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


International Harvester

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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3 stars Contemporary critics and reviewers discuss if this release can be counted as Rock music. If so, it's the first ever sung in Swedish (At least partly). It's also, arguably, one of the first Prog albums eminating from Sweden. Together with bands like HANSSON & KARLSSON and MECKI MARK MEN, INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER were the pioneers of Swedish Prog. They had, in fact, recorded as PÄRSON SOUND already in 1967 but these recordings didn't get released until the 00s.

This album, then, is filled with short likeable tunes like the quirky "Statsministern" or the chanting of "Ho Chi Minh". Other memorable tracks are "Klockan är mycket nu" and "The Runcorn Report On Western Progress", both taking an environmental stance. "Klockan är mycket nu" (The Time Is Getting Late) is a quote from an ecology philosopher, about how it's (already in the 60s) getting too late to save the environment, while "The Runcorn Report?" is a comment on the pollution of Liverpool suburb Runcorn.

I also like "Sommarlåten" and the title track but after that the fun stops. The goal for INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER was to merge TERRY RILEY with THE ROLLING STONES and on the last two tracks they doubtlessly succeeds, be that good or bad. Personally, I don't have much for 10-minutes low-fi guitar-ramblings. "I Mourn You" is long, "How To Survive" is longer and the bonus track, "Skördetider", is the longest (clocking in at nearly 25 minutes).

One cannot accuse this album for being a polished affair. The aestethic of Swedens 70s Prog bands was to have a Live-sound rather than sounding good. Another assumption was that everbody could play. Somethinng the scene quite well succeeded in proving itself wrong but at least INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER were trained musicians able to play.

After a second album, they regrouped as TRÄD; GRÄS OCH STENAR, who released their last (likely ever) album this year (2009).

Report this review (#223789)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first review! And what a lovely suprise this album was!

I REALLY wasn't prepared for the album. A hidden gem from Sweden was avaible in Finland to my surprise (altought it was released under the Love Records) and deserves the best. With ''the best'' I don't mean the best ever - I mean in Sweden's scale. Don't let the 'Psychedelic/Space Rock' - title fool you around. To my mind this album is more like Prog Folk - and Krautrock -ish stuff. There are not so much pedal effects as you could really expect. This record reminds me of bands like CAN, AMON DÃ?Ã?L II and pays a visit to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention too (I mean the wierdest records). You wouldn't still call this band a copy-cat. Terry Riley as being as their inspiration there are a lot of minimalistic signs (the three last songs; think of an math-rock album that's released in 1968. What the -?). Why I still wouldn't call this a full-blooded Krautrock-record? There're no synths. To my mind that's a reason.

Album's structure reminds me of Frank Zappa's 'Uncle Meat' because even when there're just 14 songs, there are lots of outros and intros that are just playing wierd or are filled with the sounds of the nature. Yeah. And some simple flute scenes too. All 11 first songs are just short fillers that warm you up to the main thing: 3 songs that have lenght 50 min in total. Still I'm not calling the songs boring to their shortness. They make a brilliant wholeness and some of them are being pretty just like they are. Songs like 'There is no other place', 'The Runcorn report on western progress' and 'It's only love' suprised me. When there are songs with just acoustic guitar and singing, there are wierd drumming freak-outs and guitars playing out loud to make it sound chaotic too. This albums anwers to the politics straight out and makes the record more entertaining, for example: Statsministern lyrics (translated to english): ''Stateminister can read, stateminister can write, stateminister can count'' and the song ends. Instrumental abilities are a HUGE plus on this too. There are more instruments used than you could have expected.

LETS RATE THE SONGS!! (I don't rate the intros and outros, NEVER, but exceptions will be made if they are long)

Dies Irae (2:26): A chaotic 'omen'-like theme opens the record. Refers possibly to a classical song with a same name. Ends with the sounds of nature. Right

I villande skogen (0:47): Continues with the nature theme...

There is no other place (2:41)*****: Wierd lyrics sang by Bo Anders (in English, with a Swedish accent) and a bit clumsy like guitar riff (not meaning that it's bad, I'm refering to the sound) and agressive drums start to play. I like especially the ending when Bo Anders starts to shout. Song's pretty simple but it has it's hooks.

