn J:son Lindh - 1980 - Wet Wings

Björn J:son Lindh 
Wet Wings

01. Sing Louder Little River
02. Swamp Etude
03. Esther Williams (Overture)
04. The Swamp Concerto
05. Certain Nights (Fandango)
06. Into the Fog
07. J:Son's Hounds
08. Elastic Love Song
09. Deserter's Jubilee
10. Wet Wings

Björn J:son Lindh / flute, recorder, piano, keyboards
Palle Mikkelborg / trumpet, flugelhorn
Stefan Brolund / acoustic and electric bass
Christian Veltman / electric bass
Roger Palm / drums, percussion

Björn J:son Lindh - 1978 - Bike Voyage II

Björn J:son Lindh 
Bike Voyage II

01. Introduction (0:33)
02. Helicopter Music (3:19)
03. Billathi Askara (5:14)
04. A Day at the Surface (5:32)
05. Loch Ensslin (2:05)
06. Ah Q (2:11)
07. Bike Voyage II (2:28)
08. Hotel and Drumsticks (5:04)
09. Boathouse Club (4:20)
10. Colwyn Bay (5:32)
11. Angela's Kite (1:14)

- Lennart Aberg / flute, sax (soprano), sax (tenor)
- Jan Bandel / violin
- Stefan Brolund / bass
- Jon Christensen / drums
- Nagi el Habashi / cello
- Malando Gassama / drums
- Björn J:son Lindh / flute, primary artist
- Peter Robinson / keyboards
- Janne Schaffer / guitar
- Peter Sundell / percussion
- Okay Temiz / percussion
- Georg Jojje Wadenius / bass

Recorded at Metronome Studio, Stockholm, June 19th-22nd, 1978.

Vynil LP Sonet SLP-2619 in 1978, later issues released under the name "A Day At The Surface"

Björn J:son Lindh - 1976 - Raggie

Björn J:son Lindh 

01. Love Machine (5:26)
02. The Pond (3:22)
03. Mannheim Rocket (3:34)
04. Bike Voyage (2:36)
05. Anniversary March (4:42)
06. Raggie (5:05)
07. Dry County (4:27)
08. Deer's Pasture (2:46)
09. Persian Supermarket (6:57)

- Björn J:son Lindh / Flute, Keyboards, ARP String Ensemble, ARP 2600 Synthesizer, Piano, Fender Piano
- Ernie Watts / Tenor Sax
- Don Grusin / Fender Piano
- Lee Ritenour / Guitar
- Ken Wild / Bass
- Joe Correro / Drums
- Joe Lala / Percussion
- Jim Gilstrap / Background Voice
- Angie Johnson / Background Voice
- Jan Kohlin / Trumpet
- Ulf Adåker / Trumpet
- Ulf Andersson / Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax, Clarinet, Flute
- Johan Stengård / Barrytone Sax
- Janne Schaffer / Guitar
- Stefan Brolund / Bass
- Malando Gassama / Drums, Percussion
- Mats Glenngård / Electric Violin
- Åke Eriksson / Drums
- Lars Carlsson / Alto Sax
- Barry Beckett / Clavinet
- Ken Bell / Guitar
- Jimmy Johnson / Guitar
- David Hood / Bass
- Roger Hawkins / Drums
- Tom Roady / Percussion
- Lars-Olof Kyndel / Organ
- Americo Belletto / Trumpet
- Bertil Lövgren / Trumpet
- Sven Larsson / Trombone
- Lars Olofsson / Trombone
- Jan Kling / Soprano Sax, Clarinet, Flute

Björn J:son Lindh - 1974 - Boogie Woogie

Björn J:son Lindh
Boogie Woogie

01. Jayson's Boogie Woogie
02. Second Carneval
03. House Of Lights
04. Stephan's Cake-Walk
05. Second Line Strut
06. Honky Tonky Train Blues
07. 3rd Meter Stroll
08. Pivo

