VA - Rokstenen - A Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's (2008)

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Title: Rokstenen - A Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's
Year Of Release: 2008
Label: Musea
Genre: Symphonic Rock, Prog Rock, Jazz-Rock
Quality: WAW (image+.cue,log,scans)
Total Time: 3:54:28
Total Size: 2,3 Gb

In 1992 our small Prog World, then in the throes of rebirth, saw the release of a series of Swedish albums on the record market who were destined to leave an indelible mark even for years to come. Thus terms such as 'Swedish scene', 'Nordic' or 'Scandinavian Prog' and so on became common parlance. All of you who are now reading these notes will have certainly understood what I'm talking about. I am specifically referring to Landberk's 'Lonely Land' released as an English version on the Laser's Edge label, and also to Anglagird's 'Hybris' pressed by Mellotronen, a record shop based right in the centre of Stockholm. During those years, Mellotronen begun it's activity as a small record label and quickly became a point of reference for Swedish Prog. A few months later 'Vemod', Anekdoten's debut, completed the triad of founders of this new scene. The new Swedish groups, all somehow connected to each other, recuperate sounds from the past and make ample usage of vintage instruments like the Mellotron thus delighting Prog fans with the sound mixture of local folk references with familiar British made styles. These bands opened the road for a myriad of new Scandinavian bands but also gave thrust to the search, re-pressing and revaluation of past productions.

This collection has the special task of wishing to attract new generations of listeners towards some big names of the past through a re-visitation of historical tracks. Whilst there is no doubt that the new wave of Scandinavian Prog is amply known and appreciated, one cannot say the same thing about of the founding fathers of the Swedish scene who in the 1970s laid the foundations of the current movement, commonly known in their homeland as 'Progg'.

But what is Progg? Progg is certainly not a well defined genre but more of a general representation of a cultural movement, blossomed in Sweden during the 1970s, which wasn’t limited to just the musical aspect but who actively embraced different art forms and various cultural, social and political aspects. Musically speaking, we can only find a partial harmony of ideas with British Prog as the Swedish movement decidedly sought to distance itself from the British by keeping the major labels at bay and also by refuting forms of capitalism linked to music marketing. The covers of 'Musikens Makt' ('the power of music'), a magazine seen as the organ of the movement, are in this way quite indicative as they often portray caricatures symbolising the suffocatingly opulent Majors who are hell bent on manipulating the musical market and the public's taste. The musicians who operated from small labels all promoting the new revolutionary musical ideas, lampooned them too quite mercilessly. This movement undoubtedly had symphonic bands and records with complex scores but in the Progg cauldron one can find folk, psychedelic, singer-songwriter, hard rock, fusion groups and even productions stylistically closer to punk (although this movement has nothing to do with punk!). In fact, the symphonic groups are numerically the least represented maybe precisely because within a movement with such strong sodo-cuttural connotations, there was a tendency towards giving special importance to the political message contained in the lyrics. We thus find inside Progg not only groups stressing the political struggle aspect who often display a rough and ready style but also groups who favour the musical aspect and who are keen to deploy refined technical skill in order to realise complex and a well structured compositions. In this instance their spirit is closer to what we nowadays consider to be Prog. This compilation mainly seeks to represent the groups who opted for the latter musical approach but we can also find excursions in other less conventional territories for our listeners.

One significant event for the birth of Progg was undoubtedly the GSrdet Festival, an urban park in Stockholm where a big Progg festival took place on the 12 and 13 June 1970. This event can be considered as the Swedish Woodstock in which groups from all over the country took place. We can find amongst the organisers, Sten Bergman, the Atlantic Ocean organ player a group soon to change it's name to Flasket Brinner. On the 20 and 23 August of the same year, the second edition took place which Silence, a burgeoning independent label operating together with MNW as the main channel for publication of the groups within the movement, immortalized on a double vinyl. This green and red double vinyl called 'Festen pi Gardet' (never reissued and not easy to track down) is a true symbol of Progg and immortalizes the debut of several artists represented on this compilation such as Sarnia Mannas Manna, Handgjort and the aforementioned Flasket Brinner but also Turid, a splendid folk singer and Trad Gras Och Stenar, a group with a psychedelic matrix who represented a cornerstone of the movement.

