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Bo Hansson

Symphonic Prog

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Bo Hansson Magician's Hat album cover
3.58 | 61 ratings | 6 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The City (7:20)
2. Divided Reality (6:17)
3. Elidor (1:34)
4. Before The Rain (1:31)
5. Fylke (1:50)
6. Playing Downhill Into The Downs (1:39)
7. Findhorn's Song (1:43)
8. Awakening (2:43)
9. Wandering Song (3:13)
10. The Sun (Parallel Or 90°) (7:07)
11. Excursion With Complications (3:23)

Total Time: 38:20

Bonus track on 2004 CD:
12. Big City (11:28)


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Bo Hansson / organ, guitar, slide bass, synthesizers
- Sten Bergman / flute
- Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone, flute
- Rune Carlsson / drums, congas, bell
- Pelle Ekman / drums
- Göran Freese / saxophone
- Owe Gustavsson / bass
- Kenny Håkansson / guitar
- Bill Öhrstrom / congas
- Bobo Stensson / electric piano

Releases information

LP Silence SRS 4615 (1972, Sweden, entitled "'Ur Trollkarlens Hatt")
LP Charisma CAS-1073 (1973, USA)
LP Charisma FC-6062 (1973, USA)

LP Charisma CHC 8 (1983, UK)
LP EMI 5C 054-95109 (Holland)

CD Silence/Resource Records RESCD 509 (1993, Sweden)
CD One Way 33655 (1996, USA)
CD Silence Records SRSCD 3615 (2000, Sweden)
CD EMI Records 8644472 (2004, UK, Remastered, with 1 bonus track)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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Buy BO HANSSON Magician's Hat Music

Magician's HatMagician's Hat
One Way Records Inc 1996
Audio CD$39.99
$52.32 (used)
Magician's HatMagician's Hat
Import · Remastered
EMI Import 2004
Audio CD$87.48
$27.00 (used)
Magician's Hat by Bo Hansson (2004-12-14)Magician's Hat by Bo Hansson (2004-12-14)
EMI Import
Audio CD$197.96

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BO HANSSON Magician's Hat ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

BO HANSSON Magician's Hat reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An excellent follow up to the Lord Of The Rings, Magician's Hat showed off Hansson's prowess in great guitar work, slide bass and just general composition and strength of the work. Magician's Hat is different to it's predecessor but equally as good. Listen out for songs like ' Divided reality', ' Awakening' and the epic slow jam of ' The Sun parallel or 90 degrees)'. The cover work again was a great plus on all Bo Hansson's releases too. There is a definite mysticism to all Hansson's works, maybe it is the Scandinavian air, who knows but the purity of his sound has not dated even all these years later.Magician's Hat gets a worthy 4 stars.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The (only) four solo albums released by Bo Hansson during the seventies are now by many considered of a cult status. Apart his first and most famous record inspired by Lord of the Rings, his music, despite not as widely known as it should be, is really very interesting and different to the whole prog movement of that era. The second record titled Magician's Hat (1972) is there to remember there was then a man from Sweden who sounded so varied and unespected melodies.

His multi-instrumental-skills and his wide range of composing ideas are well evident in this album. What the hell does rapresent in this album a quasi-south-american influence in part of its songs? Well, he was helped, as usual, by other good musicianswho provided their abilities on saxophones, flutes, pianos and congas, along with other kinds of drums and percussions.

He, the "Bo" man, is known as a master of organs, keyboards and synthesizers, but he is also quite a good guitarist. Magician's Hat is all intrumentally performed and it's very difficult to describe or to put in a specific genre of prog. If I had to describe it (this is what I'm searching to do, after all), I would say it's a sort of a marching band, inceasingly passing between various countries of the world through the roots of northern mythology. The rythm is almost always not very fast but with the positive remark of continuous variations and bright colours. By the way, the work is not based on complicated and fast series of notes. It's relaxing and somehow manage to catch the attention of the listeners for its curious passages. Sometimes it seems the author is searching in a classic cathalog, other times he mix a strong northern folk influence with the then rising star of symphonic prog.

