Friday, March 27, 2015

Life - 1970 - Life


01. Quo vadis (I) (1:01)
02. Nobody was there to love me (3:59)
03. Many years ago (6:13)
04. Experience of love (0:58)
05. She walks across the room (4:01)
06. Sailing in the sunshine (5:17)
07. Quo vadis (II) (1:32)
08. Living is loving (4:45)
09. Every man (1:52)
10. Experience of life (0:22)
11. One of us (5:16)
12. Yes, I am (3:27)
13. Once upon a time (4:55)
14. Quo vadis (III) (3:15)

Bonus tracks on Mellotronen CD 007 (1997):
15. Jag färdas man (Man's journey) (3:07)
16. To the country (3:48)
17. Tro på vår värid (Believe in our world) (3:23)

Line-up / Musicians
- Anders Nordh / guitar, piano, organ, bass, vocals, synthesizer
- Paul Sundlin / bass, 12-string acoustic guitar, piano, vocals
- Thomas Rydberg / drums, percussion

Guest musicians:
- Björn Jason Lindh / strings arrangements
- Swedish Radio Orchestra

This is the one... The Swedish psych album that out-psyches all the other ones...I love it

A true heavy rock-masterpiece from Sweden. Recorded 1970 with lyrics sung in both Swedish and the English language. The English version was released 1971. The music ranges from incredibly beautiful ballads to freaked out jamming. The last 3 songs is bonustracks and were at the time only available on vinyl singles. Reissued in 1997 by Mellotronen (MELLOCD007)

Anders Nordh and Paul Sundlin had previously played together in particular 60th century group of Trolls, and participated on the album King George Discovery. Life was formed in 1970 by Tomas Rydberg, and these young talented musicians delivered progressive rock mixed with jazzy pop songs on the first disc and it use to be said it resembles Leaf Hound and Tear Gas. The album was released both in Swedish and in English, but musical it's the same plate. The disc (English version) is released on CD by Mellotronen. They are said to also participate on the album "Musik från Frihamnen (-72)" with the song "Tro på vår värld". They also rumored that a second LP should exist in four test pressing copies (probably called "Life After Life"). They also released two singles "Jag Färdas / Living Loving(-70)" and "Tro på vår Värld / To the Country (-72)".

The band disbanded in 1972 but Anders and Palle formed together with Peter Lundblad, Tommy Andersson and Lasse Tennander the group Duga that released one album in 1974 loaded with both symphonic rock to pop ballads. In late 1974 Lasse quit the bands to do a solo career and the group changed its name to Figaro. The group had a minor success with the song "Framåt". Anders Nordh later played in the group Bättre Lyss. Life also appeared on the self-titled album by the band "Resan" with the song "Life".
Life’s eponymous album, issued in 1970, is one of the most sought-after Swedish progressive albums.
The album describes the cycle of love in life ; it boasts tight, melodic songs underpinned by tough drums and lacerating guitars. The trio were supplemented by psychedelic-flavoured string arrangements.

At the pub "Tudor Arms", after a gig supporting Deep Purple:
Ritchie Blackmore: "You must be the leadguitarist?"
Anders Nordh: "Yeah, how did you know?"
Ian Gillan: "The leadguitarist is always the asshole in the group!"...

Svenska Löd AB! - 1971 - Hörselmat

Svenska Löd AB! 

01. Introd... Ta Er I Brasan    
02. Den Dan Vi Sket I Hugo Montenegros Arrangemang
03. Teryleneblus 13:50 EPA
04. En Mäktig Eldaregesäll - Ej Taube
05. Right On - Kliv På
06. Va Då Rå - Va E', Reö, De E' Vel Okey
07. Undrar Om Mona Och Kent Spelar Den Här...
08. Riff Á La Lindström

Bass – Jan Bergman
Drums – Nils Erik Svensson
Guitar – Bengan Karlsson, Janne Schaffer
Organ, Piano – Bengt Lindqvist
Tenor Saxophone – Kalle Lundborg, Olle Wirén
Trombone – Mats Eriksson (3)
Trumpet – Lennart Axelsson, Åke "Jocke" Johansson

Only 200 copies were pressed.

Text printed on cover "Om det är nån jävel som tar mer än 20 spänn för den här(Ocker)-köp den inte!?"

Translates to: "If some bastard wants more than 20 bucks for this(usury)- don't buy it!?"

Songs covered on this album:

Track 2 - "New York" by Jeff Kent
Track 4 - "The Mighty Burner" by Charles Earland
Track 5 - "Right On" by Lee Roland
Track 6 - "But It's Alright" by J.J. Jackson
Track 8 - "Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska" by Buddy Miles

One of the rarest albums from Sweden, if not THE rarest. Primarily a jazz funk album with blues overtones, that features none other than Janne Schaffer on guitar. Pressed in a micro quantity of 200 copies. Privately released album in an era when that kind of thing was unheard of. Great production, and some splendid guitar, trumpet, sax and organ work

Janne Schaffer - 1985 - Traffic

Janne Schaffer 

01. Portvakten (Ur Trollkarlen Från Oz)    
02. Flight 05
03. Som Ett Nyfött Barn
04. Kattens Ögon    
05. Rosa Tango    
06. September    
07. Traffic    
08. Vindbrygga    
09. Våreld    
10. Längtan (Ur Trollkarlen Från Oz)    

Janne Schaffer: Guitar, Guitarsynth
Ake Sundqvist: Drums, Percussion
Bjorn J:son Lindh: Pano, Synths
Christian Veltman: Bass
Henrik Janson: Guitar
Malando Gassama: Percussion
Per Lindvall: Drums, Percussion
Peter Ljung: Synthesizer

Janne Schaffer - 1982 - Blå Passager & Röda Vågor

Janne Schaffer 
Blå Passager & Röda Vågor

01. Het Sand
02. Jag Kan Läsa Dina Tankar
03. Den Siste Passageraren
04. Andrea Doria
05. Monica
06. Så Skimrande Var Aldrig Havet
07. Hudson Bay
08. Root Mousse
09. Labyrint
10. Andens Hus

Janne Schaffer: Guitars
Bjorn J:son Lindh: Piano, Keyboards, Flute
Tommy Cassemar: Bass
Per Lindvall: Drums, Percussion
Hakan Mjornheim: Rhythm Guitar
Peter Ljung: Electric Piano
Matts Alsberg: Bass
Pete Robinson: Prophet 5
Christiana Veltman: Bass
Alphonso JOhnson: Bass

Janne Schaffer - 1980 - Presens

Janne Schaffer 

01. Herr Allansson Pickles   
02. Tungan   
03. Neon Dimma   
04. Marsch Från Tornhuven   
05. Morgondagens Skugga Lättar-Fata Morgana   
06. Ictus   
07. Dans Från Vettet   
08. Öppna Ögon   
09. Diesire

Guitars, Vocal: Janne Schaffer
Organ: John "Rabbit" Bundrick
Piano, Keyboards, Flute: Bjorn J:Son Lindh
Guitar: Stefan Bjorklund
Bass: Sam Bengtsson
Trumpet, Percussion, Vocals: Per LIndvall
Rhythm Guitar: Mats Ronander
Bass: Christian Veltman
Contrabass: Stefan Brolund
Drums: Malando Gassama
Bass: Kofi Bentsi-Enchill
Sveriges Radio Symphoniorkest
Arrangements: Bjorn J:Son Lindh

Janne Schaffer - 1978 - Earmeal

Janne Schaffer 

01. Hot Days And Summer Nights
02. Happy Feet
03. To A Beautiful Painter
04. Bromma Express
05. The Shrimp
06. Shrimp A La Carte
07. It's Never Too Late
08. Frederick's Place

Guitar: Janne Schaffer
Drums: Jeff Porcaro
Keyboards: Peter Robinson
Keyboards, Flute, String Arrangements: Bjorn J:son Lindh
Keyboards: Steve Porcaro
Bass: Mike Porcaro
Stefan Brolund: Bass (8)
Percussion: Joe Porcaro
Percussion: Malando Gassama (3)

I found this in my record collection. It's a great album and I thought you might like a listen. It was Janne's last attempt at making it internationally. Then the whole 80's shred thing happened. Being the top guitar player in Sweden in the 70's, Janne is also heard on most Abba albums. One of the greatest guitar players from that era IMHO. Take a look at the credit list below. Can't help to think he's had influence over the Toto boys, Steve Lukather in particular... A lot of Luke's early stuff bares resemblance to Janne's playing. Anyway, have a listen guys!