Samla Mannas Manna must undoubtedly be counted as one of Progg’s most original groups. Born in Uppsala in 1969, thanks amongst others to Lars Hollmer, a prolific artist even in a solo capacity and who sadly prematurely passed away in December 2008. Their music is manic mixture of avant and symphonic rock, folk and fusion spiced with strong doses of eccentricity and humourism and laced with beautifully improvised moments. From this collection we can listen to 'Ingenting' a track opening their third studio album, 1973’s ’Klossa Knapitatet’ which effectively sums up albeit in reduced minutes all these characteristics. The piece is interpreted by TkingDkeys, a debuting and rather interesting avant garde-like Finnish group who take their inspiration from Samla. Generally speaking, Sarnia's musical production with the passing of time shows a Progressive heightening of the avant garde elements, becoming thus more abstract and exasperated to then prefer in following incarnations of the band forms of improvisation. The group had this sort of attitude largely during numerous live exhibitions, often totally improvised which made them into one of the most celebrated and appreciated live acts within Progg.After the fourth rather splendid and unusually symphonic 'Snorungarnas Symphony' published in 1974 together with the American composer Greg Fitzpatrick, guitarist Coste Apetrea leaves Samla and the band is reassembled the following year with the new name Zamla Mammaz Manna with Eino Haapala on guitar. In 1977 the group caught the attention of Chris Cutler, drummer with the English group Henry Cow, who founded with the Swedes and a whole series of other European groups like Etron Fou Leloublan, Univers Zero and Stormy Six, the association Rock In Opposition (R.I.O.) It proposed itself as an organ of promotion and propagation for the young, independent avant rock groups drawn up against the Major record companies plastic coated falsities. The association itself only had a brief life, but left in inheritance not so much its basic ideology but a sort of wide-bordered musical genre which somehow reflects the attitude of its founders; RIO in fact. Zamla Mammaz Manna terminates in 1980 leaving space for a new formation lead by Haapala and Holmer which under the name Von Zamla will go on to produce a couple of albums to then end their career in 1984.

Not all of the musicians launched at the Gardet Festival managed to have a long and prolific life. This is very much the case for Handgjort ('hand-made') who produced just the one LP in 1971, released by Silence, now one of the hardest finds in the Progg scene.

The piece proposed here, 'Worlds on Fire', originally the side В opener of the self titled LP and interpreted by the Swedish band In The Labyrinth, gives us an almost unique opportunity to get to know this group. Here, we find amongst other things that flautist Bjorn J:son Lindh was a member who then went on to make regular appearances in may other groups and projects of high artistic value; starting from Turid's albums, to Merit Hemmingson's, Pugh Rogefeldt, Atlantic Ocean and many others.

There's also the aforementioned Greg Fitzpatrick hiding under various pseudonyms who at the time didn't hold a Swedish work permit and yet managed to appear as Marcus Brandelius on sarod (an Indian string instrument), as Ali Khan (author of all the different covers of the first pressing which were all hand made) and as Goran Ahlin (producer). Musically the album is a

mixture of psychedelia and Indian raga performed with traditional acoustic instruments. The approach here is very mystical and sufFused. It carries with it all the magic of India which had only just been explored by the musicians during an extensive trip.

But the contamination with other countries' ethnic music isn4 exclusive of this band. We do have other examples within Progg amongst which I would like to mention the more recent Mynta, with the participation of Fazal Qureshi a great Indian tabla player. We also find a rather extravagant example of ethnic contamination in Sodra Bergens Balalaikor (the southern mountains' balalaikas), another band protagonist of the second edition of the Gardet Festival that proposed a re-visitation of Russian folk themes. These were performed by an orchestra of Balalaikas managed by Embrik Underdal, a musician who founded a school. Strange though it may be, but this orchestra was part of Progg.

Flasket Brinner ('Burning Flesh', here 'Flasket1 can also be translated as 'pork', hence their album covers showing burning pigs, but it's also slang for 'cash') evolved from Atlantic Ocean, one of the first Swedish Progg bands whose debut album 1970’s 'Tranquillity Bay’ is quite truly rare. The move between one and the other took place in just a couple of months, thus in June at the first edition of Gardet there was Atlantic Ocean but in August we find Flasket Brinner on stage. The new band had a totally new line-up with only the organist Sten Bergman from the previous one. All the other musicians chose to head towards different directions, so Greg Fitzpatrick founded, as we previously noted, Handgjort whilst Bjorn J:son Lindh and Jan Bandel, the drummer, went on to form Jason's Fleece with an American Jazz bass player.

