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Samla Mammas Manna - Måltid CD (album) cover

MÅLTID

Samla Mammas Manna

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.25 | 276 ratings

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ALotOfBottle
5 stars Samla Mammas Manna were a prominent act in the Rock In Opposition collective founded by Chris Cutler in the late 70's. Cutler's intention was to unify five groups from five different countries and create festivals aimed against capitalism and music industry. The first festival took place in The New London Theatre in London and the advertisement of the concert read "FIVE ROCK GROUPS THE RECORD COMPANIES DON'T WANT YOU TO HEAR." However, it was 1973 and the term of Rock In Opposition wasn't yet fully established. Two years after their self-titled debut album, Samla Mammas Manna released Måltid .

The music on Måltid blends influences ranging from as far as Canterbury scene to Swedish folk music. The group seems to be highly inspired by Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Their sound is comedic, circus-like, and quite eclectic. The influence of Gentle Giant is also visible in places. Despite that, Samla Mammas Manna have their own distinct sound and Måltid is generally considered one of its finest examples. The band's sound is definitely odd, but surprisingly pleasing, even at the first listen. The cover definitely looks peculiar, despite the fact that there is nothing really unusual or ambiguous about it.

Especially for this album, Samla Mammas Manna recruited a fusion guitarist Coste Apetrea, whose gentle touch plays an important role in the band's music. Despite Apertrea's outstanding solo parts, he does not seem to have an urge of being at the first plan with his guitar often playing a role of a rhythm instrument that lays down a simple groove and repeats it. Lars Hollmer, the band's keyboardist showcases his versatility, going from bebop-like and even classically-inspired piano touches to full-on fusion passages on Fender Rhodes. Hollmer also supplies the band with smooth Mellotron sounds, which bring Matching Mole to mind. As opposed to the band's previous work, he sadly does not play organ, which gave the band a rather interesting flavor. Some of the pieces include whacky high-pitched vocals, which sound a bit like the great late David Byron of Uriah Heep was fooling around. The rhythm section of Hasse Bruniusson on drums and Lasse Krants on bass guitar also does a fantastic job and perfectly keeping up with the dynamic aspect of the group's music.

Despite being classified as avant-prog, Samla Mammas Manna are rather careful with musical sophistication. Odd time signatures, a common element of Henry Cow's music, appear seldom while unusual harmonies, alterations, bitonality, and free form parts are quite uncommon. The group seems to put greater emphasis on the eccentric quality of their music, which indeed is quite entertaining. The songs are quite diverse, without giving an impression of musical inconsistency. "Minareten" puts the band put in the more rock-oriented scenario, which resolves into a jazzy jam, "Svackorpoangen" shows the group's traditional jazz sensibilities, while "Tarningen" has elements of Yes' music with a funky rhythm being put into a symphonic-inspired form.

All in all, Måltid is a very adventurous work characterized by musical intelligence, good sense of humor, and vigor. This will make a perfect addition to every progressive rock collection and is an essential Rock In Opposition album. Highly recommended, 4.5 stars!

ALotOfBottle | 5/5 |

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