The Runcorn report on western progress (3:27)*****: Bo Anders sings with the 'Paul Simon'-like of voice, very soft (and clean) and it's just calming the theme after the more agressive song. This song is very beautiful. When listening this song for the first time you start to think that this record really has something to give to the world. Bongos and the bass fill the background.

Statsministern (0:20)*****/-: This song isn't made to be repeated to be listened. It's just playing funny and isn't stealing anything from anyone. Great

Ho Chi Minh (1:47)*****: A mantra-like singing is repeated and the drum is banged. The record suddenly becomes very chaotic. A funny song. Reminds me of Frank Zappa-kind of f*cked up material.

It's only love (1:40)*****: A theme, a short one, but still, beautiful.

Klockan är mycket nu (3:29)*****: Just when you tought that the artists forgot being wierd, no no... Guitar strings are stretched and repeative singing makes its job. nice.

Ut till vänster (0:42): A Neutral flute intermission.

Sommarlåten (2:50)*****: This is the part where the record starts to get... emotional? Thinking about the end of the 60's, summer, there were just the northern farm house and you and me, we were free without limits, love was natural and pure. Sorry, it's the song. VERY hooking symphonic- like guitar track. I would call this track the highlight of the record. It's so pure and beautiful.

Sov gott Rose-Marie (3:38)****: Back to the melancholic theme where we were started. Because of some reason I don't get this song so well as the others. I would call this a intro to the songs coming up. Slow singing and a ...... quiet ..... song ......

I mourn you (12:47)*****: Here start the themes that support the nature (damn hippies...) and gets quite emotional. With 'mourning' the song is about the nature, 'her'. Song is slow and has a lot of minimalistic elements in it. Still this is the spot where the album starts to get really interesting: there are still 50 min left!!!

How to survive (11:42)****: The weakest one of the longer tracks, still an ok track.

Skördetider (24:58)*****(best track): Oh god, the ultimate highlight. The song runs 25 min and is still so epic! I love when a long song doesn't overdo the guitar. Heavy and slow drumming makes it all down to the ending climax and the flutes, repeative and still, so fitting! There's a little bit of jabbing around in the background. The drumming gets heavier after every minute. I also spotted the saxophone and violin! Ending's a guite symphonic. (I have to mention, the ending sounded like the TOOL had thrown the guitar to the wall and started raping violins, no, I'm not lying, calling me a liar?). To my mind, if you are a fan of long symphonic kind of wierd, psychedelic, spacey, krautrock kind of stuff, you should get the record only because of this track.

Ending rating, a HEAVY 5. This has to earn a masterpiece status and a massive amount of respect. I could believe that some people don't get this album as I get it but I can't help it than just loving this album to death.

PS: I'm a Finn and my writing's not often very good. what? calling me a liar? Visit my profile :D

That was the end of my first record review. Thank You

Report this review (#507288)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The inspiration for this Swedish band was ignited when American Terry Riley visited Sweden in the spring of 1967. He performed his minimalistic classic "In C" which inspired a lot of student musicians including Bo Anders Persson.The year before Terry's visit Bo had started studies at the Royal Academy but he didn't feel like he fit in with stiff academic atmosphere.The openess and experimental outlet he was looking for he heard when Terry Riley performed his concert. Bo wasn't the only one who was touched, as it brought together musicians of like-mind which would eventually turn into INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER. I should mention that this band was very left wing in their political beliefs, usually playing at communist rallys etc. The goal of the band was to create something free which often would involve improvs. Bo wanted to create a more contemporary kind of rhythmic music that could play the same role as the traditional Folk music, a music that was both sensual and transcendent. Of course Terry Riley's hypnotic around and around repetitiveness was very inspiring to Bo. He just wanted it to be more organic. The results to my ears are close to Krautrock, in fact that Krautrock spirit is very much the dominating force for me. Bands like CAN and AMON DUUL came to mind. Remember though that this was 1968, so to call this six piece band trail blazers would be to state the truth.