Left to his own devices and with two pre-booked concerts to take care of, Sten Bergman took up the task of finding three other musicians and in the end managed to present a highly respectable new line-up with three guitars played by Bo Hansson, Kenny Hakansson and Bengt Dahlen.

There are only two official album releases in their discography plus a most beautiful compilation of previously unreleased tracks and radio sessions, published by Mellotronen in in 2003 to celebrate the band's reunion. Nevertheless, the band's importance is undoubted, not only because it had some of the most important musicians of the Progg scene but also because of the sheer quality and originality of the music produced. The self titled first album, never to this day reissued again, came out in March 1971 and contained a live recording of concert the group performed in Stockholm as the opening act for the Mothers of Invention and other live recordings in the studio.

The music is an explosive mix marrying Jazz, folk and psychedelia with beautiful organ parts played by the energetic Sten Bergman, whilst the virtuoso Bo Hansson only plays on one track, 'Bosses Lat'. But Sten Bergman soon left the group and the only person who could easily take his place for the second album was Bo Hansson. Here, we can listen to 'Jatten Feeling' from the 1972 double album called 'Flasket', half recorded in the studio and half recorded live and although they stopped producing albums, the group did remained for a very long time with highs and lows to then disband in 1981. Definitely one of the most important bands of that movement.

Bo Hansson's name is certainly known to fans, although not so much for the two albums made with Janne Carlsson the drummer between 1968 and 1969, even though Hansson and Karlsson's 'Monument' is one of the most beautiful Progg instrumental albums, and not even for his participation in Flasket Brinner, but really for the 'Sagan om ringen' album released in 1970 by Silence Records which was then re-released two years later under the title 'Lord of The Rings' by the celebrated Charisma label, of Genesis fame. As Progg productions go, this is undoubtedly the highest selling album, mainly thanks to the English label's ability to distribute it more widely. But its huge success must also be due to its enchanting melodies composed by Bo during a year and half which he spent in retreat in the archipelago around Stockholm reading Tolkien and writing music. The album truly deploys suggestive musical landscapes full of charming psychedelic shades of dark colours in its quest to depict the book's atmosphere. Here, the organ parts are exquisite, as is the contribution of two Flasket Brinner members, Gunnar Bergsten and Sten Bergman's on sax and flute respectively. Bo really managed to create a musical world entirely of his own, perfectly capable of charming a new generation of young listeners even after all these years. Proof of this can heard in tracks like 'The Black Riders', performed by the Swedes The Grand Trick or 'The Old Forest' reinterpreted by Anima Morte, another young Swedish group. Also to be recommended is the following and equally beautiful album: 1972's 'Ur Trollkarlens Hatt'. Charisma released the English version under the The Magician's Hat' title. Both titles have been subsequently reissued on CD.Ragnarok’s d6but, released by Silence in 1976 and reissued on CD by the same label in 1995, also depicts similar a similar atmosphere to Hansson's. 'Promenader' interpreted by the Finns Mist Season, leads us to rediscover a music made of simple, delicate and yet greatly evocative with flute and acoustic guitar. The band's history carries on to these days with various line-up changes and in fact their latest reunion only just took place in 2008. The first two albums undoubtedly remain the most beautiful and interesting: the aforementioned self titled debut and 1979's 'Fjarilar I Magen' ('Butterflies in the Stomach') from which emanates the track 'Var glad var dag’ interpreted by the Italians DAAL.

