Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Älgarnas Trädgård - Framtiden Är Ett Svävande Skepp, Förankrat I Forntiden CD (album) cover


Älgarnas Trädgård

Psychedelic/Space Rock

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars What a truly fascinating album this is! The album is actually entitled "Framtiden Ärr Et Svävande Skepp, Forinkrat i Forntiden", which, translates as "The Future is a Hovering Ship Anchored in the Past", which is also one of the song titles of the album. As you might guess, ÄLGARNAS TRADGARD is a Swedish band, but a truly unique band. Just imagine what would happen if the Krautrock scene happened in Sweden, rather than Germany. Just imagine bands like AMON DÜÜL II or ASH RA TEMPEL gone completely Nordic, then you get sort of an idea of what these guys are like. The band includes both modern (guitar, synthesizers, bass, drums/percussion, violin) and ethnic and archaic instruments (sitar, tabla, zinks, zither, rebec). It's truly a bizarre combination of Krautrock, prog, Indian, and Nordic folk music. Most of it is all instrumental, with only two cuts with vocals (in Swedish). If this isn't the epitome of a hippie band, then what is? After all, the guys of the band all look like long haired freaks, and the music sounds like it's LSD influenced.

Of interest is one of the band members is Jan Ternauld, he is also an artist, so he did the cover to this album as well. He also did covers for a couple of Bo HANSSON's albums, specifically "Magician's Hat" ( Ur Trollkarlens Hatt) and "Attic Thoughts" ( Mellanväsen). In fact, that's not the only Bo HANSSON connection you find with ÄLGARNAS TRADGARD, they also recorded for the same label, a small label called Silence Records (a label, in the early '70s that was very open to this kind of music - and is still around, and had reissued this on CD).

Regardless, if you fancy the idea of Krautrock with a Nordic bent, you gotta try this album out!

Report this review (#29178)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Give it 4,5 star!

Proghead (above) and Lise (in the bio page ) are both right to praise this album as it is a masterpiece in its own right. A true mix of acoustic and electric psychadelia and Folk Prog with excellent medieval dronal tones.

Side 1 is made of two lenghty tracks (13 min and 6 respectively)bound by some apocalyptic electronic noise to wake you from the grave, and they constitute the spine of the album . A short sung traditional folk song and a dronal jig start off side 2 , but the main attraction is Ring Of Saturn with another splendid improvisational instrumental groove being also the only really electric track on the album. The title track is a bit of an anti-climax being a tad too athmospheric after such a previous peak.

The two bonus tracks are absololutely essential with 5/4 another dronal groove and the fabulously tense Mirrors. If I must compare A T to other bands , I would say a cross of Gryphon , String Driven Thing , Third Ear Band , Comus . So you will understand that this is a superb example of Prog Folk.

Report this review (#41670)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Translated into English Älgarnas Trädgård (Garden of the Elks) were a Swedish psychedelic progressive rock band who released one fantastic album in 1971. Framtiden ar ett svavande skepp, forankrat i forntiden ('The future is a floating ship, anchored to antiquity') is a scrumptious album full of psychedelic twists and explorative tendencies which actually reminds me of German psych pioneers AMON DUULl II. This album is kind of a Melting pot of musical ideas blending folk and medieval influences with a true improvised feel throughout. They also have used a nice wide array of instruments including violins, cello, zither, sitar, tabla and flute along with more conventional bass, drums, guitars and keyboards. This unique album sounds to me more like krautrock meets Nordic folk music to me. A very relaxed album which never breaks out into anything too loud and makes for a great dinner conversation piece! A great album for the more adventuras ones.
Report this review (#45854)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have assigned this album a 5 because i think it is a masterpeice, this unknown band in my mind deserves to be rated one of my fravourite ever. I would love to hear any other albums similar to this if not to the same standard. However... this does not mean I would neccasarily reccomend this to anyone automatically. It is from most peoples point of view a very weird album and not in the comforting way of bands like the ozric tentacles or floyd. A trippy mixture of psychadelic rock and medieval folk for me is just perfection. Some tracks have a definite hawkwind feel minus vocals. I would definitely recommend this album to a fan of early floyd with a slight folky bent, a genuis of an album, its a real pity there's not many more.
Report this review (#50887)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars As one reviewer translated the title: "The Future is a Hovering Ship Anchored in the Past". It's a good translation for one of the best titles ever in the history of rock. It explains exactly what this music sounds like. The future (space inpired music/space rock) and the past (Medieval acoustic music). Do these musical directions belong in the same album? Älgarnas Trädgård proves that it does. The bonus tracks gives the album another dimention and fills the cd-format. If you appreciate odd music, this might be your cup of tea, but this is not just odd, it's beautyful!
Report this review (#66630)
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would like to thank progarchives for allowing me to find this strange but classic album, I would probably have never discovered it which is a pity because it is a hidden masterpiece.