- Björn J:son Lindh / Flute, Keyboards, Accordion
- Ulf Andersson / Tenor Sax
- Jan Schaffer / Guitars
- Stefan Brolund / Fender Bass, Acoustic Bass
- Ola Brunkert / Drums
- Malando Gassama / Congas, Percussion
- Merie Bergman / Vocals
- Beverly Glen / Vocals
- Okay Temiz / Percussion
- Jan Kling / Tenor Sax
- Sven Andersson / Trombone
- Bengt Edwardsson / Trombones
- Lars Wellander / Guitar
- Mads Vinding / Fender Bass
- Thomas Gartz / Fiddle

Björn J:son Lindh - 1973 - Sissel

Björn J:son Lindh

01. Bull Dog (7:15)
02. Surto's Pyle'as (2:46)
03. Storpolska (9:25)
04. Your Own House (3:22)
05. Sissel (8:54)
06. Games People Play (3:45)

Björn J:son Lindh: Flute, Keyboards, Synthesizer
Okay Temiz: Percussion Drums
Janne Schaffer: Electric Guitar
Jan Bandel: Vibes
John Christensen: Drums, Percussion
Jan Tolf: Percussion
Steffan Brolund: Bass (1)
Mike Watson: Bass
Lennart Aberg: Sax

I love J:son Lindh's music and early 70's albums. At least that is true in parts. The whole jazz rock scene of the early 70's and late 60's fills me with gladness. The mix of jazz sensibilities and rock music results in a very enthralling combination of genres really not that far apart, yet still different.

J:son Lindh and Jan Schaffer are two of my favorite musicians from Sweden, though their musical output not always fits my taste but when it does it suits me in a splendid way. "Sissel" is the fourth album by Lindh and in my opinion his best. The combination of jazz, rock, prog and jams is excellent, really. Though the musicianship is flawless the result is a good but non-essential piece of vinyl.

The two tracks which I listen to the most are "Bull dog" and "Storpolska". They are simply irresistable pieces of music and jazz rock at it's finest moments. "Storpolska" is a mix of rock, swedish folk and jazz all rolled up in one amazing stew of thundering musicianship, energy and inspiration. I love that track and rate it with five (5) stars while "Bull dog" is a certified four (4). The remaining tracks are good, just not that explosive and splendid.

Conclusion: "Sissel" is a really good example of (swedish) jazz rock and holds moments of genius. The musicianship leaves nothing to be desired, though the album as a whole is not up to par with the two magnificent "Bull dog" and "Storpolska". If you are able to get a hold of this album, buy it and give it a try. It's worth every penny and I am waiting for it to be released as a CD along with the others of Lindh's 70's output.

Björn J:son Lindh - 1972 - Cous Cous

Björn J:son Lindh
Cous Cous

01. My Machine 4:06
02. Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues 2:58
03. Bobo 5:17
04. El Henna 2:51
05. Kiki 3:46
06. Elastic Springtime 3:30
07. The Booster Pump 3:22
08. Abdo 10:02

Janne Schaffer - Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar
Palle Danielsson – Bass
Mike Watson - Bass [Fender]
Nagi el Habashy - Cello
Kofi Aivor - Congas
Malando Gassanna - Congas
Bengt Berger - Drums
Ola Brunkert – Drums
Bobo Stenson - Electric Piano
Kenny Håkansson - Guitar [Electric]
Abd el Rahman el Khatib – Lute
Bahi Barakat - Tabla
Jan Bandel – Tabla

Arranged By - Abd el Rahman el Khatib, Björn J:Son Lindh
Producer - Anders Burman
Engineer - Rune Persson

Swedish flautist Björn Jayson Lindh (later Björn J:son Lindh) was pretty active in the 70s putting out quite a few good jazzfunk LPs with three of them being distributed by CTI. Here's his second and one which received better critical reception upon release than most others, as evidenced in this review over at Vinyl Vulture:

A more composed affair this one, as Björn gets his mate Janne Schaffer in to beef up the axework, which he quickly does on the opening workout 'My Machine': nice chunky funk and a great start. There is much contrast to this and the more laid back tracks like 'Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues', which boasts a certain mellowness and a lovely string arrangement of his own creation. On the same theme is 'El Henna', perhaps one of his most graceful cuts; floating gently along as multi-tracked flute lines weave back and forth like angel's pillow talk. Truly beautiful. This LP also finds Lindh at his most Bob James-like on 'Elastic Springtime', which really is disturbingly similar to the Taxi theme and pre-dates it by some years. Naughty old Bob! And then, just when you are just starting to wonder what has happened to the Turkish Delight, the album finishes with a 10-minute trip down just those streets, which is not at all bad. Could well be top of the heap this one.