It can be said that Folk has an important role in Progg and that it can be found either as an element of contamination amidst different musical styles or as a composition’s main theme. In some cases we find real and proper re-propositions of traditional themes in a modern key. Here In fact we can see that there is a substantial presence in the repertoire of these Swedish groups of the most disparate new elaborations of gSnglat and polska. A beautiful example of a gangl£t (a word which in the Swedish tradition indicates a melody based on a march rhythm) revised in a Progg key can be found in the track 'G£ngl3t fran Ovanaker’ from 'Huwa!', a 1971 album by Merit Hemmingson published by EMI and here re proposed by the Swedes Bootcut. Merit has in fact released many albums and the best are the aforementioned 'Huwa!', the follow up 'Trollskog* from 1972 and then 1973's 'Bertagen'. In these works, Merit fuses traditional folk arias with Beat and Prog forms mainly thanks to his dark Hammond revising in bright shades classic melodies from the Swedish heritage with a final touch partly reminiscent of Procol Harum. But we also remember Kebnekaise a splinter group from Mecki Mark Men who takes its name from Sweden's highest mountain, as one of the bands that mainly drew inspiration from the folk tradition. There are in their repertoire several traditional tunes which were also interpreted by Merit Hemmingsson around the same time like 'Eklundapolska' for example which we find in the aforementioned 'Trollskog', and also in Kebnekaise's third album in a far rockier version. And then there's Arbete Och Fritid another group that was well into fusing traditional folk tunes with Jazz, psychedelic elements in a creative and original way. Particularly beautiful are the two seif-titled albums, released respectively in 1970 and 1973, and the second album as well, entitled 'Andra LP' ('Another LP') and published in 1971. Finally we would also like to mention, among the groups of nowadays, Grovjobb who melt folk to psychedelia with references to the Indian tradition which connected them to the aforementioned Handgjort.Kaipa are by far the most famous and celebrated band when it it comes to Swedish symphonic prog. They also represent some sort of a bridge between the past and the modem ny-progg as one of their members, the guitarist Roine Stott, founded the possibly most famous band of today: The Flower Kings. Furthermore, Kaipa's history continues to this day thanks to a series of new albums released with a new line-up and a somewhat renovated style still based on symphonic stylings though. It is not by coincidence that there are four of Kaipa's tracks in this compilation.

The group, founded by two ex members of San Michaels, Hans Lundin (keyboards) and Tomas Eriksson (bass) augmented by Ingemar Bergman (drums) and the just turned seventeen Roine Stolte debuted with this line up at 1974's Gardet festival and immediately shortened their original name from Ura Kaipa to just Kaipa. Looking to be signed up by a label, the group proposed an EP to Silence and MNW, but both gave a negative verdict. Their debut album, finally published by DECCA in 1975 truly truly represents the first example of a symphonic album produced in Sweden of a certain importance and this was due not just because of the sheer beauty of a music that fused British made symphonic elements with traditional folk motif, but also because of the high quality of the recording which led to a discreet number of sales exceeding the five thousand units.

The following album, 'Ingen nytt under solen', again released by DECCA in 1976, appears at once as more complex and elegant with beautiful orchestrations and a sunny, symphonic music very much akin to Genesis and Yes. Here we marvel at the stunning opening suite 'Skenet Bedrar' which occupies the whole of side A in all its twenty one minutes of duration. Again the lyrics, as always in Swedish, deal with complex political questions touching also the Vietnam war on a track like 'Korstag' (Crusade). The third album 'Solo' sees a change of personnel with Mats Lindberg taking Eriksson's place and the young Mats Lofgren coming in on vocals. The scores became simpler with quasi-pop tinges but still with plenty of good workmanship. Whilst a couple of albums from the eighties, 'Hander' and 'Nattdjurstid' are of negligible quality. In 2002 the group reformed around the historic nucleus of Stolt and Lundin by producing a couple of symphonic prog styled albums which only partly reflect the old masterpieces of the past. In this compilation there's 'Oceaner foder liv' from the debut album, interpreted by the English Willowglass, whilst the Venezuelan Richard Marichal tackles 'Fr£n den ena till den andra' a bonus track to be found in the CD re-release of the second album which in fact belonged to the recording sessions from the first album. Finally we get to a couple of tracks from 'Solo': 'Tajgan' performed by the Swedes Simon Says and the entertaining 'Den Skrattande grevinnan' interpreted by the Italians Keybridge. Good references to the very first Kaipa are also to be found in BISkulla's ('Witches') self titled album, published by Anette in 1975 and reissued by АРМ on CD in 2001. The sound here is an energetic and fascinating symphonic one with the guitar holding an important role with its richly melodic phrasings and the sumptuous Hammond organ. Here, we can also find beautiful references to the classics of English prog like Yes and Genesis materialising in a brilliant sound full of energy. Sadly, the band split up on the eve of the release of the album. Hannes Rustam and Tomas Olsson respectively on bass and drums will carry on their adventure with Text & Music, a band sadly inferior to the parent one. Three songs have been chosen from this album, one of which, 'Mars' here interpreted by the Argentinian Jinetes Negros, can only be found as a bonus track in APM's CD re-issue.