Janne Schaffer - 1976 - Katharsis

Janne Schaffer 

01. Bromma Struttin'
02. Den Blaa Porten
03. Dimba Jullow
04. Ramsa
05. Atlanta Inn 2419
06. Den Roda Porten
07. Skogsstjarnan

Guitar: Janne Schaffer
Electric Piano, Clabvinet, Flute: Bjorn J:son Lindh
Drums, Percussion: Malando Gassama
Bass: Stefan Brolund

Drums: Lars Beijbom
Piano: Lars Jansson
Violin: Mats Glenngard
Bass: Matz Nilsson
Drums: Peter Sundell
Soprano Sax: Lennart Aberg

The timeline of local record distributions for Schaffer stops around mid-70's.His third album ''Katharsis'' was simultaneously released in the UK, the USA and Sweden via the managements of Columbia and CBS Records.Next to the usual suspects Björn J:son Lindh, Stefan Brolund and Malando Gassama, Schaffer now collaborates with Kebnekaise's Mats Glenngard on violin, keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick (a future member of The Who), Lars Jansson from Mount Everest on clavinet, Lars Beijbom and Peter Sundell on drums and Lennart Aberg on sax.The album was recorded at the Marcus Music and Europa Film Studios.

Soundwise Schaffer moves a bit deeper into the classic 70's Fusion stylings with the pronounced jazzy free spirit evident in several of his guitar solos, although he still performed pieces in a more suitable guitar-oriented Rock.The tracks contain elements of Funk as well, especially through the bass lines and the use of clavinet, and the sound ranges from more technical deliveries to melodic and atmospheric material.Schaffer still struggles to perform high-class instrumental music, nevertheless his compositions are always pleasant to the ear via the combination of loose executions and tighter instrumental themes.His approach reminds me of a guitar-fronted WEATHER REPORT or RETURN TO FOREVER with bits from DIXIE DREGS' energy and the rougher edges of compatriots KEBNEKAISE.Nice and easy flow with some pretty outstanding drumming and bass work and certain success in the guest performances on sax, flute and clavinet.Schaffer's style remains a combination of rockin' leads and jazzy solos, although his tendency towards more loose performances is more than obvious.The album contains also some marching Fusion grooves and, once more, the melodic work of Schaffer is quite great, especially on the relaxing ''Atlanta Inn 2419''.

Schaffer had become a notable reference of the style at this point.A recommended album to anyone searching for compact Fusion with evidence on guitar chops and multiple instrumental colors around.

Janne Schaffer - 1974 - Janne Schaffer's Andra LP

Janne Schaffer 
Janne Schaffer's Andra LP

01. Dr. Abraham
02. Ugglor I Mossen
03. Scales
04. Kulan Vaxer
05. Den Gaftulla Jungfrun
06. Ryska Posten
07. Vildar Drommar
08. Daniel Sover

Produced By Janne Schaffer & Lars Samuelson

Guitar: Janne Schaffer
Bass: Steffan Borlund
Drums: Ola Brunkert
Congas: Malando Gassama
Piano, Flute: Bjorn J:son Lindh

Janne Schaffer's debut was commercially very succesful, despite being a rather uncommercial album.As the days of Baltik, Pop Workshop and Ablution were coming to an end, Schaffer, motivated by the success of his debut, focused on a personal career and in 1974 he released his second album ''Andra'' on Four Leaf Clover.Apart from the usual suspects Björn J:son Lindh, Ola Brunkert,Stefan Brolund and Malando Gassama, the album features also Pop Workshop's bassist Mads Vinding, J. Peter Robinson from Quatermass/Brand X/Sun Treader on synths and Ibis' drummer Petur Oestlund.The album was re-released the next year by Vertigo for the English market.

''Andra'' is another flexible album by Schaffer and the opening ''Dr Abraham'' might not be the best introduction with its overall funky sound, but the rest of the album contains few to none commercial vibes, though Schaffer's composing style is quite accesible.The album is dominated by the scroching, jazzy guitar workouts of Schaffer standing to his more bluesy and laid-back lines, all of them played with talent and passion.The rest of the instrumentalists actually define the style of the tracks.From the impressive flute parts of Lindh in the excellent Folk/Fusion cut ''Ugglor i mossen'' to the soaring moog solos of Peter Robinson and the congas of Gassama in the RETURN TO FOREVER-like ''Underhuggaren'' and from the rockin' style of ''Den gatfulla jungfrun'' with a very MARIO MILLO-styled atmosphere to the almost GARY MOORE-like ''Kulan vaexer'' and the excellent solo performance of Schaffer, ''Andra'' is full of jazzy-related textures with diverse ideas and strong individual performances.

Quite similar to the debut of Schaffer, ''Andra'' contains some very good, elaborated and refined Jazz/Fusion, pretty accesible but quite intricate at the same time.Another solid release by the Swedish guitar hero and certainly a recommended one.

Janne Schaffer - 1973 - Janne Schaffer

Janne Schaffer 
Janne Schaffer

01. The Chinese
02. Hakkans Affar
03. No Registration
04. Kulan
05. Titus
06. Jordbruksmaskinen
07. Fillins Mignon
08. Vidarnas Madrass

Produced By Lars Samuelson

Janne Schaffer: Guitar
Bengt Karlsson: Guitar
Stefan Brolund: Bass
Drums: Ola Brunkert
Piano, Flute: Bjorn J:son Lindh

A Swedish guitarist,known to the public from his work as a session musician for ABBA.Schaffer was born in Stockholm in mid-40's and he spent his early career on various pop bands.He was a member of three Swedish Jazz-Rock giants,Baltik, Pop Workshop and Ablution.In 1973 he recorded his solo debut under his name for Four Leaf Clover Records and the year after the same album was released on Vertigo under the name ''The chinese''.Among the musicians Schaffer collaborated for these albums we find famous Swedish flutist/keyboardist Björn J:son Lindh along with drummer Ola Brunkert from Baltik/Ablution, bassist Stefan Brolund from Pop Workshop/Egba and Malando Gassama on percussion,again from Ablution.

I do not know actually if the songs are exactly the same with the 1973 LP,as I havent listened to it,but a few titles are different actually.Nevertheless all tracks feature some quite exciting guitar work by Schaffer with more or less a jazzy/Fusion style,ranging from melodic hooks in the vein of CAMEL's Andy Latimer to somewhat improvised soloing,but always with a rockin' attitude.Some acoustic passages are lovely as well,with Lindh delivering a number jazzy electric piano performances on the album.Two tracks contain also Lindh's fantastic flute playing,these have a beautiful Symphonic/Psych/Folk edge with a great and deep atmosphere.The work of bassist Stefan Brolund is also remarkable at times with some deep lines along the way.

From his very first work Schaffer prooved that we had a lot to wait for from him.Nice jazzy Progressive Rock with tight performances and a fine rockin' sound.Recommended.

Lars Hollmer - 1987 - Vendeltid

Lars Hollmer

01. Spanska Trappan (5:56)
02. Vendeltid (5:11)
03. Utflykt Med Damcykel (4:52)
04. Eyeliner (3:17)
05. Through Glass (4:40)
06. Snögång/Klocklåt (3:59)
07. Gitarette (1:41)
08. Karusellmusik (3:42)
09. Misery (6:05)
10. Experiment on Tour (2:41)

- Lars Hollmer / accordion, keyboards, vocals
Plus LOOPING HOME ORCHESTRA circa 1987. (Lineup details unavailable on album).