Finding this album in the early 90s was a bit of a relief. It helped me deal much better with my secret shame of harbouring an appreciation for the first (and only listenable) ABBA record since Lindh sweded up the horn and string arrangements for his fellow countrymen. One of my musical sins absolved, I could sleep a teensy bit better at night.

Björn J:son Lindh - 1971 - Ramadan

Björn J:son Lindh 

01. Lastbrygga (5:52)
02. Daphnia (3:52)
03. Min tulpan (1:30)
04. Tuppa (6:36)
05. Benitos Hare (2:32)
06. Ramadan (3:43)
07. Love March (3:09)
08. Kullens fyr (6:10)

Flute, Electric Piano – Björn J:Son Lindh
Congas – Kofi Ayivor
Drums – Ola Brunkert
Electric Bass – Georg Wadenius
Electric Guitar – Kenny Håkansson
Congas – Joseph Mocka
Electric Piano – Bobo Stenson
Drums – Rune Carlsson
Guitar – Hawkey Franzén
Tabla – Jan Bandel
Double Bass – Palle Danielsson
Cello – Mats Hagström

Björn J:son Lindh was born in 1944, and majored in flute and piano at the Ingesund University College of Music. He continued his musical studies at A Björn J:son Lindh was born in Arvika, Värmland, Sweden in October 25 1944. He majored in piano and flute at the Ingesund University College of Music, in Arvika, Sweden. He pursued his musical training at Musikhögskolan, The Royal School of Music, during the latter half of the 60s, then went on to play free-jazz with NILS SANDSTROM and, with ABD El RAHMAN El KHATIB, who appears on Lindh's album, Cous Cous he played Arabic flute music. Lindh has collaborated with the esteemed jazz-rock fusion/ jazz gutarist, JANNE SCHAFFER - a man best known as a session guitarist for ABBA. Linsh and Schaffer formed the band HORSELMAT. Lindh has played on many RALPH LUNDSTEN albums, who is a pioneer in electronic music and an artist.

While Lindh has worked as a session musician on many albums (he played flute on MIKE OLDFIELD's Islands), he released 14 studio albums under his name between 1970 and 1999, and also has composed music for films and TV. His music ranges from jazz to Eastern, Indian and Arabic music, to folk to pop to classical to ambient electronic relaxation/ new age albums. It is his early albums that secured a place for him in Prog Archives.

His first album, "Ramadan" is an Eastern flavoured jazz-rock Fusion (and folk) album. His second album, and my personal favourite of his, is the Eclectic "Från Storstad Till Grodspad", which combines classical, jazz, rock, pop and psyche. "Cous Cous" is Arabic/ Eastern inspired jazz-rock, and "Sissel" is a Krautrockish jazz-fusion album.

Lindh also collaborated with TRIANGULUS for Triangulus' debut album, "Triangulus and Bjørn J:son Lindh".

Not only is Lindh an active musician (flautist and keyboardist who also works with synths and current technology) but he has composed music and produced albums for many well-known artists.

I do not know how many times I've listened to "Lastbrygga" and "Kullens fyr" and everytime I am blown away with the jazzy grooves of these two amazing tracks. Lindh's flute and electric piano are excellent in every way and always performed in a flawless fashion on every recording of his.

The music could be described as late 60's, early 70's movie soundtracks with it's kind of minimalistic grooves and funky jazz rock. At least that is true in the two tracks previously mentioned. For me that is musical heaven. It is something truly mesmerizing about that sound.