This obscure dark, medieval, psychadelic, disturbing folk-rock work to me acheives a perfect mix between acoustic & electric, folk and psychadelia. This album seems to jump from idea to idea madly yet they somehow fit perfectly. The acoustic instruments with the swarming psychadelia build a very dark sound that is yet in no way depressive, it is the musical equivilant of espresso, black and dense yet uplifiting and makes you look a little strange.

If you like disturbingly weird music then you should definatly try and get hold of this album , if you don't then it will probably destroy your mind but I think you will still recognise it as a masterpeice of psychadelia.

This album has found its way onto many a myspace music list which I think is quite an acheivment for an album of its age and type.

Report this review (#100300)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is totaly outstanding album, although I don't think everyone would enjoy it. Psychedelic is too small word for this one. Besides it's psychedelic, rock arrangements it also contains of some folk music that sounds like some pogan ritual chants or something. It may look as this is pure chaos or something completely unlistenable at first time, but after a while it becomes clear that this is very clever and thought over music. It absorbs you in it's originality. In my opinion it deserves the highest rate but I know not everyone like that kind of experiments. So it's not essential but still extremely good. Highly recommended.
Report this review (#100403)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This album is a bit of a monster really as it blends Folk, Experimental, Psychedelic and Krautrock together. Ethnic instruments like tablas, sitar and zither are used to further set them apart from anything remotely traditional. This is unique, and it left me intrigued to say the least. Flute, violin, cello, mellotron, moog, bass, guitar, synths, percussion, piano,organ and jews harp round out the instrumentation. This is mostly instrumental with a guest female vocalist on one track and male vocals on another song, with some vocal melodies spinkled in.

"Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains With A Cuckoo On Each Side, Of The Hours...That Is" opens with what sounds like church bells. I'm not sure what the next sound is but it's liquid sounding. Mellotron waves, synths and then drums come in as the song starts to build. This is spacey with some violin. This sounds great ! It changes 8 minutes in as drums stop but violin continues with a different melody. Vocal melodies join in. A dissonant or confusing final minute. Impressive beginning. "There Is A Time For Everything,There Is A Time When Even Time Will Meet" opens with flute and percussion as different background sounds can be heard including a dog barking. Or is that my dog ? It stops 1 1/2 minutes in as a squeeky door slowly opens, and then a ticking clock can be heard followed by mournful violin and then sitar. The strings of an other instrument are slowly plucked for a pastoral conclusion. "Children Of Possibilities" is more of a folk song with a guest female vocalist and cello. "La Rotta" features drums,violin

"Viriditas" has these distant, reserved male vocals with piano and other sounds. "Rings Of Saturn" is my favourite song on here. This is where the guitar takes the lead and runs with it. It builds in strength with drums to create an amazing sound. It's like the guitar sounds are bouncing all around us. Over 7 minutes of Krautrock inspired jamming. "The Future Is A Hovering Ship, Anchored In The Past" is actually the title of this album, but in Swedish of course. Ok these song titles are making my head hurt. This is a dark and chilling soundscape that moves along slowly. Think "Saucerful Of Secrets" and you get the drift. I like it. The next two songs are live bonus tracks from the same concert, and make this recording even better by their inclusion. "5/4" is spacey and dark with mellotron. Drums come in as it builds. A full sound after 3 minutes with percussion and guitar. Fantastic sound ! The song calms right down before rebuilding with heavy drums. "The Mirrors Of Gabriel" opens quietly, slowly building as synths come in. Percussion creates a beat. The percussion stops 5 minutes in as the soundscape becomes haunting and eerie. The sound builds with heavy drums.

I really think anyone who is into experimental music will love this album, as well as Krautrock and Psychedelic fans. A very fine addition to my collection.