Lars Hollmer's Vendiltid is in my opinion one of the best progrock records from 80-s. The music is less complicated and "crazy" than Samla but it doesn't make it worse. Hollmer put real feelings into every composition on this album - sadness, joy, humor. The album has a lot of wonderful melodies with unmistakable Hollmer touch Strongly recommended for everyone who like Samla Mammas Manna and progrock in general.

Lars Hollmer - 1985 - Tonoga

Lars Hollmer 

01. Onk Kch Onk Kch (3:44)
02. Slutet På Tangqn (3:25)
03. Höstvisa (Autumn Song) (3:28)
04. Klipp en Apa (2:53)
05. Karlafrigue (3:55)
06. Lilla Pas du Valse (2:26)
07. Tonöga (3:02)
08. Damernas Rumango (3:25)
09. Arvevals (2:42)
10. Skiss M. Brest O Segosero (1:48)
11. Annu Ingen Pelle (1:56)
12. Rindatröst (3:52)
13. Simfågeldans (3:44)
14. Harmonium III (5:27)

- Lars Hollmer / accordion, keyboards, vocals

Guest musicians:
- Alva Strand Hollmer / vocals
- Eino Haapala / guitar, mandolin
- Gabriel Strand Hollm / vocals
- Hasse Bruniusson / drums
- Kalle Eriksson / trumpet, congas
- Mattias Jonsson / vocals
- Ulf Wallander / soprano saxophone

Another amazig solo album by Lars Hollmer of Samla Mammas Manna. The album features a lot of styles and emotions, all delivered with unique Lars Hollmer style. I would say the first part of the album is more experimental (Onk Kch Onk Kch being the example), the second part contains more melodical and traditional music which is a mixture of folk, prog, RIO, jazz, tango and God knows what else. There is a lot of accordion all over the album, my favorite tracks are Lilla Pas du Valse & Harmonium III, but the rest is also very solid.

Lars Hollmer - 1983 - Fran Natt Idag

Lars Hollmer
Fran Natt Idag

01. Hoppas Att Det Går (2:45)
02. Mowiee (3:26)
03. Skiss Till Jazz (1:51)
04. Liturgiskt Beat (4:30)
05. Persisk Park (3:21)
06. Soon Song (2:27)
07. Ett Tungt OK (3:18)
08. Skär (2:09)
09. Optimiistbeat (4:10)
10. Nationsjazz (3:22)
11. Inte Quanta (2:29)
12. Tango Noll (3:40)
13. Mörkrädd Vals (3:03)
14. Für Munju (2:52)

- Lars Hollmer / accordion, keyboards, drums & percussion, vocals, everything else

Lars Hollmer - 1982 - Vill Du Höra Mer

Lars Hollmer 
Vill Du Höra Mer

01. Starlep Signs (3:12)
02. Sweet (1:34)
03. Indojazz (3:10)
04. Soldaten (0:47)
05. En Slags Orfeo (2:52)
06. Övergång (2:33)
07. Baldis (2:07)
08. Retsicka (4:44)
09. Dragfragment (1:48)
10. Glasmusik/Akarondo (10:05)
11. Kuckeliku (1:55)
12. Vill du Höra Mer (3:12)
13. 180 Sekunder Hemma (2:57)
14. Humanoid Robottango (2:37)
15. Finalvals (1:54)

- Lars Hollmer / accordion, keyboards, drums & percussion, vocals, everything else

Vill Du Höra Mer was recorded during the Spring 1982 (with one exception) in the Chickenhouse, on the same old 8 track recorder. It was mixed by Tomas Gabrielsson and Lars Hollmer in the Chickenhouse, in July 1982. All instruments and vocals by Lars Hollmer, except on "180 sekunder hemma" where Alva, Gabriel, Johannes Strand/Hollmer and Saralotta Jönsson take part.
The following instruments have been used: Yamaha electric grand piano, Neco and Hohner accordions, Hohner electric organ, Korg, Tage's chime of bells, Allah banjo, guitar, mandolin, kalimba, bottles, mother's crystal, Pelle's congas, Hasse's snaredrum, cymbal together with various saucepans and plink-plonk. Tomas and Kerstin are sitting in "Baldis" bar.
Vill Du Höra Mer was originally released by KRAX in August 1982.
Cover by Lars Wikfeldt and Pelle Engman.

Lars Hollmer - 1981 - XII Sibiriska Cyklar

Lars Hollmer
XII Sibiriska Cyklar

01. Avlägsen Strandvals (2:39)
02. Piano de Jugugte (2:40)
03. Hajar du Idealfamiljen? (1:36)
04. Endlich ein Zamba (2:36)
05. Inga Pengar (2:25)
06. Kameisväng (3:11)
07. Ja Änte Flöttar Ja Te Sjöss (1:35)
08. Boeves Psalm (2:30)
09. Jag Väntar På Pelle (2:44)
10. Bluesen (2:05)
11. 44 Sekunder Köpt Speldosa (0:45)
12. Ung Harald (2:43)
13. Litet Piano (2:28)

- Lars Hollmer / accordion, keyboards, drums & percussion, vocals, everything else

The title XII sibiriska cyklar allude to the story about the Siberian farmer, who was living so dreadfully far away from everything and everybody, that he spent most of his time walking to his every destination. However, when he at last became tired of these boring time-consuming walks, he sat down and eventually invented a bicycle! Struck with rapture for his ingenious invention, he anxiously straddled his bike and rode into the nearest town. He intend to show and to apply for a patent for his wonderful innovation. When at long last, he reached the town, he shocked to see thousand of bicycles zooming along in the drizzle. Under the grey skies, he then suddenly dies of a heart attack. I don't believe there is a any truth to this story, even though it is worth considering... Anyway I have stolen it from Hasse...

All songs on XII sibiriska cyklar are created by Lars Hollmer, except the lyrics of "Ung Harald" which was written by Dan Andersson and performed by Tomas Ladberg.
XII sibiriska cyklar was recorded in the Chickenhouse outside Uppsala, on Teac 8 track recorder, in June through October 1980 and in March 1981. "Kamelsväng" is a home recording from 1975 and "litet Piano" was recorded on a cassete recorder in 1976. The final mix was made on one hot day and night by Anders Lind and Lars Hollmer in the MNW Studio, in April 1981, and later in the Chickenhouse by Lars Hollmer.
XII sibiriska cyklar was originally released on vinyl by Silence Records in the summer 1981.
Covers by Lars Hollmer.

Von Zamla - 1999 - 1983

Von Zamla

01. Ten Tango (7:23)
02. Forge Etyde (4:23)
03. Harujänta (7:56)
04. Temporal you are (5:59)
05. Antsong (5:34)
06. Für Munju / Indojazz (4:46)
07. Glassmusic (1:00)
08. Rainbox (3:11)
09. Doppler (7:57)
10. Akarondo (2:48)
11. Dancing Madras (0:30)
12. Clandestine (6:59)
13. Ödet (Bonus track) (5:42)

- Michel Berckmans / bassoon, oboe
- Eino Haapala / guitar
- Lars Hollmer / piano, organ, korg, accordion
- Hans Loelv / piano, organ, korg, melodica
- Wolfgang Salomon / bass
- Mårten Tiselius / drums

 It is fortunate that Cuneiform Records, that bastion of progressive rock, released these excellent tracks from live shows in Germany, March 1983. It allows all Prog listeners the chance to own something by the legendary Swedish ensemble without having to track down their other hard to find albums, and '1983' provides a comprehensive look into the extraordinary imagination of Michel Berckmans (bassoon, oboe), Eino Haapala (guitar), Lars Hollmer (piano, organ, Korg, accordion), Hans Loelv (keys, melodica), Wolfgang Salomon (bass) and Marten Tiselius (drums).