Björn J:son Lindh - 1971 Fran Storstad Till Grodspad

Björn J:son Lindh
Fran Storstad Till Grodspad

01. Musik från en storstad (21:48)
02. Tom Bohla 1971 (1:20)
03. Grytnäs sväller (1:40)
04. Biezlov (1:47)
05. Den dansande Wollmar (5:04)
06. I grodspadet (3:25)
07. Stäng locket - hon fryser (3:46)
08. Tom Bohla 1972 (1:13)

Liner notes by Lars Magnus Janson

To represent Swedish Radio in the international radio broadcast of the 1971 Prix Jean-Antoine Triumph Variete, a radio man, an actor and a musician were invited to depict reality through music.

The result was a large city. Based on authentic audio recordings of daily urban sounds in Stockholm, improvising musicians presented a vision of the modern metropolis. Cars, sirens, pile drivers, church bells mix into an inferno of music. From the treacherous calm of a city morning, these sounds eventually rise up to smother those sounds nature calls her own. This is a highly personal image of an environment to which millions of people are forced to adapt daily.

This personal image is signed Björn J:son Lindh.

Björn J:son Lindh, 27, has one of the most significant profiles in the modern Swedish music scene. His compositions and arrangements have contributed (among other achievements) to the success of Cornelis Vreeswijk's double LP Poems, ballads and a little blues. Lindh can also take a great deal of credit for the attention given to Bernt Staf's debut. Together with Hawkey Franzen, Lindh wrote and produced the LP View from Djupvik, and he has been one of the central figures in the celebrated group Jason's Fleece.

In the late Summer of 1971, Lindh (a flute soloist) released his debut solo album. Rarely has a pop-jazz record received as much acclaim as Ramadam.

Besides a large number of record productions, Lindh has also written music for TV and stage. He studied flute formally at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and is also trained as a pianist.

In addition to "Music from a Big City", which received Second Prize in the 1971 Triumph Variete in Monte Carlo (and which occupies one side of this LP), this album shows Björn J:son Lindh further testing his composition and performance skills. "From Big City to Frog Sauce" is proof of how strongly a seriously trained musician and composer with a strong dramatic personality can handle modern pop music, whilst creating work that shows music a way forward in the 1970's.

Björn J:son Lindh: conductor, piano, organ, Moog and flute.
Jan Bandel, Ola Brunkert & Rune Carlsson: drums.
Palle Danielsson & Bengt Linnarsson: bass.
Kenny Håkansson, Anders Nordh & Jan Schaffer: guitar.
Mats Hagström: cello.
Lucas Lindholm: electric bass.
Hawkey Franzen: guitar, accordion.
Kenny Håkansson & Rune Gustafsson: electric guitar.
Nisse Sandström: tenor saxophone.
Jörgen Johansson and Torqny Nilsson: trombone.
Bertil Lövgren & Beinth Gustavsson: trumpet.
Lars-Erik Rönn: oboe.
Bengt Olsson & Bengt Sundberg: horn.
Karin Stig Mark, Göran Lagerberg, Anders Nordh & Hawkey Franzen: vocalsSwedish Radio Symphony Orchestra String Section.

Let me take you back to those Swedes, whom I've been rambling about a couple of weeks back. Not only do these snus addicted people have an amazing metal scene going on at the moment, which has been incredibly innovative and influential (sorry Caio), but way back in the day this country was spewing out progressive gems like a proper diamond dog suffering from bulimia.

If there ever was a clear cut case for a cd reissue, then certainly Från Storstad Till Grodspad must be it. I mean, going back to the 90s Sweden had a huge resurgence of progressive music with acts like Änglagård, Landberk and The Flower Kings just to name a few, and still they are dishing out acts that continue to gather fans from all over the globe. Yet albums I'd personally deem as long lost masterpieces - those records that will stand the test of time, these remain forgotten and unreleased. Sitting around in a shady corner waiting for the redeeming applause. I honestly don't get it, and it is a crime that albums like these aren't heralded the way they deserve.