Atlas is another well appreciated symphonic band who only managed to release just the one album called 'Bla Vardag'. Released in 1979 by the Bellatrix label it represents one of the most beautiful Swedish Progg productions. The Italian band Revelation performs 'Bjomstorp' the closing track from the album thus making us appreciate and discover a refined and exquisitely symphonic music with ample references to Genesis whilst another Italian band, Vanilla Project, chose 'Ganglat', another of Blakulla's tracks. Then there's also 'P£ gatan' executed by Dutch band Edo. You also may wish to consider Mosaik's quite stunning self titled album. They were born after the Atlas split up and could be considered as a natural development from the latter. Dice, bom in 1973 and the authors of complex and articulate compositions, were another extremely well appreciated group. Their eponymous debut for years remained their one and only official release. Collectors are always on the look out for this, one of the rarest records, as just five hundred copies of this album were originally pressed by the Marilla label. In 1989 the Japanese label Belle Antique re-released it on CD and this was quickly followed, again on the same label, by the previously unreleased 'Four Riders of the Apocalypse', originally produced in 1977 as a demo. This album in all its four long instrumental tracks which constitute the four movements of a symphonic suite, here represented, is considered by many to be their masterpiece. A complex opus, performed with grit and skill, which owes many reference to the classics, English prog and their compatriots Kaipa too. But there's more as Belle Antique also released a Live CD with recordings from the 1977/78 period. This CD also includes a curious rarity: the only song released, but never published, by JetSet, the band originated from the ashes of Dice in late Seventies, a tune with a New Wave flavour mixed to reminiscences of the old band.

Life's self titled album, released in 1970 in two versions, Swedish and English, both extremely rare, has also strong symphonic references but at the same time tinged with a Hard Rock bent. The latter version destined for export had a short run of eight hundred copies which were actually never put on the market until Mellotronen released it on CD. The two editions are musically identical and only differ in the singing parts. It is thus quite a unique chance to be able to listen to Pseudo Sun's version of 'En av oss' ('One of Us') as it re-interprets it with its Swedish lyrics. Within the music we find charming piano parts, enchanting atmospheres and beautiful Crimsonic and Hendrix-like references. Sadly, this group too enjoyed an all too brief life span since it split up in 1972.

Moving on to the bands clearly inspired by Hard Rock, Trettio£riga Kriget (The Thirty Years War), born in 1970, do cover a rather important role. In essence their line up comprised Christer Akerberg on guitar, Dag Lindquist on drums and Mellotron, Robert Zima on guitar and vocals and Stefan Freddin on bass. The music is a ponderous onslaught full of rhythmic complexity in a Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Genesis vein with added touches of their compatriots Life. It's a rough sound and yet not lacking in more stretched out moments full of pathos specifically when the beautiful Mellotron parts are inserted. They released their debut on Epic in 1974 but 'Krigssang', published in 1975 by CBS, is considered by many as the band’s masterpiece mainly in relation to 'Krigssang II' ('War Song IT) a suite which occupies the whole of side B. The sound, here following a more melodic vein, is nevertheless vigorous and cutting. In 1977 the band somehow managed to tour England, getting a good review from Melody Maker, the famous music magazine. The following album, 'Hej P£ Er' ('Hey, guys'), published by Mistlur, a small independent label, is the band's most successful album and one which some see as the completion of a trilogy. Here we can listen to : 'Andra sidan' ('The Other Side') performed by the Venezuelans Echoes which bring up a more polished sound, albeit not without its valuable moments, than the one displayed by the band at the beginning. The Swedes Villebrad, who are very inspired by the Progg sounds of yesteryear, also pick 'Rockgift' a rather entertaining track from this album. In 1980 the band participates at the famous Roskilde festival in Denmark and the following year sees the release of their final album just before the split, when their name just became plain Kriget. This last production is sadly quite poor with its New Wave inflected party-sound. The group's more recent history is largely made of the publishing of previously unreleased tracks, live reunions and new albums ' even. Mellotronen in fact published in 2003 'Elden Av Ar’ ('The Fire of Years'), a sort of autobiographical concept centred on the band's career which was well received by fans and critics alike. Finally, in 2007 Mellotronen also published (they also re-issued almost all of their previous releases) the stunning 'I bbrjan och slutet' ('At the Beginning and at the End') which sees the return of one of Progg's most important groups.The rough and gloomy November, in part similar to Trettio£riga Kriget, also sported their Hard Rock Credentials. They formed in 1969 out of the ashes of Train, a band known to have had Snowy White as their guitarist who then went on to Thin Lizzy. Here too the line up is basic: Bjbrn Inge on drums, Christer Stalbrandt on bass, Jan Kling on flute and Richard Rolf on guitar. It's a portentous, acid, monolithic sound a la Mountain or Cream and the debut album, 'En Ny Tid Ar Нar', ('A New Time is Here'), published in 1970 by Sonet, comes across as being very in yer face. The Swedes Anja perform 'Everest' the opening track from this very album. November had a very large following and it was them who launched the new trend of singing in Swedish thus conquering many fans and imitators even in England. '2:a November' their second album published in 1971 again by Sonet was produced by Jojje Wadenius the Made in Sweden guitarist. From this album we are able to hear 'Ganska Langt Fran Sergei' ('Very far away from Sergei') interpreted by the Swedes Magnolia. The group disbanded in 1976 after the completion of the third album ’6:e November*. Note also that Christer St£lbrandt will then go on to form Saga, an interesting group with symphonic connotations.

