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Pärson Sound


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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Hard to imagine that this albums was written in 1967. Implicitly it prefigures krautrock's druggy eccentricities and the most spacey side of progressive rock. The band integrates in a very authentic and personal way different inspirations from acid folk, eastern tinged improvisations, "droning" minimal hypnosis and "kosmische" instrumentals. All compositions feature trance like effects incorporated in mesmerizing and "primitive" jam sessions. It also include "stoned" vocals. This underground musical travel is an interstellar transport that clearly invokes trance like state. Far away more innovative and avant gardist than the "pseudo" pre-spacey rock circle led by the Pink Floyd. In the vast domain of psychedelic "free" rock and in comparison to Parson Sound, the Pink Floyd are "miniatures". "Parson Sound" is a mind blowing, "apocalyptic" and pioneering effort. A must have for fans of the radical and heavy psych Algarnas Tradgard and Trad Gras Och Stenar. It's time to re-define correctly and with a better justice the genesis of psychedelic space music.
Report this review (#116319)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Knowing Me, Knowing You?

A collection of archive material comprising rehearsals and radio broadcasts never released at the time of recording, this 2001 release is a fascinating document of an otherwise unexposed band creating exciting and innovative material steeped in the experimentations of Terry Riley, and infused with the heady sound of psychedelia that was omnipresent in the 1960s.

It's not as innovative or wide-ranging in creativity as either Pink Floyd or The Soft Machine, though, and certainly, each piece in this collection bar a solo experiment by BoAnders Persson from 1966 follows in the wake of Piper....

The pieces themselves are generally drone and raga-based affairs, rather similar in overall style and concept to Malachi's Holy Music release of 1966, but the overall soundscape has a strong leaning towards a more Heavy Metal style.

Tio minuter (Ten minutes) dates from late September 1967. It's a really simple and extremely loose jam around two chords, with painful, ploddy drumming and heavy metal style fuzzed guitars, going for what some might see as a textural approach, with a violin providing a single-note continuo, like a stripped-back version of It's a Beautiful Day, without the fireworks of David LaFlamme. Every so often, it all kinda comes together like a Hawkwind or Pink Fairies out take. It's a bit like Can, but without the attention to detail in overall layout. There's no doubting the place in the scheme of things, though - this is essentially Krautrock at the inception of the movement, but it lacks any of the sophistication or architecture in arrangement of Pink Floyd, and feels rather dragged out to the timeframe. The change around 6:45 is particularly lugubrious, like Cream on mogadons.

From Tunis to India in Fullmoon (On Testosterone) dates from early 1968. At 20 and a half minutes, it's the second longest piece in this collection, and again, sounds like one of Hawkwinds more anarchic jams, this connection highlighted by the constantly wailing sax.

A continuous bass line drives the fuzzed-out guitars into another texture fest, more coherent than the previous one, but the minimalist changes over continual drones are not dramatically different to what other psychedelic bands had done in the previous year. What is notable, though, is the overall heaviness in texture.

There's a much welcomed breakdown around 11:30, which builds very slowly and chaotically back to the orginal idea - if music with events in is what gets you going, you won't find too much in here.

India (Slight Return) dates from February 1968. It's somewhat out of tune, and an uncomfortable listen as a result. The first few minutes remind me of the early part of Careful with That Axe Eugene - but without the sense of purpose. The purpose here seems to be to wallow in the sonic textures rather than to create artistic music.

A glimpse inside the Glyptotec-66 is a recording of BoAnders Persson which, dating from 1966, is the earliest piece on this collection, and essentially a tape loop experimentation. Again, this is not event-driven music, and is simply an experiment with sonic textures and feedback - but is probably the most effective piece on the album, reminding me of some of Stockhausen's work

One quiet afternoon (in the King's Garden) is the earliest band recording, dating from July 1967, and is the loosest piece of the lot. Again, a simple two-chord jam with breakdowns and minimal textural adjustments, it's in no way as interesting as the Hapshash and the Coloured Coat album, except, perhaps, for the complete dissolution into noise, which may interest fans of noise rock - but it's quite hard to tell from the recording quality how much is intentional noise, and how much is equipment overload.