I'll bet that the name Björn J:Son Lindh probably doesn't ring a bell? Even so, how many of you guys knew of Gentle Giant or Henry Cow before the internet. Names matter not - only the music. This man has made a lot of different tasting music spanning from these his early efforts where jazz, psych and all kinds of musical experimentation took place - to the way of disguising himself as the Swedish equivalent of Ennio Morricone creating soundtracks for such flicks as Mannen på Taket and Jägarne. Put another way: He's been around the block.

This album is the result of a highly imaginative meeting between The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Lindh, and if you're thinking: Aaahh yet another one of those rock albums that flirt around with the pomp and power of the symphony orchestra, then boy are you mistaken. Recorded on two separate occasions with but a few months in between, what you get is a side long suite that openly tears down all the prefabricated notions on how these collaborations usually pan out - and does so with an effective drill bit up front and in your face(I actually mean that in the most literary sense, but I'll get back to this), whilst the other side consists of shorter to the point tracks that still carries on that little aftermath of what went before it, like a long lingering hangover still emanating in your head.

The title track is many things. It is jazz - like te tsch te and through a multitude of alternating fusion like sections - and yet it is far away from being something you can incarcerate within any sort of black box. You have electronics buzzing, zooming, quacking away when Lindh decides to share with you his love of the moog synthesizer. It's never heavy on the ears, but I do occasionally hear it mimicking frogs and crickets - or just colouring the main events in futuresque Star Wars spices, that never feels out of place nor steal away the focus of the actual piece. Then you have the exotic psychedelic feel of the guitar that sounds strangely angular in texture - often counterpointing the nouveau symphonics in play here, that reminds me of modern composers like Stravinsky and Mussorgsky. This combination of the lone ranger guitar in heavy seas of cascading terrifying sweeps of the orchestra sends shivers down my spine, and truly feels like dancing with the grim reaper bathed in moonlight. The guitar and symphonics - man these things are unintelligible - like talking about the relationship between ice and water - even if they start as the same. They're juxtaposed forever - yet still manage to melt together as one big blurry sharp and organic beast. And just because I said that this album wasn't exactly the every day rock n symph collaboration, it still wields enough funky bass lines and masterly executed drum sections to hold the interest of the casual rock n' roller. Just you beware of the different sonic traps that lurk deep within this captivating suite. The name itself means (and don't take my word for it...) something like the voyage from the big city to the countryside, and what we get is all of the urban delights - such as drill bits(Especially the drill bit speaks to me, as it oddly enough seems to open up in what can nearly be described as true musical bloom - sounding like a whole range of different things, whilst still being a drill bit. At some point I mistook it for those insisting mating calls you get from lascivious frogs!), thundering cars, church bells, sirens - all of this crammed into the music - telling you about the horrific stress laden Zeitgeist of the modern civilisation through its very presence. It's a musical journey that takes you through all these factors, that still today feels as apt and relevant as the day of its birth. It's the fire breathing monster of every day life - the city dweller's cross. And still after all is said and done - the notes, city and nature each one has said their piece - everything ends in chaos and musical debris - with the dying whispers of a moog slowly emanating into birdsong.

Rolling and tumbling through the rest of the cuts are still these unfinished businesses, regurgitating melodies and strengths of the big kahouna. They feel like they're backing up the big boss in feel, and still they put up a relevant and slightly alternative way of looking at the music presented on the title track. There's more of a cohesive spirit for the tracks to hang their hats on though - to which the guitar is played with, and the way the drums roll together with the meatiness of the bass. One thing that doesn't fluctuate much is the way Lindh plays the flute, which is so soft and effervescent in nature that I had him picked for a woman the first time I heard the feminine touch of this wind instrument.

This is an eclectic venture to say the least. It plays on so many tangents that you forget about boxes and such. You've got bass, cello, guitar, drums, moog, violins, flute, trombone, horn, oboe, accordion, saxophone, the occasional Swedish sung vocals (which incidentally are beautiful and breezy), piano, organ and all those mentioned sound effects dropped in the mix for good measure - and there's still a somewhat harmonic feel to it, even if it speaks about the terrors of the urban inferno, and how we sometimes are afraid of the silence.