A panoramic glance at the whole Swedish scene in the 1970s will also reveal the high number of bands, all of great quality, who explored Jazz and Fusion with added rock and some symphonic contaminations. Unfortunately, as we write, many of these groups have not been re-released despite the fact that their original recordings had indeed been issued by major labels. Thus we are left with a myriad of high quality albums still left in a drawer, some of which have become quite hard to find in their original vinyl format. One of these is for example George 'Jojje' Wadenius' Solar Plexus 1972 debut. A double LP containing a twenty three minute long suite, entitled 'Concerto Grosso’, crammed full of Jazz and symphonic influences. But there are many other excellent bands that we could mention; Kornet who between 1975 and 1979 released three very good LPs, the more eclectic and symphonic Splash, authors of three more excellent albums, Janne Schaffer’s Pop Workshop who produced in the 1973/74 two truly extraordinary albums or Egba who released a whole series of albums with Latin and African influences even... and so the list goes on. We find in fact a gorgeous version of Egba's very own 'Apkalops', a tune from 'Jungle Jam', their 2nd album from 1976, in this compilation. It's a lively Latin tinged prog fusion track, here interpreted by Wasa Express, another veteran band from the Progg scene, active since 1977. We can also count Made in Sweden as one of the most popular bands in Sweden. Founded by the guitarist Jojje Wadenius in 1968 together with Bo HSggstrbm (bass, guitar and Mellotron), drummer Tommy Borgudd and released, under the Sonet moniker, their debut 'Made in Sweden (With Love)' the same year, the recording of which taking just a mere six hours with sales topping the 10,000 mark. Musically speaking, we have a rough and ready Hard Blues with outbreaks of Jazz and psychedelia, bestridden by Jojje's solo guitar. A still very active artist, as a musician and producer, he has enjoyed numerous collaborations over the years, starting with compatriots like Pugh Rogefeldt, November, Coste Apetrea to then going on to international names Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Donald Fagen and many others. The same trio released two other studio albums: 1969's 'Snakes in a Hole' and 1970's ’Made in England’ splitting up immediately after the release of a splendid live album called ’Live at Golden Circle’. In 1972 Jojje and Tommy Borgudd formed the aforementioned Solar Plexus and contributed to the production of their marvellous debut LP. Later, this Swedish guitarist moved to the States where he became a member of the famous Blood Sweat and Tears. But the history of Made in Sweden doesn't end here. One final album, 1976's 'Where do we Begin’ is released by Polydor with a new line up that sees the arrival of the Finnish virtuoso Pekka Pohjola on bass, Pop Workshop's Wlodek Gulgowski on keyboards with Wadenius still at the helm on guitar. The compilation, as a matter of fact, allows us to savour one sophisticated composition, taken from this album in all its symphonic contaminations, here performed by Beardfish, a valid band from the current ny-progg scene.