Report this review (#155463)
Posted Friday, December 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't give out 5 stars to albums that are not worthy of being considered perfection (or near perfection). This album is one that I can listen to over and over again, without getting tired of it. I recommend it to anyone who likes space rock and those who want to get into that trippy genre.

Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains With A Cuckoo On Each Side, Of The Hours... That Is - A very long title for a rather long piece. During those 13+ minutes, there is a blend of instruments, noises, and some magic. The strings are my favorite part of this track.

There Is A Time For Everything, There Is A Time When Even Time Will Meet - At this point, I'm starting to wonder what the band members were on when they recorded this. Probably my favorite track on the album. It begins with dog barks and what sounds like a flute, then with bells added. Once the strings come in, it becomes even more amazing.

Children Of Possibilities - The combination of strings and vocals is beautiful. This song is short and I wish it was longer. It is a lovely calm song.

La Rotta - This very short track has a great strings riff with nice percussion accompaniment. Though it is repetitive, it is wonderful with a hint of folk.

Viriditas - The song is atonal with stretched out vocals. It is interesting, but not beautiful.

Rings Of Saturn - The guitar dominates this track. It is essentially a long solo, with other instruments in the background. It is very spacey.

The Future Is A Hovering Ship, Anchored In The Past - This track is slow without much going on, reminiscent of classical music. It's not a very memorable track.

5/4 - It starts out simple and slow, building up to a blend of percussion. As one might guess from the title, that part is in 5/4. Once the other instruments come in, it becomes more and more upbeat, with odd rhythms.

The Mirrors Of Gabriel - This track reminds me very much of both classical music and Univers Zero. It sounds like a slow march for something sinister. I think it would fit well in a fantasy movie introducing the villains.

Report this review (#184291)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This Swedish band investigated several musical orientations: psychedelic, folk, even heavy prog at times like during the long opening number which is quite hard to describe. Quite dark and repetitive, the music never lifts off really. These "Two Hours..." are a difficult way to approach the universe of "Älgarnas Trädgård".

I prefer the folkish atmosphere of "There Is A Time?": nice fluting and some fine sitar conveys a deep melancholic feel. I discovered this work only lately (some three or four years ago), and I was expecting some more due to the high ratings I could read on PA. When I listen to "Children of Possibilities", "La Rotta" or "Viriditas", I can't feel any emotion at all: medieval stuff with little savour to my taste. The last one is particularly painful (mainly due to the "vocals").

The first truly great track is the totally disjointed and psychedelic "Rings Of Saturn". Sure that they didn't only smoke cigarettes while playing this gorgeous psyche hymn. Lots of Floyd influences: just listen to the drumming which is not far from STCOTHOTS ("Set The Control?") and of course the mighty ASOS for the loose (but great) approach. The highlight with no doubt nor discussion.

But still, this sounds a bit too "short" to make a masterpiece out of this album. I also quite like the closing and title song ("The Future?"). It sounds as a TD travel into the high spheres of the universe and is more in line with what I understand as psychedelic / space rock music. Still, don't expect any of the great and beautiful synth parts as the masters would have displayed.

I would say that fortunately enough, the latest CD edition offers two bonus tracks which prolong the "Framtiden?" adventure for almost twenty minutes (or half of the length of the original album).

The first one ("5/4") is some sort of extension of the closing track: a gentle psyche song which is adding thick Oriental layers to it. The song is rather hypnotic and works very well indeed. How did the band prefer to release the original album with several avoidable and short songs instead, is quite a mystery.

"The Mirrors Of Gabriel" is a very tranquil song which borrows to the early Crimson. Fine keyboards, some oppressive mood. I compare it with a enhanced version of "Moonchild". While it gets towards the end, the early Floydean feel prevails.

Thanks to the bonus material, I rate this album with three stars. No more actually. It sounds somewhat overrated here.

Report this review (#248433)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It was the front cover that drew me to this one. It's great isn't it?

The music begins off a bit on the dreary side with lots of strings that sound slightly off key sounding like it's straight out of the 14th Century. Things pick up dramatically after 10 minutes where it starts to sound very Tuetonic and heavy with a lot of chanting in amongst the doom laden atmosphere. Electronic strangeness follows and now you realise that this ain't no ordinary fare. Barking dogs, tin whistles, creaking doors, chickens and a sitar all appear out of nowhere making this opening 19 minute track a big success in my view, although a very unusual one.