A bit like Univers Zero in sound but more rock-oriented and less dark (but no less intriguing), the Zamlas were truly breaking new ground in their time with avant-chamber mayhem and driving dissonance. The music pumps with a creepy, Monster Mash hipness and astounding changes in mode and tempo, filled with delicate lines, little details, and bizarre humor. The group draws influence from seemingly all music at once and spits it back out with flair and bold disregard for convention or popular ideals. The thirteen cuts brim with this energy and it is hard to find a weak moment in it, though perhaps the silly vocalizations will sour some to the experience. But the vast majority of tunes here are instrumental and offer much with a truly progressive form of rock music. It may take many listens to fully appreciate but VZ is an act that every proghead should own at least a small amount of.

Von Zamla - 1984 - No Make Up!

Von Zamla
No Make Up!

01. Forge etude (4:06)
02. Soon series (7:32)
03. Für munju / Indojazz (6:00)
04. Gilmit (4:29)
05. Hopeful (4:36)
06. Endango (3:50)
07. Piece of antsong (2:42)
08. Voice improvisation (3:50)
09. After smrt (5:14)
10. Cancion de Bi-Mi-Mela (3:20)

- Michel Berckmans / bassoon, oboe
- Eino Haapala / guitar, vocals
- Lars Hollmer / keyboards, accordion
- Hans Louhelainen / keyboards, melodica
- Wolfgang Salomon / bass, guitaron
- Mårten Tiselius / drums

Additional musician:
- Kalle Eriksson / trumpet (4), percussion

Never released on CD this one is a bit different from predecessor. The band's line-up includes six musicians instead of four and the music is not so chamber- sounding than Zamlaranamma. In addition - the good ol' Univers-Zero-man Michael Berckmans has taken part of recording! Musically in my addition the 1st side of LP was more living and the 2nd side more usual. Michael Berckmans' composer talent was quite admirable. But anyway - the live recording 1983 released in 1999 by Cuneiform is their absolutely finest!

Von Zamla - 1982 - Zamlaranamma

Von Zamla

01. Harujänta (7:49)
02. Rainbox (3:14)
03. Doppler (4:34)
04. Clandestine (5:48)
05. Temporal you are (4:32)
06. Original 13 II (4:46)
07. Ten tango (5:40)
08. Antsong (5:11)
09. Tail of antsong (2:05)

- Denis Brely / bassoon, oboe, voice, baryton sax, Soprano flute
- Jan Garret / bass, bass pedals, guitar, percussion, vocals
- Eino Haapala / guitar, bass, cello, mandoline, percussion, vocals
- Lars Hollmer / keyboards, accordion, percussion, glockenspiel, lead vocals

Founded in 1981 by keyboardist Lars Hollmer and guitarist Eino Haapala this zany band was an off-shoot of Sweden's Samlas Mammas Manna whose brand of RIO made them popular in Sweden in the 1970's but kept them relatively obscure elsewhere.
Von Zamla released two studio albums in their short career; Zamlaranama (1981) and No Make Up (1983). Brimming with Nordic Folk Melodies,thanks toHollmer's amazing accordion work the albums feature much less improvisational work than their earlier Sammlas work. One of the defining qualities of the band is their sense of theatre,comic theatre to be precise and this shines through both their albums.
This band represents a fascinating link to some of today's more creative bands such as Birdsongs of the Mesazoic and Miriodor.

After the dissolution of Samla Mammas Manna (as Zamla Mammaz Manna), master musicians Haapala y Hollmer decided to renew their partnership with this project Von Zamla, together with other two musicians from Albert Marcoeur's band. The result: a musical offering whose main bet was on multicolored melodic motifs, extravagant tratments, heavily relying on dissonant chord progressions and pretty recurrently sustained on counterpoints regarding the arrangements. Zamlaranamma is the first recorded manifestation of this result. Von Zamla's music is deeply challenging while not being particularly aggressive - their compositions and style bear the heritage of ZMM but with a more light-weight attitude toward the interactions between all musicians. The absence of a drummer, or more precisely, a specialized percussive section, allows the ensamble to focus more enthusiastically on the amalgamation of keyboards, guitars and woodwinds, although the rhythmic basis still plays a solid role at ordaining the aforesaid amalgamation. The strong position of the accordion helps the band to elaborate a folk-based depth within the confines of the band's overall vision. The opener 'Harujänta', bearing a pletoric aura of celebration with various hints to Northern Europe folk, is a definite proff of the line of work I've just described. later on, 'Clandestine' and 'Original 13/11' will persevere with the special, bizarre magic that Von Zamla instill on their particular approach to RIO: the former includes an effective melodic twist that leads to a werid musical box-like final motif, and 'Original 13/11' is headlong for the delivery of overwhelming exotic ambiences. 'Rainbox' displays a more melancholic mood, sweet and suave, but not without its proper touch of mystery. 'Doppler' is one of my absolute fave tracks in the album (and I also love the extended live rentdition that appears on the 1983 album.. just amazing!!) - from the first time I listened to its sinister spirals of neurosis and spacey cadences I was hooked forever till the end of time. In many ways the somber spirit we find in this track is a remainder of the sophisticated tension so clearly illustrated on ZMM's swansong Familjiesprickor. Other tracks in which Von Zamla are the nocturnal 'Temporal You Are' and the last two numbers 'Antsong' and 'Tail of Antsong', genuine brainstorms of atonal colors. 'Ten Tango' brings back the band's softer, althoug displaying more intensity and mystery than track 2, particularly due to the hypnotic use of texturial ornaments in a weird confluence of tango-fusion, Stravinsky and gypsy folk. All in all, "Zamlaranamma" is an excellent RIO item from the 80s and a very worthy successor of the SMM/ZMM tradition: bands like Alamailman Vasarat, Hoyre Kone, 5UU's and Pochikaite Malko have evidently been influenced by the musicial ideology exposed here, so it leaves Von Zamla with the extra credit of becoming a point of reference for some of the moets bizarre prog music created in the last 20 years.

Zamla Mammaz Manna - 1980 - Familjesprickor

Zamla Mammaz Manna 

01. Five Single Combats (5:52)
02. Ventilation Calculation (5:05)
03. The Forge (5:04)
04. The Thrall (5:05)
05. The Panting Short Story (3:52)
06. Pappa (with right of veto) (4:27)
07. The Farmhand (7:33)
08. Kernel in Short and Long Castling (5:40)

- Lars Hollmer / keyboards, accordion, singing
- Eino Haapala / guitars, singing
- Lars Krantz / bass, singing
- Vilgot Hansson / drums, percussion

Guest musician:
- Hans Bruniusson / drums and some percussion on "Pappa"