As we have seen, many musical trends explored by the Progg movement are always full of contaminations, forever smashing through the fragile borders separating musical genres. One, less beaten track, is that of electronica. In this context, Algarnas Tradg£rd's 1972 debut (published by Silence who spotted them at GSrdet the year before) comes across as a unique and distinguished opus, commencing with the title 'Framtiden Ar Ett Svavande Skepp Fdrankrat I Forntiden' (’The Future is a Floating Ship Anchored in the Past'). The music refers back to Tangerine Dream but also incorporates Nordic folk elements, often depicting disquieting and unlikely scenarios with clear references to Trad Gras Och Stenar and Arbete Och Fritid and some other electronic contamination which ends up being diluted into the general background. The end result is so eclectic that it makes it impossible to classify in any way, as we can clearly understand from the Dutch Matthijs Herder's rendition of 'Tv£ timmar over tv£ Ы& berg men en gdk p£ vardera sida... om timmarna allts£ ’ ('Two hours on the blue mountains but there's a cuckoo on our sides... it's time to'). In 2001 a CD version was released of their second album from 1974, the year of their split up, but completed at a later stage. Here once again, a duo called Anna Sjalv Tredje formed by keyboard players Ingemar Ljungstrom and Mikael Boj6n, authors of just the one album, 1977's 'Tussilago Fanfara' released by Silence, regain a spectral
mood but also present characteristics more typically inherent to electronic and cosmic music. In 1984 Anna Sjalv Tredje collaborated with members of Algarnas TradgSrd on a couple of projects: 'Cosmic Overdose’ and Twice a Man'.

Ralph Lundsten is another great composer and experimenter who achieved a certain international notoriety. He started in the 1950s by making his own electronic musical instruments thus becoming a pioneer in this field. His music output is vast with well over sixty releases to his name mainly in the electronic field but also symphonies and film soundtracks. 'Olskog', released by EMI in 1970, is one of his most celebrated pieces, from this we can hear 'Cosmic Love' played by Darxtar, a well appreciated current Swedish Space-Rock outfit.

One final mention ought to be made about all those politically oriented protest groups, as Sweden was undoubtedly full of them, whose works truly belong to the Progg phenomenon. Although I think that none of our readers who don't happen to be Swedish would normally consider some of these typically singer-songwriter productions as pertaining to what we commonly consider to be progressive rock.

A group like the Swedes Moosequartet has chosen without hesitation to perform for this tribute to Swedish progressive rock a song by Fickteatem, a group born in 1968 as some sort of performing company made of three actors, three singers a director and a musician. But they weren't the only ones to mix music with theatre; others like Fria Teatern a politically inspired theatre group went down a similar path or Nationalteatem even, a free performing theatrical company where musical parts and on scene action became indivisible. Fickteatem's first album, released in 1968, only had a cappella vocals and some rudimentary instrumental backing. But the track proposed here, 'Vi Valde Inte Vdldet' ('We did not do Violence'), taken from 1971s 'Allt VSxer Till Det Hejdas' ('Everithing grows until it stops') is an altogether more complex one thanks also to some of the members out of Arbete Och Fritid. Unfortunately, for those of us who don't speak Swedish, it is nigh on impossible to appreciate some of these groups (I am referring both to the so called 'theatre groups' and the other protest artists) as they mainly rely on the strength of the lyrical content with pjokfeatern the music occupying a more scant, marginal role, often bordering on the downright insufficient in terms of quality of execution. Just to give you an idea of what a marginal role music played, just look a Nationalteatem with its six members out of which, just the one was a musician who found himself having to teach the others how to play music! The themes on the whole were about a whole range of issues: social, ecological, naturist, pacifist and feminist too and generally left leaning.

Finally, we round up by paying tribute to a person who was on of Progg's main reference points: Pugh Rogefeldt here honoured with three songs. His first album,' Ja, Da A Da' (released in 1969 by Metronome, the title is slang for 'Yes it is') is arguably the first rock album with lyrics in Swedish and is thought to be one of the most beautiful productions of the Swedish Rock scene ever.

Here, we can listen to The Divine Baze Orchestra, currently one of the most interesting ny-progg bands, performing an enchanting version of 'Нёг kommer natten' ('Here comes the night'). The music on the album is easily described as a quite elegant psychedelic hard rock. Original, innovative and yet good for a sing along but with complex parts performed by truly great musicians like Hansson & Karlsson's Janne Carlsson, then one of the most celebrated Jazz drummers, and Jojje Wadenius on bass and guitar. You too can discern how this piece clearly anticipated all the Progg productions yet to come and how it can still leave a lasting mark on some contemporary productions. The record was also released in the USA with Turid's English translation of the lyrics on the back cover. Then 'Gravmaskinen' ('Big Escavator') from 1974s 'Bolla Och Rulla', performed by The Moor, and 'Stockholm' from 1981s 'Het' album, played by Soniq Circus, complete the triad of songs.

