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Bjorn J:Son Lindh - Från Storstad Till Grodspad CD (album) cover


Bjorn J:Son Lindh


Eclectic Prog

4.37 | 16 ratings

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5 stars Urban Inferno

My 100th review? Let me take you back to those Swedes, whom I've been rambling about a couple of weeks back. Not only do these snus addicted people have an amazing metal scene going on at the moment, which has been incredibly innovative and influential (sorry Caio), but way back in the day this country was spewing out progressive gems like a proper diamond dog suffering from bulimia.

If there ever was a clear cut case for a cd reissue, then certainly Från Storstad Till Grodspad must be it. I mean, going back to the 90s Sweden had a huge resurgence of progressive music with acts like Änglagård, Landberk and The Flower Kings just to name a few, and still they are dishing out acts that continue to gather fans from all over the globe. Yet albums I'd personally deem as long lost masterpieces - those records that will stand the test of time, these remain forgotten and unreleased. Sitting around in a shady corner waiting for the redeeming applause. I honestly don't get it, and it is a crime that albums like these aren't heralded the way they deserve.

I'll bet that the name Björn J:Son Lindh probably doesn't ring a bell? Even so, how many of you guys knew of Gentle Giant or Henry Cow before joining this forum? Names matter not - only the music. This man has made a lot of different tasting music spanning from these his early efforts where jazz, psych and all kinds of musical experimentation took place - to the way of disguising himself as the Swedish equivalent of Ennio Morricone creating soundtracks for such flicks as Mannen på Taket and Jägarne. Put another way: He's been around the block.

This album is the result of a highly imaginative meeting between The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Lindh, and if you're thinking: Aaahh yet another one of those rock albums that flirt around with the pomp and power of the symphony orchestra, then boy are you mistaken. Recorded on two separate occasions with but a few months in between, what you get is a side long suite that openly tears down all the prefabricated notions on how these collaborations usually pan out - and does so with an effective drill bit up front and in your face(I actually mean that in the most literary sense, but I'll get back to this), whilst the other side consists of shorter to the point tracks that still carries on that little aftermath of what went before it, like a long lingering hangover still emanating in your head.

The title track is many things. It is jazz - like te tsch te and through a multitude of alternating fusion like sections - and yet it is far away from being something you can incarcerate within any sort of black box. You have electronics buzzing, zooming, quacking away when Lindh decides to share with you his love of the moog synthesizer. It's never heavy on the ears, but I do occasionally hear it mimicking frogs and crickets - or just colouring the main events in futuresque Star Wars spices, that never feels out of place nor steal away the focus of the actual piece. Then you have the exotic psychedelic feel of the guitar that sounds strangely angular in texture - often counterpointing the nouveau symphonics in play here, that reminds me of modern composers like Stravinsky and Mussorgsky. This combination of the lone ranger guitar in heavy seas of cascading terrifying sweeps of the orchestra sends shivers down my spine, and truly feels like dancing with the grim reaper bathed in moonlight. The guitar and symphonics - man these things are unintelligible - like talking about the relationship between ice and water - even if they start as the same. They're juxtaposed forever - yet still manage to melt together as one big blurry sharp and organic beast. And just because I said that this album wasn't exactly the every day rock n symph collaboration, it still wields enough funky bass lines and masterly executed drum sections to hold the interest of the casual rock n' roller. Just you beware of the different sonic traps that lurk deep within this captivating suite. The name itself means (and don't take my word for it...) something like the voyage from the big city to the countryside, and what we get is all of the urban delights - such as drill bits(Especially the drill bit speaks to me, as it oddly enough seems to open up in what can nearly be described as true musical bloom - sounding like a whole range of different things, whilst still being a drill bit. At some point I mistook it for those insisting mating calls you get from lascivious frogs!), thundering cars, church bells, sirens - all of this crammed into the music - telling you about the horrific stress laden Zeitgeist of the modern civilisation through its very presence. It's a musical journey that takes you through all these factors, that still today feels as apt and relevant as the day of its birth. It's the fire breathing monster of every day life - the city dweller's cross. And still after all is said and done - the notes, city and nature each one has said their piece - everything ends in chaos and musical debris - with the dying whispers of a moog slowly emanating into birdsong.

Rolling and tumbling through the rest of the cuts are still these unfinished businesses, regurgitating melodies and strengths of the big kahouna. They feel like they're backing up the big boss in feel, and still they put up a relevant and slightly alternative way of looking at the music presented on the title track. There's more of a cohesive spirit for the tracks to hang their hats on though - to which the guitar is played with, and the way the drums roll together with the meatiness of the bass. One thing that doesn't fluctuate much is the way Lindh plays the flute, which is so soft and effervescent in nature that I had him picked for a woman the first time I heard the feminine touch of this wind instrument.

This is an eclectic venture to say the least. It plays on so many tangents that you forget about boxes and such. You've got bass, cello, guitar, drums, moog, violins, flute, trombone, horn, oboe, accordion, saxophone, the occasional Swedish sung vocals (which incidentally are beautiful and breezy), piano, organ and all those mentioned sound effects dropped in the mix for good measure - and there's still a somewhat harmonic feel to it, even if it speaks about the terrors of the urban inferno, and how we sometimes are afraid of the silence.

Is it any wonder that I love it so much?

Guldbamsen | 5/5 |


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