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Gösta Berlings Saga

Eclectic Prog

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Gösta Berlings Saga Glue Works album cover
3.81 | 141 ratings | 5 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 354 (5:54)
2. Icosahedron (3:12)
3. Island (12:58)
4. Gliese 581g (5:53)
5. Waves (2:55)
6. Geosignal (2:22)
7. Soterargartan 1 (12:51)

Total Time 46:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Einar Baldursson / guitars
- David Lundberg / Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, synths
- Gabriel Hermansson / bass, Moog bass pedals
- Alexander Skepp / drums & percussion

- Mattias Olsson / sounds & Fx, producing & mixing
- Fredrik Carlzon / French horn, trumpet
- Ulf Akerstedt / bass tuba, bass & contrabass trumpets, bass harmonica
- Cecilia Linné / cello
- Leo Svensson / musical saw

Releases information

Artwork: Alexander Skepp

LP Diskret Förlag- Diskret #6 (2011, Sweden)

CD Cuneiform Records- Rune 319 (2011, Europe)

Thanks to Todd for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA Glue Works ratings distribution

(141 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA Glue Works reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars

Who is Gösta Berling and why did he name his band after the Canadian synthrockers?

I jest of course. There is no Gösta Berling unless you count the defrocked minister from the Lagerlöf novel and Jethro Tull-like namesake of the group, and frankly if you really want the straight poop on this disc; the scuttlebutt, the word, skinny, dish, and hearsay, I'd suggest reading Starless' excellent write-up. My main parting with his fine assessment is that I do find Glue Works focuses strongly on building layered themes upon simple structures rather than material that is change-oriented. Kinda sounds like what you'd get if you threw half the Ozrics and half of Anglagard in a room together for a day or two. And then there's that Hansson&Karlsson influence. It's a strange mix but that's okay, it works, and it sounds like the kind of thing you'd regret tossing five or ten years from now. Sadly it's not an approach that does a whole lot for this writer. The project functions on paper, but somehow the music doesn't stick and seems to evaporate as it plays leaving little residual flavor. I do wish this were not the case for the 46 minute Cuneiform release, but you call 'em like you see 'em.

There is some very good stuff here, however, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point it out. '354' promises with an intriguing vamp of thin, tingly lines from Einar Baldursson's guitar & Dave Lundberg's electric piano splayed over the tribal drumming of Alex Skepp. A good start. Atonal 'Icosahedron' clearly reflects the Hansson/Karlsson impact while painfully long 'Island' at over twelve minutes creaks along to the beautifully recorded cellos of Cecilia Linne, wayward sounds of an aetherphone, and develops into a very cool jam that, if tailored, could've been a highlight. But the piece is dragged-out to it's breaking point and doesn't really capitalize on this outfit's potential brilliance. A welcome change of pace for 'Waves' reminding vaguely of early Peter Gabriel, and 13-minute monster 'Sorterargatan 1' is quite good, the foursome finally bringing it with multiple changes of theme, direction, pace and instrumentation.

This is a good record. Very good. And I know I must be missing something. I wanted more, I wanted less, I don't know what I wanted, and it isn't really the band's fault that I'm such a nitpicking assh*le. This is an album that can only be judged by the listener while he is listening, not defined by an outside impression. And so dear reader, with gaping ear and hungry spirit, you should decide for yourself if GBS fits your bill. I only know it didn't quite fit mine.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars GOSTA BERLINGS SAGA are back with their special blend of Swedish instrumental Prog. Once again ANGLAGARD's Mattias Olsson is back to help with additional sounds as well as producing,recording and mixing this baby. All I had to see was that David Lundberg was once again playing Fender Rhodes and mellotron to know this would be good. Like the last one we get a Post-Rock flavour at times but I will say right off the bat that the last one is a better album than this one. Still I definitely rate this better than the debut and a solid 4 stars.

"354" opens with guitar as a beat then the Fender Rhodes join in. I like the prominant bass as well. A spacey almost theremin-like sound takes over at 4 minutes and when it stops this sounds amazing. Quite intense. "Icosahedron" kicks in fuller just before a minute as the guitar is picked over top. It settles 2 1/2 minutes in to the end.