Sov gott Rose-marie (Parts 1-3: It's only love, Till Indien and Sov gott Rose-marie) is a better quality recording, as it was made for radio broadcast in December 1967. It seems to comprise something along the lines of a pop/rock song driven by the riff to Stepping Stone, underlined when the bass plays in contrary motion. At 2:20, this gives way to the Careful with that Axe Eugene idea used in India (Slight Return), indicating that these two pieces are musically linked. This suite is rounded off with an interesting Krautrock-sounding section with vocal drones continually chanting the title.

Skrubba was recorded live in May 1968, and is a painful half an hour jam that is based on the second idea in Let There Be More Light from Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets (released in April of that year, so the connection seems more than a co-incidence, particularly since Floyd would have gigged the ideas in the months from late 1967 until the album's release). This has none of the sophisticated construction of Floyd's piece, however, and makes me wonder whether I should upgrade my original rating of that album. This piece is too long by about 25 minutes and adds nothing to music's canon.

Milano also dates from May 1968, and is much more interesting... at first. It's an intense ride - but another jam, this time around one chord. The heavy sonic textures are appealing, but lose their interest quite quickly.

On How to live is a jam from the summer of 1968, and reminds me of the Hapshash and the Coloured Coat album in the use of bongos - but really, that's just a typical feature of psychedelia from this time. The birdsong is an interesting addition, though, and makes for a pleasant if repetitive piece of chill-out music.

Blåslåten is the latest (and most interesting) piece on the album, dating from August 1968. It's driven by busked saxes, with reverb giving a real underground flavour. The rippling accompaniment is a clear connection to the work of Terry Riley, and, despite the drifts out of tune, is probably the best piece on here.


Another interesting collection of psychedelia from the time of its inception - but there are plenty of other interesting pieces from this time, and this is not an outstanding, progressive or innovative example, drawing, as it does, from the leading-edge work of Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine (recalling that the Daevid Allen Trio also experimented with tape loops before the Soft Machine was founded).

Report this review (#181419)
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars PÄRSON SOUND was born out of the fertile 60s cross-pollination of all types of traditional and contemporary musical forms invading every nook and cranny of the world. In this case it was Sweden. After The Beatles and other English bands were successfully delivering their own take on various sounds merging together to the new global audience, some musicians opted to create a deeper, darker and much freakier sound to focus on. PÄRSON SOUND which consisted of Bo Anders Persson (guitar), Thomas Tidholm (vocals, sax, flute), Arne Ericsson (cello), Urban Yuman (violin), Torbjörn Abelli (bass) and Thomas Mera Gartz (drums) who were hugely inspired by the minalmist vision of Terry Riley and took the whole mid-60s psychedelic scene to new levels giving them the oft touted title as the earliest pioneers of Krautrock which wouldn't take off for another couple of years. This band has put out a most confusing track record of their offerings. While beginning as PÄRSON SOUND, they only recorded several demos and live performances under this band name. The tracks on this release range from the 1967-68 years but were never released until this eponymously tilted 2001 compilation hit the market. This is the prequel band to the following International Harvester, Harvester and finally Träd, Gräs & Stenar (of which Bo Anders Perrson, Torbjörn Abelli and Thomas Merz Gartz were the only constant members).

Right from the beginning "Intro" it's easy to tell that this band was pretty much ahead of its time. While contemporaries with The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, these guys really shot off into the trip-o-sphere and took psychedelic escapism to a frightening new level. While artists like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Yardbirds and Love were basically creating a new form of psychedelic rock or pop that was based on catchy rhythms and / or melodic developments, PÄRSON SOUND really was the real heavy psych deal eschewing anything catchy, kitschy and sing-along and instead offered hypnotic chimeric and sound equivalents of a mirage in the desert as the music delivers a steady beat and riff groove that slowly deviates from its intended course as if a sudden bout of sickness has distorted the listener's perception and proffered a new distinct connection to reality. This is the real deal and delivered when all those aforementioned bands were trying to achieve such cosmic lengths, but in reality were only delivering mostly blues oriented catchy pop songs polished in a psychedelic coating.