"Dies Irae" has these loud horns and other stressful sounds as the birds sing in the background. A seemingly strange combination.The horns slowly fade away until all you hear are the birds which continues into the next 47 second track.This is kind of cool of course when you realize that this is a Latin death hymn, so the loud heavy sounds represent dying and the pastoral and peaceful sound of the birds is death. "There Is No Other Place" kicks in right away and i'm really reminded of HAWKWIND surprisingly.Vocals join in as they jam heavily. "The Runcorn Report On Western Progress" opens with the sounds of cars driving by and then a mellow soundscape takes over with drugged out vocals. "Statsministern" is 20 seconds of a beat with vocals. "Ho Chi Minh" opens with drums and the vocals chant words over and over from before a minute to the end. "It's Only Love" has these lazy vocals and sound. "Klockan Ar Mycket Nu" has chanted vocals and a beat.The vocals echo later on. "Ut Till Vanster" has horns a beat and what sounds like wind chimes.

"Sommartatan" is an amazing tune with that beat, guitar and vocals. Love it ! "Sov Gott Rose-Marie" is slower paced with mournful vocals. "I Mourn You" is incredible. A beat with flute, guitar and cello as they jam. OUT OF FOCUS comes to mind.Vocals after 4 minutes repeat over and over with passion "I mourn you".This is so good. CAN is a band i'm reminded of here as well. Horns too help out. "How To Survive" has a relaxed beat with flute.You can hear dogs barking as this improv was actually recorded live in a park in Stockholm in the summer of 1968.

Revolutionary might be an over the top word for this album but like PINK FLOYD these guys were creating their own path and implimenting their own ideas.The led not followed. It might not always have worked but then again when you blaze a new trail you often make a wrong turn or two. A very influencial band. Easily 4 stars.

Report this review (#547563)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
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.

Report this review (#636498)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars There are records, often more or less concept records which are perfect as a unite and there are records like this, International Harvester's Sov gott Rose-Marie which is incoherent and sprawling. Some moments they shone how cool this music could be, with a very groovy minimalistic rock music. I have actually hard to find band that are som heavy as International Harvester. Important to know is that this band is the same band as Pärson Sound, Harvester and Träs, gräs och stenar. On the time of this release they had changed name from Pärson Sound and were made up by Bo Anders Persson (guitar, vocals), Thomas Tidholm (saxophone, flute, vocals), Urban Yman (violin), Arne Eriksson (cello), Torbjörn Abelli (bass) and Thomas Mera Gartz (drums, vocals).

I could have rated this record "good but not essential" if it wasn't for some sound crap I have heard here. "I villande skogen" is thank lord very short but meaningless mumbles. "Klockan är mycket nu" is annoying and repeating and the almost twelve minutes long "How to survive" is awful and very boring, monotinic and not cool at all. "The runcorn report on western progress" is also slow and very bad.

The better sides of International Harvester is the opener: "Dies Irae" with saxophone screaming chruch notes very powerfully and it ends up in birds singing. "There is no other place" is a cool rock song, typical for this band's better moments. "Ho Chi Minh" is a bunch of strong slogans in support of Vietnam's fight against USA, also powerful rock. "Ut till vänster" is very short but has a nice flute melody. "Stadsministern" is great if you speak Swedish. They sang: "The Prime minister can read, The Prime Minister can write, The Prime Minister can count, but he can't dance rocka bogga rocka bogga dong dong dong". "Sommarlåten" is a god song that also shows the best side of this band with a strong melody and skillful musicians. "Sov gott Rose-Marie" is a nice hypnotic lulluby. The long tracks: "I mourn you" and especially the bonus track "Skördetider" is perhaps the most important tracks if you want to hear how they sounded. They are very minimalistic but also good. "Skördetider" is very long, 25 minutes, dark och powerful but not very exciting. It depends on if you are interested in minimalistic music. I am not very found of that but enjoy some parts of this music. But this is not really my favourite form of prog and some parts are som bad and meaningless they destroy the record as a whole. I recommend this record to somebody, absolutely not everybody.

Report this review (#964568)
Posted Friday, May 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first official album of the group that started as Pärson Sound and then evolved into Träd, Gräs och Stenar is Sov Gott Rose-Marie a concept album released in 1968, under the name International Harvester. The album conceptually is a reflection on modern life and the destruction of nature and the way the music is delivered, is unlike any other release in the PS/IH/TGS catalogue.