 IMHO, it was during their Zamla Mammaz Manna era that the combo extraordinaire Samla Mammas Manna delivered their best stuff - go figure, surpass the SMM material! "Familjesprickor" was their farewell album, so you can say that the Swedish band left the stage with flying colours (in fact momentarily, since a brief reunion took place a few years later). Apparently, this final phase was not easy to carry on: drummer Hans Bruniusson left soon after the recording sessions had started, and had to be replaced by Vilsot Hansson, while the curtain call ambience was clearly felt in the air during the time spent in the studio, performing, rearranging and mixing the new repertoire. Yet, you can tell that this ambience, so inconvenient in terms of emotional stability, proved to be fruitful in terms of musical merits and energetic performing. By this time, new guitarist Enio Haapala (Apetrea's replacement) had instilled an enhanced drive into the guitar parts making them more powerful and psychedelic, in this way, affecting the band's overall sound, which is now more sophisticated, more charged, more aggressive. The band themselves claim that the music in this album is not "as optimistic and happy as it used to be", but the listener should not expect mournful and/or languid music. Everything remains as colourful and exciting as always, only more tense, and as I already stated, more aggressive and more charged - that's where the inner tension comes from, mainly. There is also a decreased number of folly chanting, and that may be another hint of the lack of happiness in the album, a lessened desire to sing and hum. Regarding the repertoire itself, it's perfectly even in its richness and sense of surprise, all the time demanding a lucid awareness from the listener. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the opening track displays an impressive mixture of polka and jazz rock, with some Frippian guitar and Zappaesque extravagant chord progressions in the keyboard parts. A great opener, indeed. Track 2 is more remarkably melodic, with guitarist Haapala assuming the leading role, except for a brief piano solo by Hollmer. 'The Forge' includes some disturbing guitar soundscapes and some delicious circus-like accordion chords on a funky-rock basis: something the listener needs to hear before the ultra-dadaist genius nonsense displayed in 'The Thrall' - Henry Cow fan membership required to enjoy this one. A bit less deconstructive but more intensely aggressive is 'The Panting Short Story', mostly due to the guitar parts: the odd tempos and bizarre chord progressions on keyboards keep things standing firmly on SMM's typical jazzy ground, but the hard rocking vibes in Haapala's riffs and picks remains prominent right until the end of the song. I feel the fade-out comes too soon - I wish this particular fave of mine would have been a bit longer. The nest two numbers bring some extra colours in ZMM's pallet: the reggae cadence in 'Pappa' comes pretty handy in order to convey some jolly, healthy sarcasm; the subtly added touches of Latin jazz in 'The Farmhand' helps to reduce the tension that has been predominant for most of the album. And finally, 'Kernel in Short and Long Castling' starts as typical SMM (burlesque + jazz complexity + folkish nuances), but it won't take long before the tension starts to show again, in this way providing a proper ending for the album.

Zamla Mammaz Manna - 1979 - Lejonet Av Ljuga, Ryssland Island

Zamla Mammaz Manna 
Lejonet Av Ljuga, Ryssland Island

01. Lejonet av Ljuga (3:29)
02. Ryssland Island varför är väl inge å va rädd för (2:27)

- Eino Haapala / Guitar, vocals
- Hasse Bruniusson / Drums, xylophone, vocals etc.
- Lars Hollmer / Keyboards, accordion, vocals etc.
- Lars Krantz / Bass

Recorded and mixed March 1979
7" Svenska Love Records SLs 1, 1979
Recorded By, Mixed By – Roine Stolt


 I was looking through a box of old vinyl singles this morning when I came across this one. Released in 1979, with two tracks. The title track is a rather comical Reggae song, apparently a parody on Swedish Reggae artist Peps Persson, and the B-side is a short, folky tune with tasty accordion. Both tracks are well-played and entertaining in classic Samla/Zamla fashion, however this isn't really an essential release, as it doesn't contain anything really spectacular. It hasn't been re-released on CD, so it's probably hard to get hold of outside Sweden. Casual fans of Zamla shouldn't really bother finding it.

Good, but not essential for anyone other than the hardcore Zamla fan.

Zamla Mammaz Manna - 1978 - For Aldre Nybegynnare

Zamla Mammaz Manna 
For Aldre Nybegynnare

01. Watchmaker 1
02. Watchmaker 2
03. The Funktrap
04. Short Inheritance
05. The Modern
06. Temporal You Are
07. Harness in Memorandum
08. To the Oval Meter
09. Do You Think You Like Me?

- Hans Bruniusson / drums, pinochet, chimes, xylophone, radio, voicet
- Eino Haapala / guitars, voice
- Lars Holmer / electric piano, Korg polyphonic, Hohner-symphonic grand piano, Farfisaorgan, voice
- Lars Krantz / bass, trumpet

Something happened to this crazy Swedish flock during the mid 70s, that inspired them to change route and thereby look at music in another fashion - dive into it with an altogether new inspiration. Now, while the old Samla Mamma Manna were anything but your average prog rock band, - in fact I think it's safe to say that there was nobody out there who sounded quite like them during this period in music - something did happen during their last tour under the SMM name. They were performing with a brass band and playing music that wasn't theirs to begin with. Snorungarnas Symphony was the brainchild of Swedish-American composer Greg Fitzpatrick, who also fiddled about with notorious Swedish rock figures Hansson and Karlsson during the latter part of the 60s. I personally think that things were bound to change for SMM, because what I get from these guys - what strikes me the most about them, is there inability to stand still - there will to drive on and push through. They were like human bulldozers in a world of pretty obstacles.

Maybe it was time for a change. Coste Apetrea was replaced with a new guitarist called Eino Haapala, and the group was now pushing the sonic boundaries even further. What was possible within the confines of their own music? This is one of the main reasons that they during this time were associated with the Rock In Opposition movement, and together with bands like Henry Cow, Univers Zero and Stormy Six - the quest for music without a safety net was on - music with no self-preservation - free as a drunk ship mouse dancing merrily around on the very edge of conformity - these acts had now ventured out on a ledge that threatened to break off at any given moment.

För Äldre Nybegynnare is Zamla Mammas Manna's first peep, and although it was released as a double album with Schlagerns mystik, it is still very much a debut. It's comprised of live recordings done at various Swedish live shows all through 1976-77. It is not the most accomplished live recordings I've ever been subjected to - in fact it sometimes comes off sounding like a garage job, although strangely enough, every nuance of any instrument played here is audible, which had me puzzled for a long time. Some kind of mysterious recording technique that sounds like it's done under an old correlated iron roof during a heavy storm, yet still sporting a distinct clarity from the individual musicians, which obviously must be packed up in tin foil and helium vacuums. I'm not entirely sure, but it sure sounds unique and atmosphere inducing. Safe to say that I haven't bumped into any other album sounding quite like this ever in my life.

Now whereas the old group did sound frantic and haphazard - like a freaked out circus playing far too many melodies all at the same time whilst inhabiting a slightly skewed train wreck, the tunes as such could never be accused of being jams. Sure there were sections that inspired a bit of laissez faire - do whatever you want, - BUT in essence they were highly orchestrated and well thought out pieces, even if that sounds a bit mad.

Zamla Mammas Manna on the other hand were diving head first into the unknown. It was about improvisations and loose structures based on whatever mood, sound, feel that was prevailing at the time of execution. Yeah - music of the moment, and while that sounds a bit like jazz, För Äldre Nybegynnare does not entirely sound like it. It doesn't sound like anything other than itself - to be quite honest. Take the first 2 cuts here called Urmakare(Watchmaker). Starting off with a jolly guy singing: WAHALALALHAALAWA - then seeping into a cacophonous guitar wall, some snuffling electronics from before the time of Mario Brothers, but not unlike it - and tadah! you have the intro. Then the drumming starts with it's nervous twitching along with a deep fat bass chugging along like a dirty swamp monster from your darkest dreams. It's angular, mad, uneven, imaginative like a children's fairytale and stuffed full of small segments swaying the track to change coarse for the more gritty, rocking, ethereal or everything in between.

This could be a description of the album itself. A constant battle of differentiating moods and tempers - all conveyed in notes and musical journeys that will have you reaching for your sanity from time to time. It's funny as well, but maybe that is down to the strange vocals. Man they make me laugh! Harsh screams sounding like the food of nightmares - then lingering into some bizarre yodelling textures only to end up with a hair caught in the mouth - coughing, spitting and grinning. Seriously though, this album is also very beautiful. Some of it is achingly ethereal with its mumbling screeching guitars that wander about in mid air. The long drawn out piece called Seldon In Memoriam is almost ambient, and to an electronic initiated like myself - that is certainly interesting. Still it sounds like a cartoon run amok in the studio of Tangerine Dream anno 1972 with creepy soundscapes and flickering marimba noises, a guy singing in the shower and a stagnant shaman like feel to the organs, as if these guys were trying to conjure up the god of insignificance. It is a snapshot of a crazed out band trying to do their very best not to fall in, obey and take orders. It ends in the most wonderful evil guitar riffing and drum assault - sounding like the whole of the studio suddenly got flipped over on one side, - breathing its last breaths and finally silently ebbing out in an eerie type of electronically infused epilogue.

