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Anekdoten Official Bootleg - Live in Japan album cover
4.29 | 86 ratings | 11 reviews | 47% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (57:31)
1. Karelia (8:04)
2. The Old Man and the Sea (8:02)
3. Harvest (5:42)
4. Slow Fire (7:51)
5. Thoughts in Absence (3:38)
6. Road to Nowhere (4:56)
7. Book of Hours (10:04)
8. The Flow (9:14)

CD 2 (53:03)
1. Groundbound (7:30)
2. Where Solitude Remains (7:58)
3. Wheel (8:58)
4. Tabatah (9:39)
5. Nucleus (6:10)
6. Rubankh (Parts 1 & 2) (12:48)

Total Time 110:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Nicklas Berg / guitar, keyboards, voice
- Anna Sofi Dahlberg / keyboards, cello, voice
- Jan Erik Liljeström / bass, voice
- Peter Nordins / drums

Releases information

2CD Arcangelo-ARC-1036/37

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and to projeKct for the last updates
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ANEKDOTEN Official Bootleg - Live in Japan ratings distribution

(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(47%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ANEKDOTEN Official Bootleg - Live in Japan reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Owl
5 stars The next best thing to being there!

The studio tracks take on more fire-breathing intensity here and the band gets to stretch out a bit. plenty of that spooky 'Tron to go around. A couple cuts tend to get repetitive but that doesn't detract from the album's overall coolness! Getting to hear early versions of tracks that would be on "From Within" is a treat too ("Groundbound" is my favorite)

I you only get to own one Anekdoten release, this is the one to have.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars A Japan-only release that has been reissued enough times to be owned on the entire planet by the fans, this double Live (Official Bootleg) album might just be Anekdoten's definitive statement with its Mini-Lp format and best tracks from their first two albums, including four as-of-then unreleased tracks, two of which would get a release on their From within album two years later.

Starting out with the group-defining anthems of Karelia and Old Man And The Sea (and later on The Flow), the quartet couldn't have possibly started better their concerts, and following it with the better tracks from their second album (a doomier-yet Harvest and very tense Book Of Hours), throwing some new tracks along the way, Slow Fire (average and sounding unfinished in its middle section) and Road To Nowhere (with a solid guitar solo), the first disc is really hitting close to perfection.

Opening on the then-unreleased Groundbound (and sounding much more interesting here than in its studio version), then almost emptying Vemod track list with the average Solitude (played too fast) and the Crimsonic Wheel (the flugelhorn being replaced by a organ synth solo), the second disk seems to run out of steam, by the middle of its duration. The instrumental Tabatah is a repetitive slow-evolving track, which overstays its welcome because it fails to climax or conclude in a proper manner. The lengthy Rubankh closer is a crescendo-ing instrumental that

While the group doesn't try to stick as close to possible to their tracks, most of the tracks are close to their studio version's lengths, but there are a few exceptions: most notably Wheel and the more-than tripled Rubhank (here announced as Pt I & II). Having seen the group twice before this album (and twice since), this album reflects pretty well their stage representation, mostly relying on ambiance rather than stage antics

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars In the early Nineties the Scandinavian prog rock emerged with many KING CRIMSON inspired bands. Their music was often layered with the Mellotron, I still use to wear a self made t-shirt during concerts with a picture from ANGLAGARD's sensational debut- album "Hybris": a Mellotron M400 placed in the middle of the lush Swedish forests. But my favourite Scandinavian band is the Swedish formation ANEKDOTEN. When I had just joined the Dutch prog rock paper SI Magazine I received a promo CD from their legendary debut- album "Vemod" ('93). It blew me away, especially the sensational, very moving Mellotron intro in the song "Karelia", what an emotional experience! So I was very pleased with the release of the 2-CD "Live In Japan (Official Bootleg)" from 1998. It's a perfect registration of their compelling progressive rock sound. The compositions have very dynamic climates, often changing from mellow to sumptuous, loaded with violin-Mellotron by Anna Sofi Dahlberg (also voice and cello). The electric guitar play ranges from fragile twanging to heavy riffs and fiery soli. The rhythm section is very distinctive in ANEKDOTEN's music: a powerful, often aggressive bass sound and strong and propulsive drumming, this Peter Nordins is a very inventive powerhouse! Although ANEKDOTEN has obvious hints from KING CRIMSON it's unfair to compare their music with that pivotal band because they have created their own, very unique sound. The use of two different singers, bass player Jan Erik Liljeström and guitarist Nicklas Berg, contributes to this element, both have a special emotional undertone. One of the best live albums from the last 20 years, play it loud!!
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This double CD is a fine document of the band's Japan concerts from the mid-1990's, capturing the moment of evolving from their two first studio records to the darker straits of "From Within" album. The most essential performances on this album are in my opinion "The Old Man and the Sea" and "Wheel", venturing much further to the dramatic sonic capabilities than their sterile studio recordings from their debut. The opener "Karelia" isn't very powerful,an usual symptom on live concerts that there has to be some warming up with the first numbers. I would suggest to check the version from their "Live-EP" instead. "Thoughts in Absence" is also an interesting version, as it morphs in to "Road to Nowhere", which is a fine open inprovisation. "Tabatah" is also an exceptional track, very aggressive song that is only present on this album, possibly named after an adult film star. The closer "Rubankh" is also good version, not maybe as fine as it is on their "Nucleus" album, but it's interesting to listen them play it for over twenty minutes. The shorter studio version however contains more controlled aggression, and the duration slightly weakens its potent. As this album is produced so well, I don't understand the reference to a bootleg on the album title. But I understand this record should be on anybody's collection interested of the band's early discography.
Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Swedish Anekdoten from Japan ...

