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Älgarnas Trädgård - Framtiden Är Ett Svävande Skepp, Förankrat I Forntiden CD (album) cover


Älgarnas Trädgård


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.93 | 117 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD (Garden of the Elk) may very well have been the Swedish version of England's Comus when they emerged as one of the earliest freak folk infused psychedelic rock bands that in addition jumped into the progressive fueled rock arenas of the early 1970s. Having formed in Gothenburg in 1969, the band made its first appearance on Christmas day as Innerst Inne but changed the moniker the following year when the band played several local gigs and participated in the Gärdetfesten in medieval dress. All of this exposure caught the interest of the Stockholm based Silence Records who was jumping on the bandwagon of signing new bands that captured the psychedelic zeitgeist of the freak folk / prog rock era.

In 1972 the band released its first and only album (excluding archival releases), the long winded titled FRAMTIDEN ÄR ETT SVÄVANDE SKEPP, FÖRANKRAT I FORNTIDEN ("The Future is a Floating Ship Anchored in Antiquity"). Upon reading the track titles, it seems that there are more words on the album cover than there are in the entire album as this is mostly cosmic Krautish psychedelia with only the track "Möjligheternas Barn" (Children Of Possibilities) having any significant vocal contributions along with a few other examples and in this case only performed by the guest appearance of Margareta Söderberg who performs a haunting traditional Scandinavian folk song laced with drugged out sound effects and Pagan ritualistic overtones.

FRAMTIDEN ÄR ETT SVÄVANDE SKEPP, FÖRANKRAT I FORNTIDEN is a true cosmic journey into the farthest out trips set about in a bizarre amalgamation of styles. While the haunting string torture of the violin and viola set in a folk style bring Comus to mind, the compositions themselves are more a classically infused Olivier Messiaen influenced cosmic parade that borrows some of the guitar bombast of King Crimson along with tribal percussive drives as well as some of the very first primitive sampling and remixing that worked in tandem with neighboring Germany's Krautrock scene, most notably of Can. While psychedelically over the top and striving to break free from all known reality and Earthly gravitational pull, the folky elements belie the intent and keep this freak folk / psych rock experience from drifting to the dark side of the moon.

The opening track "Två Timmar Över Två Blå Berg Med En Gök På Vardera Sidan, Om Timmarna, Alltså (Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains With A Cockoo On Each Side Of The Hours..that Is)" not only boasts the lengthiest title of the seven tracks but is also the longest running that easily glides past the 13 minute mark and runs the gamut of alien sounding cosmic drips to a full fledged Viking ritual complete with wordless vocal chants towards the end but also hosts a plethora of progressive electronic elements that ensure a wickedly wild ride with flutterings of classical flute and piano to be heard. The ending is particularly bizarre. The album flows quite nicely as one track cedes into the next but each creating a distinct vibe, an idiosyncratic feel and elaborate change in stylistic approach. The following "Det Finns En Tid För Allt, Det Finns En Tid Då Även Tiden Möts (There Is A Time For Everything, There Is A Time When Even Time Will Meet)" continues the freak folk flavors with a cheery flute performance while avant-garde classical sounds dance with electronic wizardry.

The instrumental free for all is interrupted only once by the Swedish language vocal track "Möjligheternas Barn (Children Of Possibilities)" which adds a human touch with the female divine belting out operatic lyrics accompanied only by a screechy violin and viola duet with cosmic freakery inserted for good measure. "Tristans Klagan (La Rotta)" is a short primeval jig that sounds like something you would hear at a Renaissance fair without psychedelic accoutrements but "Viriditas" bounces back into planet mondo bizarro with a strangely timed mix of piano and some sort of strange sampling effect that is slowed down with clever time manipulations. This is the other track with Swedish vocals only sung by one of the male members and subdued beneath the strange mix that prognosticates some of the 90s electronica genres by two decades.

The final tracks "Saturnus Ringar (Rings Of Saturn)" and the ending title track revert back to how the album began with a stranger emphasis on the Krautish rock elements rather than the folk with heavily muddled guitar fuzz and aural atmospheric ambience that hazes over the horizon ever threatening to supersede the jazzy drumming beats and Achim Reichel styled guitar riffs. The newer editions have many bonus tracks that were nixed and destined for inclusion on a second album which never came to be. The band actually had a long run from 1969-76 but still only managed to squeak out this one debut album. The band began to split right down the middle as half the band wanted to venture into a more rock style while the others opted for an extreme minimalist approach. While multiple tracks were recorded, none would see the light of day until the album "Delayed" emerged as an archival release in 2001.

While i would love to take credit for one of the coolest descriptions of ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD's music, i have to say that it came from another fan who opined: "young amateur bastard-gods from a parallel universe swinging through the machinery of time, traversing non-historical oceans and weedgreen valleys with a cuckoo on each side. if music is human, this is not music. if music is irrational, this is the purest pure of pure music you can think of." This poetic prose says it all and yet says nothing much like the musical experience of ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD itself that on one hand was very much in the Germanic music family of Krautrock but yet kept a safe distance with local folk flavors and strong classical underpinnings. While the music is tantamount to an ethereal cosmic escape from reality it is also a tribute to the Pagan gods that allow the rationality of sound to be interpreted. Considered one of the inspirations for bands far and wide such as Japan's psychedelic band Ghost, ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD created a unique psychedelic experience quite similar yet quite distinct from its contemporaries. Not an instant love for me but one that had to weasel its way into my subconscious.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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