"Island" opens with cello and that theremin-like sound again.The drums kick in before 2 minutes.The guitar comes to the spotlight before 4 1/2 minutes as this song just keeps getting better. "Gliese 581G" has a Post-Rock flavour to start.The guitar kicks in at 4 minutes to the end. "Waves" is a short tune with a heavy beat and mellotron.

"Geosignal" has some harmonica, horns, piano, guitar and atmosphere. It blends into "Sorterargatan I" where a full sound kicks in quickly. Almost a Zeuhl-like rhythm especially with that growly bass sound after 1 1/2 minutes as the guitar plays over top. A calm follows with mellotron. It's building then that Zeuhl-like bass returns after 4 1/2 minutes. A calm a minute later then it starts to build 7 1/2 minutes in. Cello 9 minutes in then mellotron before 10 1/2 minutes.

"Glue Works" is an excellent follow-up to the masterpiece that was "Detta Har Hant".

Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was beginning to suspect that progressive rock was getting a bit stagnant. That was until G'sta Berlings Saga blew everyone away at NEARfest. I found their previous album 'Detta Har H'nt' impressive but it was the songs from 'Glue Works' that had me leaning forward in amazement with my mouth hanging open. After the show the line for buying a CD was as long as the line to meet the band. I waited in both, and yes my CD is signed.

The music has been labeled as Eclectic Prog, but I think it leans more toward RIO or Rock in Opposition. This is because the most obvious influences I hear are bands like Univers Zero and Henry Cow that started the movement in the first place. But of course there are other influences as well. Which is why Eclectic is the catch all for bands that are impossible to pin down. The labels fit but artists do tend to evolve. Over the years many artists form other genres have incorporated elements the original bands created and those designated as RIO have expanded their boundaries, thus making them more eclectic. Even fellow Swedes 'nglag'rd now sound more RIO than Symphonic. This really comes as no surprise since Mattias Olsson produced 'Glue Works.'

Regardless of what label to apply, on 'Glue Works' G'sta Berlings Saga has recorded some of the best music ever to pass through these aging ears. The blend of chamber music, jazz and rock has rarely been executed with so much beauty and aggressive passion. The band has been together for a long time now but the musicians have not gotten old enough to lose their youthful fire. Luckily that wasn't just saved for the stage because they captured it in the studio as well.

Every mood and style is perfectly tooled and keeps the listener engaged. As with most bands of this ilk the music is generally on the darker side but it never goes to the side of depressing. Usually composing music this complex and dense hinders the accessibility. 'Glue Works' should have no problem bringing in the new initiate. 'Waves' has a hooky little groove and the intense jam band build of 'Island' is impossible to turn away from. Even the soothing jazz organ on 'Gliese 58lg' is kept intriguing with some well placed percussion touches, until it turns into a guitar jam. Things like string instruments, mellotron, chimes, wailing guitar, horns and grooving bass are all integrated seamlessly. Only vocals are omitted but you won't miss them.

I could go on with more specific description of the individual tracks but that wouldn't do them justice. As Haju Sunim at the Buddhist Temple often says, 'Words fall short.' As is most often true, and especially here (good) music really needs to be heard for complete understanding.

Okay this isn't exactly easy music. It does require that you pay attention to be fully appreciated. We aren't talking simple songs here. This is grown up music (like much of what I choose to review). I do not however think you have to be a progressive/complex music aficionado to enjoy 'Glue Works.' When music as a whole has been standing pretty much still for a couple of decades now, I feel I must promote something as unique and outstanding as this is. If music is to move forward, artists like G'sta Berlings Saga are already leading the way. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Then you can feel the satisfaction of being here when it was cutting edge.

H.T. Riekels

Latest members reviews

4 stars Gösta Berlings Saga are really maturing into a stylistically diverse, highly original, and most importantly really cool-sounding band. I was overjoyed to find this CD on the shelves of my local music store (cursed as I was by the impression that these guys would remain inaccessibly Swedish forever) ... (read more)

Report this review (#654399) | Posted by Zargasheth | Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Named after a famous 19th century Swedish novel, the story of a defrocked church minister with added sword and sorcery, this band has a lineage that one can trace back through Anekdoten, the recently reformed Änglagård, and older influences such as Hansson & Karlsson, the ubiquitous King Crimson, ... (read more)

Report this review (#459057) | Posted by Starless | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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