There's very good use of 'space' throughout this album with just the right number of things going on at once. The main influences appear to be folk and mediaeval. I'm losing track of the number of instruments used - now there's Jews harp, zither and tablas at play. There were six members after all - I guess they all wanted a piece ot the action, and what a bunch of dodgy reprobates they look!

'La Rotta' has some really cool high pitched electric guitar with heavy delay. 'Rings of Saturn' has large reverbed vocals with cello and percussion producing a very spooky atmosphere. 'Viriditas' is a traditional mediaeval tune but for the life of me I can't remember who composed it. I do know that 'Dead Can Dance' used it in 1990 on 'Aeon' The title track just sounds like a graveyard shrouded in fog. The two bonus tracks fit nicely with the original album, unfortunately the recording quality is pretty crumby.

The only comparisons I can think of are 'International Harvester', bits of 'Archimedes Badkar' or some of the stranger parts of Floyd's 'Ummagumma'

I don't like handing out 5 stars willy-nilly, it nullifies your credibility as a reviewer but this really is fully deserving and clearly is a masterpiece of its genre. Timeless, undated and highly original. What a great band!

Report this review (#398202)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Although classified here in space rock, in approach this album is much like the Krautrock albums of the era - though given that German "cosmic rock" was so incredibly heavily influenced by early space rock (as pioneered by Floyd on A Saucerful of Secrets) the overlap between the two genres is heavy. Nonetheless, it's easy enough to hear the influence of the likes of Popol Vuh on this album... the trouble is, whilst these guys wheel out all the folk-world- Kraut-psych tools, they don't deliver them with nearly the same degree of charm, compositional proficiency, or sheer emotive power that the likes of Popol Vuh, Ash Ra Tempel, and others were attaining at the same time. To be honest, find this album to be extremely overrated; there's a natural tendency to overreact to obscure or overlooked albums that you've rediscovered, but in this case I'm not convinced there was much here worth rediscovering. Not incompetent, but not very good either. Two stars only.
Report this review (#500623)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
5 stars Original like a midget in a diving suit playing basket ball.

There is a lot of benefits from being Sweden´s next door neighbor. Each year around summertime when people start their vacations, you´ll see copious amounts of Swedes visiting Denmark to take advantage of our cheap and tasty beer and maybe look at the local wildlife. I´ve met so many great characters this way, and whether you´re at Roskilde Festival or at the beach - there is always that guy asking you for snus.... Just kidding. The biggest attribute about living nextdoor is however, that it´s very easy to get a hold of some damn exciting music made in Sweden throughout the 60s and 70s. This is no exception, and to tell you guys that I´m excited about this very release, would be a small understatement.

I´ve always said, that some of the best music often eludes categorisations, and Främtiden ar ett svävande Skepp simply cannot be thrown into a box: You´re a reindeer!! Deal with it!!!! What we have here is an album with a sound, which bears resemblance to absolutely nothing else. It´s like trying to tell people how Van Der Graff Generator sounds like, if they haven´t heard them. "Erm - it´s like dramatic......right? Ehhh and there´s like you know a wild saxophone happening as well...."

The album starts out with something like church bells seeping into a stagnant hovering organ and some electronic drip drips mimicing that of a wet limestone cave. At the same time it sounds like slowly turning off a tap. Sleepy drums starts banging to the swaying and disturbing violins - playing some eerie folk music that creeps over you like a ghost with a knife in its teeth. Maybe this is how music sounded like in the old viking strongholds, when they were drunk out of their minds from heavy mead drinking -and tripping on the red fly agaric... At one point the band starts chanting together with a strange violin section - and you´re hit with some truly original, barking mad and yet very beautiful - as it withers away into crickets buzzing and churping and a wild blowing wind - for then to be swept away into an electronic cry that shifts and turns, bobs and writhes.

What this music sounds like is almost impossible to convey in words. It´s psychedelic, folky, Kraut, evil, sheep-heardingly comfy and then again quite the opposite. The RIO lovers around here should definitely check out this wonderful album, as it from time to time dabbles in some weird vocal sections that emanates a certain feel of unease and bewilderment. Although not credited, I´m pretty sure that it´s a woman singing the third song here, and along with the triangle in the back, the Swedish folk aura of the violins together with her haunting vocals - I suddenly hear some strong parallels to Italian band Opus Avantra.