The first half of the album is a musical collage and by itself, is a unit, carefully ordered and arranged to form a seamless rollercoaster of contrasting tempi, timbres and styles. From the mellow "Its Only Love", to the downright heavy "There is No Other Place", the first half of the album has a personality and a sense of completeness by itself. 11 tracks make it up, some are under a minute long and serve as transitions to more cohesive numbers. On paper, the tracklisting seems pretty weak, but when the record is playing, its not an issue, and the music flows organically from one track to the next. Each number contains sufficient variety to make it stand out from the previous and refresh the ear or prepare it for the next one, the duration is carefully chosen to bring a sense of completeness to the music and leave wanting for more. The styles found include cathartic repetition, monolithic heaviness, drones, quirky songs and laid back numbers with catchy tunes.

In terms of timbre, the first half offers a wide range of instrumental combinations ranging from electric guitar and sax unisons ("Sommarlåten") to chanting and percussion ("Ho Chi Minh"), from soft woodwinds ("Ut Till Vänster") to full on fuzzed guitars ("Klockan �r Mycket Nu"). Acoustic guitars, crazy vocals and bird chant recordings complement the sonic panorama the first half provides. The recording quality is superb and clear throughout. The first half of the album is a masterpiece by itself, the sonic diversity is commendable, by the slow fading out of the title track, you realize you have been taken on a wild trip. Listening to it is very refreshing, as the overall result is very effective making it one of the most unique and replayable 24 minutes in its genre.

The second half is another thing completely. It features the traditional minimalistic jams the group is famous for. I have to say, it surprises me why "I Mourn You" and "How to Survive" where chosen over "Skördetider" as the content for the second half. All three tracks exemplify the same spirit of improvisation that is unique to the group but in the end, the chosen tracks are weaker than "Skördetider". Maybe the philosophical meaning of the tracks where more adequate to the concept of the album, maybe the "Skördetider" recording wasn't available then. We cannot know.

"I Mourn You" is very similar in style to the music in the PS recordings. A monolithic beat serves as the base for the mantra "I mourn you" delivered in singing and chanting. In combination with the monolithic rhythm section and the whaling sax, the improvisation escalates to its climax and fades out. "How to Survive" is an acoustic improvisation involving percussion, acoustic guitars and droning string instruments. The result is unusual and hypnotic music. The problem with these tracks is that they dont flow as smooth as the tracks in the first half. "I Mourn You" reaches its climax around the 9:30 mark and by the 10:00 mark starts descending in energy, the 2+ minute transition leads to 5+ minutes of a drone that serves as an introduction to "How to Survive". For those who are familiar with the spaced out music of the group, the long transitions are not an issue, but actually do break the continuity of the album if you are hearing it from start to finish and new comers are often left confused. "Skördetider" on the other hand is much more instantaneous.

"Skördetider" is probably the best of the 20+ minute jams of the group. The recording is very clear and the music starts and stays in a very chill and psychedelic ambient trance for a long time before breaking up in a fuzzy monolithic riff towards the end. Featuring quasi religous chants and eventually crazy lines by the members in pure PS style, "Skördetider" is a complete trip. The slow and gradual changes, the vanishing vocal melodies, the reverb drenched sax solos, make it the most rewarding track on the album. I cannot concieve the record without it.

As it now stands, the second part of Sov Gott Rose-Marie is very different from the first, almost the complete opposite. The album is completely unconventional in its delivery and format, but its not an issue because the music was never intended to be conventional in the first place. Sov Gott Rose-Marie is a surprisingly unique album. It has some pacing issues from part to part, but this album is for talking yourself out of your current state of mind for more than 50 minutes anyway, so its really not a problem.

Just start the record and prepare yourself. If the first track didnt make you jump a little from your seat, then you have to adjust your volume and play it again because its not loud enough. The effect of the album is enormously increased with a healthy amount of volume. Take some time off your busy modern day life schedule and revitalize yourself in psychedelic bliss.

Report this review (#2241818)
Posted Saturday, August 3, 2019 | Review Permalink

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