I really do hope that this album will help our listeners to get on the same wavelength as this beautiful music scene from the past, as it is clear that contemporary bands who are still keeping our dreams alive and will continue to do so actually do sink their roots firmly into this land with their music. And it is a land which has been perfectly capable of representing a whole musical movement and a great cultural background at the same time. It was also the mirror for a decade full of dreams, ideologies and the most beautiful of utopias, where music wasn't just everything but a part of everything. A world that we can only admire in passing from afar with just a touch of envy, surprise or nostalgia even. To complete this foray, I do strongly recommend that you see 'Tilsammans' ('Together') a film made by Lukas Moodysson in 2000 as it presents an amusing and quite real insight of the Progg era with a soundtrack made of many of the aforementioned names.

Jessica Attene

"Translated in English by Charles Imperatori" References: (in Swedish)


CD 1:
1. The Samurai of Prog: Drottningholmsmusiken, Sats 1 (Blaakulla) (2:20)
2. Jinetes Negros: Mars (Blaakulla) (6:18)
3. Contrarian: Sirenernas Saang (Blaakulla) (6:11)
4. Simon Says: Tajgan (Kaipa) (7:02)
5. KBridge: Den Skrattande Grevinnan (Kaipa) (5:35)
6. Progchard: Fraan det Ena Till det Andra (Kaipa) (3:57)
7. Willowglass: Oceaner Foder Liv (Kaipa) (10:06)
8. E.D.O.: Paa Gata (Atlas) (8:09)
9. Revelation: Bjornstorp (Atlas) (6:04)
10. Beardfish: Pop Poem (Made in Sweden) (4:09)
11. Bootcut: Gaanglaat Fraan Ovanaaker (Merit Hemmingson) (2:45)
12. Anima Morte: Den Gamla Skogen (Bo Hansson) (3:10)
13. The Grand Trick: The Black Riders (Bo Hansson) (5:00)
14. Echoes: Andra Sidan (Trettioaariga Kriget) (5:47)

Time 76:33

CD 2:
1. Primo Intermezzo (2:41)
2. La Bocca della Verita: War (Dice) (11:39)
3. Kate: Disease (Dice) (8:20)
4. Karmic Jaggernaut: Greed (Dice) (7:51)
5. Blank Manuskript: Death (Dice) (11:05)
6. JetSet: Into the Mist (JetSet) (2:45)
7. TkingDkeys: Ingenting (Samla Mammas Manna) (2:40)
8. Villebraad: Rockgift (Trettioaariga Kriget) (2:59)
9. Soniq Circus: Stockholm (Pugh Rogefeldt) (4:45)
10. Magnolia: Ganska Laangt Fraan Sergel (November) (4:19)
11. Wasa Express: Apkalops (Egba) (6:23)
12. Mist Season: Promenader (Ragnarok) (7:02)
13. Vanilla Project: Gaanglaat (Atlas) (4:48)

Time: 77:17

CD 3:
1. Secondo Intermezzo (2:46)
2. Daal: Var Glad Var Dag (Ragnarok) (5:31)
3. Pseudo Sun: En av Oss (Life) (7:00)
4. Anja: Mount Everest (November) (4:55)
5. The Moor: Gravmaskinen (Pugh Rogenfeldt) (7:00)
6. The Divine Baze Orchestra: Har Kommer Natten (Pugh Rogenfeldt) (5:10)
7. Matthijs Herder: Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains... (Algarnas Tradgaard) (10:15)
8. Moosequartet: Vi Valde Inte Vaaldet (Fickteatern) (5:56)
9. Darxtar: Cosmic Love (Ralph Lundsten) (7:08)
10. Pensiero Nomade: Jatten Feeling (Flasket Brinner) (6:10)
11. In the Labyrinth: Worlds on Fire (Handgjort) (5:52)
12. Orient Squeezers: Odet (Zamla Mammaz Manna) (4:43)
13. Jerry Johansson and Dan Froberg: Kontinuerlig Drift (6:59)

VA - Tuonen Tytar - A Tribute To Finnish Progressive (2000)
VA - Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic (2003/2008)
VA - The Colossus of Rhodes - The Seventh Progressive Rock Wonder (2005)
VA - The 7 Samurai - The Ultimate Epic (2005)
VA - Odyssey The Greatest Tale (2005)
VA - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (2005)
VA - The Spaghetti Epic 2 - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (2007)
VA - Giallo! - One Suite for the Murderer (2008)
VA - The Spaghetti Epic 3 - The Great Silence (2008)
VA - Dante's Inferno - The Divine Comedy Part I (2008)