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Archimedes Badkar - Tre CD (album) cover


Archimedes Badkar


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.74 | 21 ratings

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4 stars Snowcapped bathtub in the desert

I've been on a Swedish binge lately, and much to my surprise there's almost nothing written about these albums on here. Last time I wrote a bit about organ wizard Eric Malmberg, and now I'd like to proceed this Swedish voyage with a somewhat obscure band called Archimedes Badkar (Archimedes' Bathtub). Their unique take on fusion guides the listener on some amazing carpet rides through the northern parts of Africa. Just like Kebnekaise, Archimedes Badkar incorporated African music into their sound, although I must say that these guys were far more successful.

I've heard many talk about this band as being the Swedish equivalent of Embryo, and this is not far off to tell you the truth. Archimedes Badkar frolic in psychedelia tinged fusion, experimental and freeflowing Krautrock with much emphasis on improvisation - and blend all of this together with a good scoop of African instrumentation.

Trumpet, sax, African drums, piano, violin, mandolin, clarinet, acoustic guitars, recorder, keyboards, tablas, bass, electric guitar and all sorts of exotic percussive features - all of this thrown into one big bowl. And while much of this album comes off as haphazard tunes from the Muppet kitchen - there's still some kind of core - a certain feel of preconception between these musicians. If I were to compare this to anything else, I'd probably say the Bitches Brew guys or the Mwandishi session men - not because they sound alike, but rather because of the total free natured atmosphere, that invites each and everyone to do whatever the hell they want to at any given moment. I realise that I'm painting a picture of crazy music with absolutely no form whatsoever, but that's hardly the fact here. Even when these guy jam, it sounds like it's orchestrated - like there's some meaning behind it all. Take the rhythm sections here for example. They stomp through the music like some harnessed stampede with all these differentiating percussive facets to it - and still there seems to be a togetherness at the front wheel. Even when these take us to the darkest parts of the jungle - and we get wild vocalizations sounding like a bunch of entranced witch doctors, you are never close to losing your mind. Not entirely that is...

One of the things that amazes me the most about this band is that they sound just as comfortable doing the kind of Scandinavian white boy fusion with big mad toots of the wind instruments, as they are making tribal bongo music taken directly from a wild towering bonfire in the midst of the African planes. Part Zulu - part mad Swedes. Then again you'll probably also pick up the Nordic folk music that once in a while pops by to say hello. The violin turns elliptic and slightly skewed - bringing the old myths of Thor and Odin to the fore - yet still backed up by tablas and Eastern sounding strings. This is Archimedes Badkar in a nutshell. They combine all these different cultures and make them sound as if they were one and the same. Like it was some old undiscovered culture with lions and tigers all living in big snowcapped fjords far above the borders of Lappland. With half naked warriors with spears and painted bodies jumping in ecstasy to the power of the music.

There are really no leaders on this album. You'll often get a piano lead groove, enhanced with the echoing wind instruments bellowing out in unison. Then the strings take over, and suddenly you're somewhere completely different, but somehow all these changes feel organic and purposeful - like they were meant to be.

If you like Embryo or any sort of experimental form of fusion, psych mixed with jazzy folk - or just need a different beat - an altogether different style of rhythmically fortified genre-less music that will take you on some wonderful journeys from the highest mountains in the north to the dirt brown and caramel coloured caravans in the winding dunes of the Sahara desert, - then start looking for Archimedes Badkar. I promise you - this bathtub is not like any you've ever stepped into.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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