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International Harvester - Sov Gott Rose-Marie CD (album) cover


International Harvester


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.86 | 22 ratings

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4 stars Bewildering Krautrock lullabies

Getting near the end of my Swedish journey, I thought I'd dedicate the remaining 6 reviews to some of the Krautrock gems coming out of this fabulous country, -which may have been made without any sort of moniker, in a time of next to no monikers at all - yet still these releases resonate with me as the real deal. Pure unadulterated gooey Krautrock, or to those like myself who prefer things without stickers - just music made without a safety net.

Inspired by the minimalism and improvisations of electronic wizard and godfather Terry Riley, this band started experimenting with sounds and noises back in 1968 - trying to infuse the rock music of their day with an altogether different expression. This album is far ahead of its time pre-dating several German acts that only several years later would go on to make music like this: completely free sound sculpturing built up around chugging riffing textures either uttered by a grungy bass or the fuzzed out guitars, hovering organ staircases, demented folky violin sections harking back to our Nordic tradition but slightly bunkers in mentality and drive. Add to these musical traits - the constant inquisitive nature of the band - always playing around with ulterior sound motifs such as birdsong collages, humming mellow textures sweetening the general atmosphere, percussive kitchen devices, field recordings, live concert surprises suddenly sticking up in the music as well as the occasional Cherokee witch-like chanting, like the one featured on the weird left-handed and quite in-vocative Ho Chi Minh.

This is highly surreal sonic experimentation, but still there is an emphasis on subtle melodies like tiny carousels spawning notes of dreams and sea spray. There's also a distinct Swedish humour attached to this, and as much as I enjoy these bizarre vocal sections taking you from one extreme to the next, either through the strange and staccato chants to the more out there talking that from time to time interrupts the sonic storyline, - they are perhaps the only downfall of this record. For my money, they should have stuck with the gentle laid back humming bird singing.

Two of my absolute favourite things about this venture is the opposite attractions of the fuzzy minimalistic chug rock and the carnival like spirit of this band. The latter here is exemplary heard in the start of Sommarlåten (Summersong) just before it turns into a whiny dog's confused Krautrock serenade. Barking mad and utterly beautiful all at the same time, which in some ways is a fine description of the album as a whole. You are most likely going to be led astray - taken on a bewildering ride to some far away climes, yet there's always that little thing in the back of the music persuading you to take the plunge - daring you to follow things through, and when you've finally tuned yourself into the alternative sound-waves of International Harvester, -when you've made your peace with the beast - you're ready to fall asleep to the tender psychedelia drenched lullaby of Rose-Marie. Sleep tight little Rose-Marie.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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