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Agusa - Högtid CD (album) cover



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3 stars When I started listen to "Högtid" I imediately felt that this is high quality music which is unique and very well performed. I also noticed that I loves many aspects and I know that many of you would love this record, especially if you like psychedelic folk rock.

"Agusa" is a band from Malmö of southern Sweden. It's a new band which started last year and "Högtid" is therefore understandable their first record. The cover goes in the psychedelic style and the musicians are Tobias Pettersson(bass), Mikael Ödesjö(guitar), Dag Strömkvist(drums) and Jonas Berge(organ). Important for making this deep and interesting sound is Berge's organ.

The album starts with "Uti vår hage", inspired by the old Swedish folk song with the same name and which melody the band plays with. I like the though of the composition and it sounds good but the result is a bit to monotonic for me(7/10).

"Melodu från Sankt Knut" which comes then is the highlight of the album according to me. The music is light and hits the listener with the well performed and joyful melody(9/10). "Östan om sol, västan om måne" is also well played with good instrumentation and it contains fine and enjoyable themes, but the song as full is quite monotonic too(7/10). "Stigen genom skogen" has some fine instruments but the result is a little bit boring(5/10) and the conclusion "Kärlek från Agusa" is fine but too short(6/10).

Finally I can state that this is a high quality record with fine and folk inspired psychedelic music with a wonderful organ as main instrument. It's a part of a Swedish tradition with for example "Hansson & Karlsson" and "Bo Hansson" and more artists which have told mystic tales on organ. Though do this music contain to little melodies and interesting thing such as lyrics to really please me. I especially recommend "Melodi från St Knut", to anyone!

Report this review (#1221360)
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars If you enjoy Retro Prog with some psychedelic rock and Krautrock influences, this is an impressive output from this Swedish band. Mostly instrumental, the music is a display of swirling Hammond organ and ragged guitar riffs that takes you back to the 70's. Despite the longish songs, the melodic themes are running throughout the experimental and spacey excursions with a nice flow. The organ and guitars interplay is what the emphasis is on the album, but on the song "Stigen Genom Skogen", the drums gets their chance to build a momentum to follow the frenzy organ pace while the guitars take a first break before come back screaming at the end. If this album has some progressive rock structures, the guitars and organ soloing is definitely psychedelic. But everything fits so well that you don't get lost in the music searching for a melody. There's only 3 minutes of what seems like a bit of muddling passages at the beginning of the song "Östan om Sol, Västan om Måne", and where you can start wondering if the band is losing focus, but it was intended to create a interlude of stranger atmosphere before getting back to the flow of the music. Recommended!
Report this review (#1254569)
Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Swedish band AGUSA was formed at the start of 2013, with bassist Tobias Pettersson and guitarist Mikael Ödesjö the founding members, with drummer Dag Strömkvist and keyboardist Jonas Berge joining the ranks soon after. "Högtid" is their debut album, and was released through Swedish label Transubstans Records at the start of 2014.

What we're dealing with here is an album made by a band with a strong affection for early 70's psychedelic and progressive rock. Vintage and retro are words that define everything going on throughout this production, a case of true love and affection for a specific sound explored with warmth and care by musicians that know this type of music by heart.

The opening three compositions all contain some elements directly inspired by and to some degree oriented towards a folk or world music sound. Which adds a certain emphasis to the psychedelic charms of the band. The folky touches are less distinct on the final two tracks on this 5 track production, although I do suspect those with a better knowledge than me on such matters might find clues of that kind also in these compositions. Fourth track Stigen Genom Skogen is the only piece here that feature vocals, sparingly applied at the start of the song, otherwise this is an instrumental production.

Guitars and organ are the dominant instruments throughout, the former distinctly retro sounding and the latter, perhaps obviously, is the good, old Hammond used unless I'm much mistaken. The songs ebbs and flows between solo wandering by one or the other, frequently also combining them, with a varying degree of psychedelic tinged textures utilized. The most prominent example of this probably third track Östen om Sol, Västen om Måne, as this song revolves around an exotic sounding theme with a world music orientation.

Otherwise I found that this album gave me strong associations towards the earliest albums by Eloy, perhaps Inside in particular, due to the manner in which the organ is applied. Which arguably will place Agusa in more of a Krautrock tradition than a psychedelic one. Some additional touches, like the use of more playful and subtly jazzoriented details, brings a band like Camel to mind. Concluding track Kärlek från Agusa is the main example of that, a brief and spirited creation that should bring a joy-filled smile to the face of most people fond of mid 70's Camel.

Retro-oriented band excursions aren't difficult to come across these days, and many of them are indeed of high quality too. As far as I'm concerned Agusa are better and more accomplished than the greater majority of bands exploring a similar territory however. If this is due to the band exploring a sound that I personally treasure more than others may of course be the case, but the bands still strikes me as better and more accomplished than most others I have encountered. Be that as it may be, but if you have a strong affection for instrumental progressive rock with a psychedelic and subtle folk music tinge to it, explored within an early 70's framework, this is a band and an album you should investigate. Those who enjoy early 70's Eloy and similar sounding bands should be first in line, especially those amongst them that also have spent a fair share of time exploring Camel's mid 70's productions.

Report this review (#1358919)
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars AGUSA is a new band out of Sweden playing mostly instrumental music and they do like to jam bringing to mind FLASKET BRINNER at times. There is a definite Krautrock flavour in a few places and like others have mentioned this is 70's retro music all the way.

"Uti Var Hage" sounds really good once it kicks in well before a minute as the organ floats in the background. A change before 2 minutes as we get vocal melodies, drums and organ leading the way. Check out the bass before 3 minutes then the guitar after 4 minutes which is such a feel-good section. It settles right down 5 minutes in but then it starts to rebuild and it sounds fantastic with some ripping guitar. Pulsating organ after 6 1/2 minutes then we get another calm around 8 minutes in as the organ floats. It kicks back in after 9 1/2 minutes. "Melodi Fran St Knut" is a bright and upbeat tune with organ and drums standing out. The guitar joins in around the 3 minute mark then back to that earlier sound after 4 minutes. A calm follows with guitar then it starts to build again. Love the guitar after 6 minutes.

"Ostan Om Sol, Vastan Om Mane" opens with vocal melodies and atmosphere with picked guitar. This is very Krautrock-like. It kicks into a full sound after 4 minutes. The guitar starts to solo around 7 minutes as we also get some cool drum work. It all slows down with guitar 9 1/2 minutes in before it starts to build once again. "Stigen Genom Skogen" opens with growly organ and determined drums that remind me of Krautrock. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes then the guitar proceeds to light it up before we get a change a minute later as the tempo picks up. Man the drumming is so good and the organ is really prominant. The guitar is back 5 minutes in and it's just killing it. Back to the earlier soundscape before 6 minutes to end it. "Karlek Fran Agusa" is the short 3 minute closer that reminds me of CAMEL.

This is a pretty cool organ driven project that should impress all you fans of seventies Prog out there.

Report this review (#1382510)
Posted Saturday, March 14, 2015 | Review Permalink

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