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Arbete Och Fritid


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5 stars An incredible prototype of Swedish progressive / avantgarde / jazz / folk rock.

ARBETE OCH FRITID, a Swedish experimental rock ensemble pretty influenced by pure folk music, were founded in 1969 around a cellist / composer Ove KARLSSON. Their formation has been frequently changed but thoroughly worked as a music commune under experimental / minimalistic / underground jazz music like John Cage, Terry Riley, or La Monte Young. They'd always gone forward as a leader of Swedish avantgarde / experimental music scene in 1970s.

The first "Damen I Svart" has struck our fancy definitely, with a bit whacked-out but splendid / glacious ritualism deeply into the song. Ove's cello solo is quite impressive, especially with the smoothness like a cool clean brook, and well-harmonized saxophone concerto can make us comfortable into dream. "Garbergsbrudens Dödsmarsch" following with the same melodies sounds more massively folksy with full of violin passion.

The most suitable song for calling avantgarde folk mixed with strong jazz is their self-titled one. Sounds like they would play improvisationally, aggressively, and pleasantly ... actually, smooth but powerful drums / percussion sounds launched by Bengt must take the lead in this stuff I'm sure. His steady and organic play should accelerate their progressiveness / experimentalism. On the other hand, the first shot of Side B "Mora-Nisses Vallåt" or the next one "Esso Motor Hotel" is slightly pop / catchy jazz related rock, that can encourage us freshly. They would enphasize people need good humour and good music.

"Engelska Kanalen" tosses another panoramic sound onto us, filled with insistently meditative psychedelia, that reminds me a clear landscape of tribal dance ... quiet, solemn but sincere, enthusiastic. Not seen yet but guess their enthusiasm be leaning toward Sancta Lucia or something). Just like a soft breeze, their sounds can come into our mind really. The last "Vind", created only with dim piano / glockenspiel riffs, sounds not only tragic but expectative. Suggest lots of Swedish reviewers and fans listening to this simple stuff might feel something magnificent, something cool, and something fascinating.

Sometimes desert, sometimes old-flavoured, and sometimes lyrical texture can be heard all through the album. Recommended.

Report this review (#676541)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is my fourth Arbete och fritid review and their first record released in 1970 when they were made up by Ove Karlsson (cello, bass, guitar, organ), Bengt Berger (drums, percussion), Kjell Westling (fiddle, saxophone, flute, guitar, piano), Roland Keijser (saxophone, clarinet, flute, organ) and Torsten Eckerman(trumpet and percussion). This music dwells in a very artistic sophisticated music area which flourished in a Sweden were everybody could play. The musicians are great but the compositions a bit boring. It's a mixture of folk music, art music and jazz and for many people I think this could be heaven. I am not amazed even if I admit this is good music. The first track i perhaps the best: "Damen i svart" (The lady in black) has a weeping cello and a very folky melody going around. In the end we meet great windwork. "Garbergsbrudens dödsmarsch" is a short and great folk song. I have earlier written I would have heard more folky stuff from A&F. The track "Arbete och fritid" seams improvised and is a bit boring beside of heavy rock style. "Mora-Nisses vallåt" is a modern melodical song with great windwork. This is a great track. The title refer to a Swedish skier Mora-Nisse Karlsson. "Esso motor hotel" is perhaps a pleasant track but it doesn't hit me. "Engelska kanalen" do not either turn me on but "Vind" is a nice track with deserving style.

Arbete & Fritid's first record is a good debut. It is better than "Andra lp" but not as interesting as "Se upp för livet" or as good as "Arbete och fritid" (their third record here on PA). But as I have mentioned before, if you are interested in the Swedish "progg" scene, this is an essential band. But not really my style.

Report this review (#964548)
Posted Friday, May 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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