All the various elements I've described can be found in the excellent opener "Big City" (in its extended version on my 2004 remastered cd reissue). 11,29 minutes of true original stuff, not many comparisons to be found, fortunately (and finally!). And so on with the remaining 10 tracks, along with the two extra tracks the grace the remastered version. A unique artist, a distinctive figure in all the classic prog scene, despite of the lack of more wide success. This work cannot be underlooked by the legions of prog rock fans we have on this site.

3.5 stars

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Conjouring up some jazz

Bo Hanson became widely known not long after Mike Oldfield had enjoyed astronomical success with "Tubular bells" and was therefore unfairly branded, something of a copy cat. Hansson had in fact been around since the 1960's, initially as part of a duo, who were taken under the wing of Jimi Hendrix, supporting him on tour.

His solo albums, while popular in his native Sweden, took some time to make any impact in the lucrative markets of the US and the UK, giving the impression he was a follower rather than a leader.

Like Oldfield, multi-instrumentalist Hanson's albums consist of long complex instrumental works, mostly performed by himself. "Magician's hat" find him allowing his jazz influences to come to the fore more than they do on albums such as "Lord of the rings" or "Attic thoughts".

The tracks tend to run together to form a coherent whole, with saxophone (played by Göran Freese and Gunnar Bergsten) regularly taking centre stage. Possibly because of this, the album, and especially the longer opening track "The city" has a much more improvised feel than might be expected. The other longer track on side one, "Divided reality" initially sounds like a cover version of the Moody Blues "Nights in white satin" before Hansson sets out on a decent virtuoso organ performance. There is a definite "Tubular bells" feel along the way here too. The side plays out with four short but diverse pieces, with side two opening in a similar manner. "Awakening" is among the more interesting of these, offering a strange mix of harmonica, guitar and organ.

The feature track on side two is "The sun" (subtitled "Parallel or 90 degrees", the name adopted by another band in this site), which sees Hansson moving into jazzier territory once more, the piece being centred around electric piano to which he adds some virtuoso guitar. The album plays out with an upbeat and rather funky "Excursion with complications".

Given my natural aversion to most things jazz, "Magician's hat" does not rank among my favourite Bo Hannson albums. That aside though, this is a finely crafted , well performed set, with good diversity and some enjoyable passages.

Bo Hansson is now in his 60's and has apparently retired from music due to ill health. That said, he has become something of a legendary figure in his homeland, first hand news of him being hard to come by.

Review by Rivertree
4 stars The Sun - parallel to the Magician's Hat

Another album which obsesses me since the 70s because It has a fascinating and very special atmosphere (which only nordic men can accomplish?). First of all one thing is to note: this is not only Bo Hansson as the mastermind who composed the songs supported by some other instruments. This is a compelling collective of musicians on the same level which offers a very unique style with a wonderful relaxed atmosphere. A production which is hardly ro describe, much more Jazz influenced but surely with symphonic elements of course and often with an orchestral or big band character.

The extended version Big City is a very good opener with intensive saxophone playing, variety with the speed and rhythm, somewhat like a little musical. Divided Reality is more acoustic guitar driven with a great base melody. The next 7 tracks are mellow short episodes. They all have not more than 3 minutes length and were performed with a different emphasis. Great guitar work and a jazzy electric piano on The Sun (Parallel Or 90°) are yielding a hypnotic jam which was my favourite since I first noticed the Magician's Hat. The last song Excursion with Complications unfortunately lacks of inspiration in my opinion but this cannot weaken my summary: you'll never be sick of this music - that's what I can promise. 4.5 stars for this album.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Bo Hansson's second album, despite the title, moves away from the mystic, fantastic realms explored on his Lord of the Rings album in favour of moving into fusion territory, as well as giving more of a platform for his guitar playing. It's all quite competently done, but at the same time I feel that it ends up feeling a bit emotionless and generic, the loss of the Lord of the Rings concept leading to a situation where Hansson shows off his technical abilities without a strong concept or theme to structure them around. Perhaps this explains why the final track, Excursion with Complications, has such a strange ending - the album just seems to stop as opposed to coming to a natural conclusion.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Bo Hansson's follow-up to his musical interpretation of Lord of the Rings continued the fantasy theme, albeit less directly. Keyboards are again the major voice with organ and analogue synthesizers dominating. Drummer Rune Carlsson returns, as does flautist Sten Bergman. The musical pallet on 'Magic ... (read more)

Report this review (#246765) | Posted by BeeJayMelb | Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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