Then again, when you hear a lot of these tracks frolicking in spacey synth land with psychedelic pounding drums, jew harp, cello, flute, sitar, tablas - with hand claps and people in the back tripping and singing, -one could very easily be lured into thinking that this album actually is Krautrock. Perhaps, but genres are so boring and they mean absolutely nothing compared to the actual music they contain. Saturnus Ringa sounds like a mixture of Gila´s first record blended up together with some Neu! motoriks and clingy clangy electronical wizardry. The violins suddenly starts appearing birdlike and cacophonous, and there´s a brilliant space kadet guitar playing like it´s on fire. This music just gives me chills!

Creeek crack - like the start of a horror movie the cabinet opens to the last track - and with some creepy organ and almost Faust like synths, the music staggers along like a triumphant old man strolling his last walk - thinking about back when women wore dresses and guys smoked cigarettes.

This album will not be for everybody that´s for sure, but once you penetrate the outer layering of this strange and jello like music - maybe you´ll hear the unsurpassed psychedelic masterpiece, just as I do.

Report this review (#512060)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars It doesn't require much hindsight to understand why this obscure Swedish outfit never attracted anything more than a cult audience. Ignore the fact that they released only one album, with an impenetrable title (in whatever language you translate it), and that it likely wasn't heard too often outside Scandinavia. The music must have been a major hurdle all by itself, even in the more adventurous climate of the early 1970s. And today it remains stubbornly oblique, in an arcane sort of way.

The immediate reaction after my own belated exposure (forty years late, but who's counting?) was one of déjà vu. Here was yet another Saucerful of the same Floydian Secrets that had fostered a trail of stepchildren across the darker corners of Continental Europe in the early '70s.

But the Älgarnas gang took that familiar Space Rock recipe and added a few local spices, including a rich vein of ancient folk music; lots of neo-pagan psychedelia; some enigmatic jamming not far removed from classic Krautrock; and a vivid atmosphere of Nordic mystery, rolling eastward over the Baltic Sea toward the Ural Mountains and beyond. Maybe it's the heavy tolling bells, or the hand drums and zithers, but to me the music evokes something the great Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev might have been jiving to as he fled the Tartar hordes in the 15th century.

And yet the album looks forward as well, with the calm dispassion of a counterculture Janus. The live bonus tracks on the 1995 CD reissue exhibit an almost Post Rock intensity, years ahead of their time. Like most of the album proper the additional music is entirely instrumental, but it wouldn't be hard to imagine someone like Ian Curtis improvising manic- depressive lyrics on top. (Japanese imports add a further concert sample: the playful and archaic "Medeltidsinto På Gärdet", complete with novelty toy cow lowing.)

If the band had formed a few hundred kilometers south, in late '60s Germany, they might be a household name by now (at least in smarter neighborhoods populated by discriminating Krautrockers). But that same cultural isolation is a part of what makes their one album so unique. Älgarnas Trädgård appeared to exist in its own private, wintry universe, and the general lack of traditional rock 'n' roll dynamics helped give the music a dreamy, drifting quality, casting an uncertain spell that hasn't weakened over the four-plus decades since it was first created.

Report this review (#890057)
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was excited to hear this album. When I was small and collected Swedish "progg" this was a record I never bought, it was too expensive and I never found it on a flea market eather. Well, I hadn't missed anything. No there was not much interesting with this record. I like experimenting but then there have to be a melody in it or at least a more soft harmony than this.

Framtiden är ett svävande skepp förankrat i forntiden was released in 1972, an otherwise very good music year and they were influenced by Pink Floyd, Terry Riley and similar spaced music. The first song "Två timmar över två blå berg med en gök på avrdera timmarna alltså" is the first track. It is quite long and meaningless. It's getting better in the end with some voices and a little melody (3/10). Next song "Det finns en tid för allt, det finns en tid då även tiden möts" is significantly better with a more interesting soundshape, a church bell, indian instruments and some nice string work (6/10). What's good with next track "Möjligheternas barn" is the singer Margareta Söderberg of whom I have a great album "Kärringtand" (also featured Arbete & Fritid). She sung well and the lyrics are surrealistic but song song as a unit is bad (5/10). "Tristans klagan" the shortest piece, is also the best. Here lies a nice folk song played by violin and cello on a dark background (7/10). "Viriditas" is a terrible piece of crap (1/10). "Saturnus ringar" proves good musicality with a groovy rock feeling but it tells me nothing (3/10). The last song "Framtiden är ett svävande skepp förankrat i forntiden" is also very bad, unsharp and annoying.

