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Arbete Och Fritid - Andra CD (album) cover


Arbete Och Fritid



3.50 | 8 ratings

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4 stars Psychedelic and adventurous Zorba from Sweden

There was clearly something in the water back then! Initially I'd wanted to include Arbete och Fritid in my recent Swedish prog marathon, but alas this was not to be due to filing problems, and to put it mildly: This act is anything but one-track minded - as they assimilated so many differentiating musical facets into their sound, that they practically are impossible to box down. These guys were breaking new ground, albeit with some clear connotations to acts like Terry Riley, Cage and a small but highly original core of Swedish bands.

I have spoken about his bond before, and especially on this sophomore release does it become increasingly obvious just how much in common bands like Kebnekaise, Archimedes Badkar, Älgarnas Trädgard, International Harvester(and all of its branchings), Fläsket Brinner and even an act like Samla Mammas Manna had. A strange and psychedelic form of Nordic Krautrock openly based around some rather experimental endemic folk music. I am not suggesting that we create a new box here on PA to throw all of these into - calling it Nordic Kosmische Musik, but I am however kindly suggesting people who are like-minded to take a chance on these trailblazing bands, that sadly are unknown to but a few outside of Scandinavia.

The folk music on offer here is one that circles around old Nordic musical themes. Apart from sounding like a runaway psychedelic rendition of Zorba the Greek, you'll hear them twirl around in the music led on by the eschewed sounding violin and the spinning waltzing rhythms that these entail. Just like all of the aforementioned bands, Arbete och Fritid also roam the heavier psychedelic airwaves. The Krautrock flavour here is undeniable with its slowly moving caterpillar-like ooze of gelatinous violin, sleepwalker tempi and the swampy electronics fizzing away underneath it all. These sections are scattered throughout this second outing, bringing with them a climatic build-up within the given track - re-leaving it of its natural tension.

Some of these natural tensions redirects the micro-tonal electronic experimentation one would hear from Terry Riley and to a lesser extent The Taj Mahal Travellers, - and on this album it sounds to me like a beautiful mixture of both, although it becomes something entirely different and adventurous transcribed onto this folky fusion template. Something illustrious and waving - hovering stagnantly in between the musical spaces.

Then you've got small spurts of fusion highly reminiscent of old school New Orleans brass bands yet here delivered with a decisively middle eastern touch. They match the festive twirling of the Nordic folk music and oddly enough ornament much of these festive musical progressions - sitting on top of the pudding like a sonic emperor of rainbow rosettes. Sometimes they come off sounding like bridal march music with a twist, and other times they reflect a deep and bottomless sadness that occasionally empties out in these profound and esoteric musical stagnations, which I was just on about.

Whether one chooses to approach this band from a folk music point of view, avant guarde, fusion, Krautrock or a musique concrete type of deal, - the bottom line should preferably be that you approach it anyway you can. The music hiding beneath this little Swedish gemstone is one made up of charismatic and adventurous sounds, and if you're on the look out for small endemic pockets of original progressive music, then this second album by Arbete och Fritid is a true humdinger.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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