This will almost certainly not be for everyone, and if you are one of those who think that Frank Zappa on occasion gets a bit too experimental and weird, then you should probably stay away from this outing. If you however think of Henry Cow and others that veered into the more abrasive and shapeshifting forms of music - those from the RIO movement that pushed the envelope and ran with the zebras - then you are most likely going to love this album just as much as I do. It's bizarre, off, beautifully entrancing, cartoonish, gritty, fun like hell, cheery, evil, schizophrenic, waltzing, folky, angular, heavy, corny, electronic, staccato, jump-rope like and far more things than I could ever possibly hope to attach to it. The fact of the matter is, that I adore it like Monty Python - not because I understand it, but because I'm able to flow with it - get with it like a human transformation of the river raft.

Zamla Mammaz Manna - 1978 - Schlagerns Mystik

Zamla Mammaz Manna
Schlagerns Mystik

01. At Ragunda (1:37)
02. Seasonsong (3:48)
03. Proffesion is the Amateur's Glue (2:20)
04. Buttonless (2:15)
05. Not Margareta (3:47)
06. Little Karin (4:15)
07. Asphaltsong (1:52)
08. Joosan Lost (0:25)
09. The Fate (17:00)

- Hans Bruniusson / drums, xylophone, chimes, vibraphone, song
- Eino Haapala / electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vibraphone, song
- Lars Hollmer / electric piano, Korg polyphonic, Hohner-symphonic grand piano, accordion, song
- Lars Krantz / electric bass, double-bass, acoustic guitar, song

 A masterpiece of progressive music? In my world - yes, definitely!

Circus music? Child songs? Crazy screaming? High-pitched helium voices? Glockenspiel and xylophone all over? WTF!? I love it! :D And what's even crazier, is that it's actually quite pretty music! What makes it stick to the 70's prog thing is occasional odd rhythms, some very cool synthesizers and sometimes a little advanced drumming. You know, if I should analyze the music of Zamla (or Samla, really), I would use weeks, least! I can't see how anything could be more prog than this, especially not if you're like me - connecting the "prog feeling" to the, in my opinion, wonderful "WTF!? feeling". :D

Anyway, I will try to make a short, objective analysis of this album: What you hear on this album, is influences of many styles. The classic prog is there, but it's also Swedish folk, a little jazz, latin american and some electronica, I believe. To really classify it in any of the mentioned genres is a lot harder, but I guess you could call it progressive or psychedelic, at least. :P A wide array of instruments is used, and no instrument is really overused here. There's drums, bass and guitar, yes, but then comes the strange piano, the xylophones, the glockenspiel (or is it called metalophone?), a small pipe organ (the resemblance to circus music is striking), many different kinds of percussion instruments like an old till of some kind (or is it a type writer?) ++

What I almost forgot mentioning, believing that I was finishing the last line of this review, is that the music is actually quite pretty! Just listen to the refrain on Liten Karin (or Little Karin in English), or the theme on Ödet (the Fate) or Joosan Lost ... it's all really cute and at the same time extremely dramatic and filled with passion.

Anyway, if you're tired of music all sounding the same, then this REALLY is the album for you. As for this album compared to the other Samla albums... Personally, I prefer this one. I don't know what it is, but I think it's something about the sound quality isn't really doing justice to the Samla sound before the year this album was released. And the earlier albums is also a little too "serious" for me... You know, it's not that they're not serious in that way, but they're really playing around, if you know what I mean - and I love it!

I believe this album is a +++ in anyone's "prog collection", or whatever you call your collection of music... Go buy!

Ramlösa Kvällar - 1978 - Nights Without Frames

Ramlösa Kvällar 
Nights Without Frames

01. Sega (5:43)
02. Magnusladulåten (6:00)
03. Bogdan dansar (6:49)
04. Castaneda (4:36)
05. Vallåten (7:09)
06. Den maskulina mystiken (3:28)
07. Idé och lärdomshistorien (1:30)
08. Åreskutan (3:22)
09. Sista mars (4:17)
10. Estem (4:28)
11. Ramlösa blues (3:20)

- Coste Apetréa / guitars, bouzouki
- Lars Hollmer / accordion, bassaccordion
- Kalle Eriksson / trumpet, flute
- Ulf "Ärtan" Wallander / saxophones, minor sounds, maraccas
- Bill Öhrström / congas, darbukas, pletas, harmonica, percussion

Ramlösa Kvällar formed after Samla Mammas Manna's short break in 1976 by Lars Hollmer (accordion) and Coste Apetrea (guitar, bouzouki) together with Ulf Wallander (sax, maracas)(later member of THE FLOWER KINGS), Kalle Eriksson (trumpet, flute) and Bill Öhrström (percussion). They play acoustic and instrumental music very much influenced by eastern-european folkmusic, with both covers and own-written material. Their debut album is mostly in that style and is a good, but non-essential RIO/Folk album. Fans of Samla should check it out though.

"Ramlösa kvällar" features five talanted musicians: Coste Apetrea (Samla Mammas Manna and solo artist), Kalle Eriksson (Nya Ljudbolaget, Samla Mammas Manna, von Zamla, Lars Hollmer), Lars Hollmer (Samla Mammas Manna and solo artist), Ulf Ärtan Wallander (Samla Mammas Manna, Arbete & Fritid, Nya Ljudbolaget, Flower Kings) and Bill Öhrström (Mikael Ramel and more). As you see most of them have earlier played in/with Samla mammas manna but now there is totally different music. This is a collection of live recordings and it was released in 1978 on Silence records.

As all prog records this is an interesting record to review but perhaps this music is thought to be danced to. This is mostly some form of ethnic progressive folk with inspiration from Greece and eastern Europe. Glimps of Swedish folk can also be heard. Well, this is well performed material, the band is very coherent. Unfortunately the best song "Castañeda" has bad audio standard. That is a song related to Samla mammas mannas music. It has good blowers and an advanced melody. "Sista mars" is another highligth with a beautiful swedish folk feeling and a dreaming trumpet. Also the short jazzy "Idé och lärdomshistorien" is interesting. Otherwise there is nice world music, perfect for a nice party or someone who's up for dance. They wrote that this is dance music on their cover so why don't you find a partner and take a dance?

Samla Mammas Manna - 2002 - Dear Mamma

Samla Mammas Manna 
Dear Mamma

01. Introduction (2:18)
02. Frestelsens Café (11:20)
03. Ooaajji - Ohdadaididadaidi (4:04)
04. Långt Ner I Ett Kaninhål (3:42)
05. Dear Mamma Pt 1 (3:45)
06. Ingenting (4:06)
07. Första Ikarien (8:13)
08. Dear Mamma Pt 2 (2:29)
09. Andra Ikarien (3:12)
10. Mjölk (1:13)
11. Tredje Ikarien (5:35)
12. Fredmans Session 1 (With Ruins) (3:46)
13. Fredmans Session 2 (With Ruins) (19:35)

- Coste Apetrea / guitar, bouzouki, veena, voice
- Tatsuya Yoshida / drums, percussion, voice
- Lars Hollmer / keyboards, accordion, melodica, voice
- Lars Krantz / bass, voice

From the beginning "Introduction" is one of the weirdest tracks I ever heard, incredibly cacophonic (but interesting), weird sounds and very little melodies, but still the "Je ne sais quoi" keeps the listener's interest, even if you are used to more melodically music.

I never thought I would say this but "Frestelsens Café", an incredibly weird song with almost tribal rhythms mixed with incredibly complex cacophonies and experimental to the maximum, sounded excellent to a person used to pristine Symphonic. There's some kid of magic in the sound that makes me love the track.

Never a name was better selected than "ooaajjii / ohdadaididadaidi", the first half is only a mixture of strange sounds (with percussion as background) that sound more or less than the first word of the title. The second half is more adventurous, they include conversation and funny sounds mixed with pieces of music no longer than a few seconds, a dramatic finale adds something pleasant o the song

"Langt ner I ett Kaninhal" is simply too bizarre for me sounds, babbling and at the end each and then, even a Venezuelan typical song with a dose of extra weirdness. Not my cup of tea.