It feels they didn't want anything with their music but perhaps they did what they were supposed to do. Obviously there are people who enjoy it and it's good for them. I'm glad I hav'nt spend any money on this. Okey, no more Älgarnas trädgård for me. I was tempted to give this one star but as you see I give it two weak stars.

Report this review (#955568)
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Garden of the Elks", as the band's name is in English, was founded in Göteborg, Southern Sweden, in 1969, and was originally called Innerst Inne. That name would have fit even better for this unique group. During their five-year existence they released only one album (another was released posthumously in 2001, titled simply "Delayed") with a peculiar, philosopohical title about the future being a ship anchored in the past. Dag Erik Asbjörnsen's book describes the album nicely: it's like Pink Floyd's Ummagumma, except that this time Sisyphus is pushing a snow ball up the hill in a Scandinavian pinewood inhabited by trolls. In other words, the music is deeply psychedelic, progressive folk, or "world music" with experimental Krautrock features.

The selection of instruments brings together ethnic, exotic things and the evolution in synthesizers. Tolling bells start the long opening track ("Two hours over two blue mountains, with a cuckoo on each side... of the hours, that is") which changes from a meditative first half featuring pushy violins into an almost nightmarish soundscape with special effects. More effects are heard on the next track, as well as some fluent flute and colourful percussion, plus a delicate 2-minute sitar solo in the end. 'Möjligheternas Barn' (Children of possibilities) features guest vocals by folk artist Margareta Söderberg. 'Viriditas' offers yet another kind of sound painting with chiming piano and a male voice as if heard from a distance.

One of the strongest moments in the album is 'Saturnus ringar' (Rings of Saturn), an intensive trip starring electric guitar and drums, which could be a true Krautrock classic. For those enjoying dark, experimental psychedelia with ethnic elements this album might be a unique masterpiece, but a more average music listener hardly has much to relate to here. Actually my four stars have at least one extra star if my personal enjoyment of this album is considered... But I can't say there wasn't a lot of vision and emotion. Wonderful cover art is odd enough for the music!

Report this review (#1059254)
Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is another record that is more than the sum of its parts. Definitely proto space rock mixed with traditional folk pieces, the record is a legitimate cult classic and certainly a highlight of early experimental rock music in Scandinavia. The music doesn't seem like it belongs to any era or genre and the instrumentation will truly enthrall the educated listener. This is another example of the rewards of listening to and studying progressive rock music - I mean, I'm no post rock expert, but my opinion is all post rock conceived owes this album a debt of gratitude. 4.5 stars and a great place to start an obscure prog collection
Report this review (#2009519)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2018 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD (Garden of the Elk) may very well have been the Swedish version of England's Comus when they emerged as one of the earliest freak folk infused psychedelic rock bands that in addition jumped into the progressive fueled rock arenas of the early 1970s. Having formed in Gothenburg in 1969, the band made its first appearance on Christmas day as Innerst Inne but changed the moniker the following year when the band played several local gigs and participated in the Gärdetfesten in medieval dress. All of this exposure caught the interest of the Stockholm based Silence Records who was jumping on the bandwagon of signing new bands that captured the psychedelic zeitgeist of the freak folk / prog rock era.

In 1972 the band released its first and only album (excluding archival releases), the long winded titled FRAMTIDEN ÄR ETT SVÄVANDE SKEPP, FÖRANKRAT I FORNTIDEN ("The Future is a Floating Ship Anchored in Antiquity"). Upon reading the track titles, it seems that there are more words on the album cover than there are in the entire album as this is mostly cosmic Krautish psychedelia with only the track "Möjligheternas Barn" (Children Of Possibilities) having any significant vocal contributions along with a few other examples and in this case only performed by the guest appearance of Margareta Söderberg who performs a haunting traditional Scandinavian folk song laced with drugged out sound effects and Pagan ritualistic overtones.