Everything about this album drips in cosmic unity bathing in a tripped out, psychedelic timelessness as if a shaman from centuries of time travel had intervened and injected the proper rainforest frog licking experience to the whole shebang. The music is powerful as it establishes a cosmic grooviness to the whole delivery system and then adds a fuzzed out guitar extravaganza that contributes alternating patterns in percussive and bass performances. Most of the tracks are long extended instrumental behemoths but there are vocals interspersed throughout the lengthy double album length. This is a double album. Part one on either CD or vinyl consists of lengthy psychedelic jams mixed with drone, minimalism and indo-raga to create long drawn out jams that slowly unfold themselves into slightly different compositions that are simultaneous hypnotic in effect as well as energetic bombastic affirmations to the mushroom gods that alter the perceptions of all entities engaging in the conscious perception of what is unfolding.

Believe you me that no drugs are required to alter your consciousness with this one. It has the full effect sans any chemical altercations but i imagine that booster shots can only take this trip even further. Disc / vinyl side two starts off on a much lighter note. In fact the track "Sov Gott Rose-Marie" which is the album title of the International Harvester album that follows, begins sounding much like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana with a simple chord structure and surprisingly grunge oriented progression a full couple decades before such music would actually hit it big. The track is divided into three parts and after the energetic proto-grunge part it cedes into a very early Pink Floyd sounding part that creates a nice counterpart effect to "Pipers At Dawn's Gate" with its psychedelic guitar riff meets the mellotron and grrrrrroooooviliscious beat which is steady and relaxing. Almost martini music meets acid blotters but creates a jarring juxtaposition of contrasts as it continues. The next track "Skrubba" is the longest track on the entire double album at 28:56 and basically delivers the utmost psychedelic freak out of the time. Although it is basically a repetitive bass line ad infinitum, it nonetheless has enough contrast in sounds and off-beat timings of things to give credence to the proto-prog badge that it frequently acquires. While the mood of the listener has to be in sync with the unfolding and time delivery of the whole thang, it is one of the most satisfying tracks for the hardcore tripper who is craving this sort of thang. This one has a bass line that also reinterprets the early Pink Floyd take on psychedelia only taking a much more hypnotic and repetitive approach to the table.

The rest of the album follows suit with taking the Syd Barret Pink Floyd-isms beyond the albums that they released only to create wild and bizarre escapist passages into another world. Just to be very clear, this is basically minimally melodic in nature and very repetitive in that regard. The majestic magnitude of PÄRSON SOUND is how they embellish the simplicity of it all. The music unfolds in simple measures as would any music of the day but each measure creates a subtle difference enhances the magnitude of the experience ever so slightly after each passing increment of time. The production is quite conducive to the psychedelic experience and although this is not music that a sane person would experience on a daily basis, this is quite the heady wild psychedelic experience everyone wishes that all those 60s so-called psych bands would have produced. This is the real deal-ee-bop and it was created in the actual time, not as a wish-i'd-been-there-and-done-that pipe dream. Personally i really love this album although it does require the proper mindset to totally enjoy and comprehend. However, when the mood strikes, this is the real deal and what a deal it is. Sweden has emerged as one of the leaders of progressive music but many do not realize that this has been true ever since the beginning of the prog scene all the way back in the 60s, even before Germany caught wind and took the bull by the horn and usurped the whole psychedelic scene with their version of Krautrock. Excellent album that should be experienced by every psychedelic music lover who is serious about the PSYCHEDELIC part of the equation and also a big bonafide feel good moment for anyone interested in early noise rock that would eventually lead to bands such as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and all the drone metal bands like Boris, Jesu, Earth, Nadja and beyond??..

Report this review (#1588399)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2016 | Review Permalink

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