"Dear Mamma Pt 1" is even more strange, the only melody I recognize is the soundtrack of the 60's TV version of Batman all created with vocals, then they loose it with incredibly strange yodeling but still in the background, some dramatic and intense melodies appear covered by theatrical screams.

"Ingenting" starts as a very unusual Jazz track, the drumming is outstanding and the melody reminds me of those 70's and 80's TV police soundtracks with a more naïve sound, don't know why but I like it.

"Forsta Ikarien" really blows my brains, I just can't describe what's happening here, you have to listen it to believe, nothing has musical sense but at the same time makes sense in this context, I don't dare to say if it's good or bad, it depends in the listener.

"Dear Mamma pt. 2" is stranger than pt 1 (If this is possible), not even Thijs Van Leer dared to make such weird sounds, it's almost a joke, a reason more to make me not understand why THE BONZO DOG DOO DAH BAND is not here, they simply hit the piano and in general all the instruments with no coherence, at.

I reached the point where the incredibly bizarre "Andra Ikarien" sounds normal, there is a strong and dramatic basic melody created with "God knows" what instruments, but it's fantastic and addictive.

"Jolk" starts with an almost cavern men shouts and all the song is basically vocal, withh grunts laughs and sounds that I can only dare to describe as a conversation between Neanderthals and a bit of comedy. I believe this time they went too far.

"Tredje Ikarien" has a very interesting but simple melody, if I dare to compare it with something I would say that it would be perfect for a soundtrack of a 1930's terror movie with Abbott & Costello, only around the middle they get interesting, but without leaving behind that tragicomic atmosphere.

"Fredmans Session 1" and "Fredmans session 2" are a weird way of closing a weird album, some melodies but a lot of experimentation.

After writing this, I know why this album has been rated but never reviewed, it's incredibly hard to describe what is happening in the album or what passed in the head of the musicians,

Samla Mammas Manna - 1999 - Kaka

Samla Mammas Manna

01. Stämma Lite (0:29)
02. Lyckliga Titanic (5:12)
03. Oh Sa Masalana Jämfört Med Alman River (2:03)
04. Första Ikarien (6:39)
05. Reptilgärna (2:16)
06. Satori (3:28)
07. Vegetariskt Impro, Svar Direkt (2:38)
08. Frestelsens Cafe (8:14)
09. Tung Krupa Tejpraga Tra La La (2:36)
10. Andra Ikarien (3:33)
11. Även Oss Far Tiden Aldras Spasmodskij / Engelbert Humperdinck Blues (5:12)
12. Hatman (2:28)
13. Tredje Ikarien (5:30)
14. OQ (0:19)

- Coste Apetrea / guitar, bouzouki, vocals
- Hans Bruniusson / drums, percussion, marimba, vocals
- Lars Hollmer / keyboards, accordion, melodica, vocals
- Lars Krantz / bass, vocals

All the four members of the classic Samla lineup reunited in 1990 for a one-off gig in celebration of Hasse Bruniusson's 40th birthday but then decided to carry on their live collaboration throughout the '90s. Kaka was released towards the end of the band's reunion since Bruniusson left the band that same year. Kaka is basically a compilation of material that has been in Samla's repertoire for quite some time mixed together with a few live recordings from their performances in the '90s. This description isn't all that appealing, but the final result can easily be considered one of their best albums!

Since I originally had my reservations about this release I decided to initially borrow the album. Only a few spins later it became very clear that I would need a CD copy of my own! This release is everything a Samla fan can dream of from the band. I guess that the easiest way to describe this release would be by calling it a semi-concept album that begins with the band tuning their instruments for a fictional gig and then goes into one of their craziest live performances yet. We also get an English speaking commentator introducing the different sections of the performance in a rather sarcastic fashion.

Even though the fictive live gig is one of the most overused prog clichés, that began with the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Kaka is one of those instances where the whole idea works rather nicely considering the wide array of compositions that are featured on the album. Many of the tunes pay a direct or indirect homage to the band's past. The most clear example of this can be heard on Satori which is pretty much a new take on Släde Till Sator from the band's debut album. We also get to hear a few familiar melodies integrated into the new material which makes it a great treat to all the fans.

I rarely get the chance to recommend a relatively recent album from a prominent '70s act as one of their best achievements but this is definitely the case with Kaka. This album has everything that most of the fans could expect from Samla. Unexperienced listeners might not catch all of the inside jokes but will get an excellent retrospective of the band's work that will surely grow on them even more once they go back and visit the band's '70s output. Simply put, a great album for everyone!

Samla Mammas Manna - 1988 - Ur Sync

Samla Mammas Manna
Ur Sync

01. Den Ovala Metern (Live Improvisation, 1976) (24:34)

- Eino Haapala / guitar
- Hasse Bruniusson / drums
- Per Nordin / keyboards

Only 100 Copies made. Extreamly Rare Casette

Samla Mammas Manna - 1976 - Snorungarnas Symfoni

Samla Mammas Manna 
Snorungarnas Symfoni

01. Första satsen (11:46)
02. Andra satsen (5:39)
03. Tredje satsen (7:46)
04. Fjärde satsen (8:43)

- Coste Apetrea / acoustic & electric guitars, balalaika
- Hans Bruniusson / drums, percussion
- Kalle Eriksson / trumpet
- Lars Hollmer / keyboards
- Lars Krantz / bass
- Ärtan wallander / saxophone

Written by American born Greg Allan Fitzpatrick for SMM to record, this is the last and maybe one of the most popular records of the bands classic line-up. It's a "symphony" split up in four movements and in total 33 minutes long, the first movement being the longest part of eleven minutes long. A bit short at a first glance but it's actually a perfect length. It's half an hour of happy music to make your day!

SMM plays a lot of styles on this one, like Funk, Jazz and Symphonic Prog. Most of the music is variations on a theme, sometimes played loud and sometimes sounding rather basic. On this album SMM makes use of field recordings, a lot of percussion and two guest musicians are employed on trumpet and saxophone.

Production-wise this is a quite good recording, especially when compared to other Swedish Prog records of the time which often has a somewhat unclean production. It's an even affair too. No part is particularly better or worse than the album as a whole. A solid four stars may fit.

It also sports a lovely sleeve cover (Done by Maria Persson.) of a fantasy town whish looks to be based on pre-60s small Swedish towns.

Samla Mammas Manna - 1974 - Klossa Knapitatet

Samla Mammas Manna 
Klossa Knapitatet

01. Ingenting (2:09)
02. Liten dialektik (10:10)
03. Sucken (1:14)
04. Långt ner i ett kannihål (liten tuva stjälper ofta stort lass) (4:13)
05. Kom lite närmare (1:30)
06. Musmjölkningmaskinen (6:36)
07. Influenser (6:58)
08. Klossa Knapitatet (1:23)
09. Ramlösa kvällar (5:30)

- Coste Apetrea / acoustic & electric guitars, backing vocals
- Hasse Bruniusson / drums, backing vocals
- Lasse Hollmer / piano, accordion, yodelling, vocals
- Lasse Krants / bass, backing vocals
- Brynn Settels / accordion (8)