FRAMTIDEN ÄR ETT SVÄVANDE SKEPP, FÖRANKRAT I FORNTIDEN is a true cosmic journey into the farthest out trips set about in a bizarre amalgamation of styles. While the haunting string torture of the violin and viola set in a folk style bring Comus to mind, the compositions themselves are more a classically infused Olivier Messiaen influenced cosmic parade that borrows some of the guitar bombast of King Crimson along with tribal percussive drives as well as some of the very first primitive sampling and remixing that worked in tandem with neighboring Germany's Krautrock scene, most notably of Can. While psychedelically over the top and striving to break free from all known reality and Earthly gravitational pull, the folky elements belie the intent and keep this freak folk / psych rock experience from drifting to the dark side of the moon.

The opening track "Två Timmar Över Två Blå Berg Med En Gök På Vardera Sidan, Om Timmarna, Alltså (Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains With A Cockoo On Each Side Of The Hours..that Is)" not only boasts the lengthiest title of the seven tracks but is also the longest running that easily glides past the 13 minute mark and runs the gamut of alien sounding cosmic drips to a full fledged Viking ritual complete with wordless vocal chants towards the end but also hosts a plethora of progressive electronic elements that ensure a wickedly wild ride with flutterings of classical flute and piano to be heard. The ending is particularly bizarre. The album flows quite nicely as one track cedes into the next but each creating a distinct vibe, an idiosyncratic feel and elaborate change in stylistic approach. The following "Det Finns En Tid För Allt, Det Finns En Tid Då Även Tiden Möts (There Is A Time For Everything, There Is A Time When Even Time Will Meet)" continues the freak folk flavors with a cheery flute performance while avant-garde classical sounds dance with electronic wizardry.

The instrumental free for all is interrupted only once by the Swedish language vocal track "Möjligheternas Barn (Children Of Possibilities)" which adds a human touch with the female divine belting out operatic lyrics accompanied only by a screechy violin and viola duet with cosmic freakery inserted for good measure. "Tristans Klagan (La Rotta)" is a short primeval jig that sounds like something you would hear at a Renaissance fair without psychedelic accoutrements but "Viriditas" bounces back into planet mondo bizarro with a strangely timed mix of piano and some sort of strange sampling effect that is slowed down with clever time manipulations. This is the other track with Swedish vocals only sung by one of the male members and subdued beneath the strange mix that prognosticates some of the 90s electronica genres by two decades.

The final tracks "Saturnus Ringar (Rings Of Saturn)" and the ending title track revert back to how the album began with a stranger emphasis on the Krautish rock elements rather than the folk with heavily muddled guitar fuzz and aural atmospheric ambience that hazes over the horizon ever threatening to supersede the jazzy drumming beats and Achim Reichel styled guitar riffs. The newer editions have many bonus tracks that were nixed and destined for inclusion on a second album which never came to be. The band actually had a long run from 1969-76 but still only managed to squeak out this one debut album. The band began to split right down the middle as half the band wanted to venture into a more rock style while the others opted for an extreme minimalist approach. While multiple tracks were recorded, none would see the light of day until the album "Delayed" emerged as an archival release in 2001.

While i would love to take credit for one of the coolest descriptions of ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD's music, i have to say that it came from another fan who opined: "young amateur bastard-gods from a parallel universe swinging through the machinery of time, traversing non-historical oceans and weedgreen valleys with a cuckoo on each side. if music is human, this is not music. if music is irrational, this is the purest pure of pure music you can think of." This poetic prose says it all and yet says nothing much like the musical experience of ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD itself that on one hand was very much in the Germanic music family of Krautrock but yet kept a safe distance with local folk flavors and strong classical underpinnings. While the music is tantamount to an ethereal cosmic escape from reality it is also a tribute to the Pagan gods that allow the rationality of sound to be interpreted. Considered one of the inspirations for bands far and wide such as Japan's psychedelic band Ghost, ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD created a unique psychedelic experience quite similar yet quite distinct from its contemporaries. Not an instant love for me but one that had to weasel its way into my subconscious.

Report this review (#2232090)
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD Framtiden Är Ett Svävande Skepp, Förankrat I Forntiden ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD Framtiden Är Ett Svävande Skepp, Förankrat I Forntiden

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.