Samla Mammas Manna's third album "Klossa Kanapitatet" finds them exploring their extravagant yet classy jazz oriented avant-garde prog a bit further than its brilliant predecessor "Maltid". The show is going on; here the listener will continue to find that bizarre mixture of jazz rock, Northern and Eastern European folk, circus music, dadaist absurdity (yodeling, falsettos, wicked funny twists), a mixture accomplished with both fluidity and musical genius. As always, keyboardist Lasse Hollmer acts as the leader of the instrumental approach with his piano melodies and chords, and some added touches on accordion, while guitarist Coste Apetrea displays his finesse from his lieutenant's position; meanwhile, the rhythm section lays a properly volatile foundation for their partners, when not collaborating on the enhancement of the melodic/harmonic side of the repertoire. Whenever the latter happens, it just seems so incredible how the band can sound so chaotically free and cleverly ordained at the same time, during a specific complex passage. Well, SMM is most certainly a particular pinnacle (yet to be discovered and appreciated by prog heads all over the world) in the history of prog. The 2-minute opener 'Ingenting' starts folkish and ends as a merry-go-round waltz (claps, whistling and humming included), only to be segued into 'Liten Dialektik', an amazing jazz driven piece that goes places on the basis of successive diverse musical motifs. 10 minutes and 10 seconds of pure prog genius. After such an impressive track, it would be hard for anyone to keep the listener's attention with the same degree of awe and amusement. anyone but the SMM, who then offers 'Sucken', a cryptic, brief excursion towards the low tones of acoustic guitar and piano, segued into the half- polka half-jazz 'Lang ner i ett Kaninhal'. And once again, for the third time in a row, a brief piece ('Kom lit narmare', actually more a comic gag than a proper track) is segued into a high-spirited jazz number with some combined nuances of rock'n'roll and ragtime somewhere in the middle ('Musmjiolkningmaskinen'). The fun never ends, indeed. The intro motif of 'Influenser' comprises the most dadaist passages and the most dissonant chord progressions in the album - enjoyable only by those who are already embedded with the spirit of SMM's music. It also contains some of the best soling by Apetrea. The title track is actually an accordion solo performed by guest Bryn Settels: the street sounds in the background create an intimate ambience, something that has actually been there all around. I mean, the experience of listening to this records makes you feel like you are part of a collective clever joke in a silly party. The closure 'Ramlösa Kvällar' shows the band at their most meditative: yes, they can get serious too, but of course, not without a touch of weirdness. The marching tempo of the final jazzy motif works as a most effective ending for a real Scandinavian musical gem, a prog masterpice, indeed.

Samla Mammas Manna - 1973 - Maltid

Samla Mammas Manna

01. Dundrets fröjder (10:43)
02. Oförutsedd f¢rlossning (3:10)
03. Den återupplivade låten (5:53)
04. Folkvisa i morse (2:07)
05. Syster system (2:27)
06. Tärningen (3:33)
07. Svackorpoängen (3:11)
08. Minareten (8:21)
09. Værelseds tilbud (2:26)

Bonus tracks on CD:
10. Minareten II
11. Circus apparatha
12. Probably the probably

- Coste Apetrea / guitars, vocals (except song 11)
- Hasse Bruniusson / drums, percussion, backing vocals, glass
- Lars Hollmer / acoustic & electric pianos, vocals
- Lasse Krants / bass, vocals
- Henrik Öberg / congas (11)

Second album from one of Sweden's craziest yet most enduring and most important band, Maltid is their most stunning album ever, no matter under which name the band will record. Some three years after their debut, SMM lost percussionist Oberg, but gained guitarist Coaste Apetrea, but this didn't alter much their direction, even if there were obvious sonic changes. Unlike its predecessor's and its chicken shack, Maltid was recorded in a real studio during the fall 73 and received a strange third-age picnic artwork (I think Maltid is meal time), which doesn't seem to be related to the tracks, at least not at first glance.

Starting out on some very obtuse bowels sounds (well, sorta anyway ;o), the quartet attacks their second opus on the almost 11-mins Dundrets Frojder, a constantly evolving track with some crazy percussions, weird vocals astounding overall musicianship and a Zappa-esque mastery and humour, but SMM has their own distinct sound. There is no way you could mistake it for Francesco, but it is damn well inspired, but never copied, as SMM is really giving priority to the instruments, as opposed to Frank's often too wordy musical scheme. SMM's vocals are often weird but actually closer to Focus than Zappa. Further down the album we have some really superb tracks like Oforutsed Folossning, some more experimental or dissonant Aterupplivate Laten, the burlesque and wordy Svackorpoangen and the slightly ethnic sounding Minaretten (with some incredible drumming) etc.. The mood always remain positive, humorous, joyous, even festive, that Maltid is actually fairly accessible despite its complexity, and I dare say that more than one prog-refractive should actually like this album, despite its left hand oddness.

This album comes with three bonus tracks, two of them from this same 73 session, and Circus Apparatha from the chicken shack sessions and the debut album. One of the tracks Minaretten 2 is absolutely vocally bonkers and it may introduce a certain reject reaction, but manages to blend in enough with the album's overall mass of work. Blending much better in (although you can hear the major production difference between the shack and the studio) is Circus Apparatha, while unlike the Minaretten 2 track, the final Probably should've made the original cut.

Knowing that SMM is one of the six original groups that will found the RIO movement in 77, they are the second oldest group (Stormy Six started recording in 69 but ahead of Henry Cow) and that by then, they'll have 4 albums, including this fantastic baby and its upcoming little sister Klossa Kuapitatet as pure Chef D'Oeuvre under their belt. This album can only be taken as a salutary musical slap in the face, no less, and assuredly the most important album out of Scandinavia. Well don't stand there, run for it.

Samla Mammas Manna - 1971 - Samla Mammas Manna

Samla Mammas Manna
Samla Mammas Manna

01. Circus apparatha (6:02)
02. Pausus (0:18)
03. Vidgat läge (3:15)
04. Släde till satori (3:24 + 0:52)
05. Schekina (2:51)
06. Uvertyr till häst (2:00 + 0:49)
07. Flickan i skogen (2:20)
08. Manna jamma (5:53)
09. At-one-ment (4:20)
10. Skrik från Embassy-live (2:29)
11. Fittravisan (0:59)
12. E`pop tai (4:09)

- Hasse Bruniusson / drums, vocals
- Lasse Hollmer / organ, piano, vocals
- Lasse Krantz / bass
- Bebben Öberg / congas, percussion

"Instrumental music with vocal addition at its best! A bastard meeting between some musical individualists resulted in a series of records that stunned the world. High quality performance combined with musical integrity gives you a unique amount of satisfaction."

They were, at the end of the Seventies and in the Eighties, the Swedish representative of the collective Rock In Opposition founded by Chris CUTLER. I can tell you that their music is a blend of mostly instrumental 70's progressive rock, Scandinavian folk, jazz-fusion, avant-garde, RIO (Rock In Opposition) and World Music. The vocals in Swedish, the use of accordion, handbells, marimbas and percussions of all kinds gives a very personal touch to this music.

As was popular at the time, the germ of the SMM sound came from adapting traditional Scandinavian folk themes into modern music. After, there followed an intensive period of jam sessions, trying out all sorts of ideas, with unlikely combinations of folk, rock and jazz structures. "Klossa Knapitatet" (1974) expanded on their improvisational side, and maybe their best. It's a FUN album! The legacy of "Snorungarnas Symfoni" was the end of a phase, and was also where SMM history became complicated. Now the long awaited reunion on album for SMM is finally here. "Kaka" marks the return of the original line-up in 1999. While very good, the band's early energy and creativeness is hard to recreate some 23 years later. If you haven't heard them before, this album is a perfect starter. Highly recommended!

SMM's debut release is a charming, whimsical album. The production values leave a bit to be desired, but it kinda adds to the naivety and innocence of this wonderful bit of creativity. Opening with a quirky electric-piano riff, 'Circus Apparatha' indeed sounds like a carnival - humourous riffs, vocals and silly voices, care-free organ and e-piano playing, with a competent rhythm section - it really gets this album off to a great, unique start. Very hard to actually describe this music, perhaps some of the more jazzy e-piano dominated material by The Doors, with a hint of R.I.O. but still quite different. Their focus on truly challenging R.I.O. will eventually become more apparent over the course of the next few releases. The bulk of the album is instrumental, and the sound and instrumentation consistent throughout. There are some brief, but beautiful e-piano interludes at certain points, and there is a loose, jammy vibe to be heard on most tracks. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, many tempo changes and tasteful progressions abound, always keeping things interesting. I've listened to this lots of times since I got the LP and I still discover something new each time.