This are ANEKDOTEN which I really like. They are a great collective from a stylistic point of view. A short summary for this evening not only for the small and enthusiastic japanese audience. Complex or not - they are managing the songs with pressure, power and great safeness. Nearly the whole 'Vemod' studio album and some songs from 'Nucleus' are performed live just as some previously unreleased instrumentals.

Don't be afraid of the title 'Official Bootleg' - the sound quality is excellent. It doesn't matter to know they are using only mellotron samples. Nevertheless it is so melancholic! Dahlberg's cello parts on the other hand cannot hit me. Drummer Peter Nordins shines with great virtuosity and Jan Erik Liljeström plays a punching bass which serves a strong groove.

We have a very mellow start with Karelia where the band first is checking up their instruments. But the song is getting very dramatically furthermore with a great intensity - a wonderful opener! Some other extraordinary songs are: Slow fire, Road to Nowhere as a simple but awesome instrumental jam and immediately followed by Book Of Hours. This a very complex song which begins psychedelic atmospheric and rises by and by with excellent work by Peter Nordins.

Where solitude remain strikes because of a nice jazzy interlude. On Wheel Nicklas Berg seems to manage the mellotron part (against very melancholic) whereas Dahlberg is 'torturing' the cello - great song! Tabatah is never offered on a studio album but also amazing - a very dynamic song with strong guitar licks and a stunning mellotron background. The album ends with Rubankh Part 1&2 a song full of heavy pure dramatic. You need nerves of steel.

4.5 stars for this amazing concert. 'Live in Japan' is a good entrance for neebies - so don't be shy! And there is no need for an ANEKDOTEN studio album if you own this one.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a double live album taken from their two concerts in Toyko, Japan October 11,12 1997.There are two songs on this double live recording that cannot be found on any of their other albums. "Road To Nowhere" which is a great sounding instrumental and "Tabatah" which features some incredible bass playing by Jan-Erik.This was recorded before "From Within" was released, so many heard "Groundbound", and "Slow Fire" here for the first time. Of the other 10 tracks, five are from "Vemod" and five from "Nucleus". One thing a lot of people may not know is that the mellotron sounds are actually "samples", there was no mellotron played live on stage.This still is a great live recording with no overdubs !

"Karelia" is one of only two tracks that doesn't sound quite as good as the studio version. After a solemn intro mellotron comes in after a minute. Here we go ! 2 minutes in with lots of bottom end. Love the guitar that follows as it settles down.The contrast continues. Great song ! "The Old Man & The Sea" is one of my absolute favourites from the band. It starts heavy with some pounding drums before it settles as vocals arrive after a minute. Love this part. It kicks back in after 3 minutes. Huge bass as the tempo picks up. Great section especially as the mellotron storms in. "Harvest" opens with reserved vocals and a mellow sound. It turns violent quickly though. Love the contrasts in this one. "Slow Fire" opens with a heavy industrial soundscape with mellotron. It settles with vocals a minute in. Another fantastic song that demonstrates their aggressive and pastoral sides. "Thoughts In Absence" gives us a chance to breathe. A beautiful mellow tune. I really dig the vocals. "Road To Nowhere" features lots of bottom end. Mellotron 2 1/2 minutes in as the guitar lights it up.This is too much ! "Book Of Hours" opens with those familiar keys that give this song away quickly. Listen to the snarly bass and the drums as the sound builds. Mellotron 3 minutes in. I just can't imagine sitting at this concert at this moment. It settles 4 minutes in as vocals arrive. It kicks back in after 6 minutes, it's even heavier a minute later with a mellotron flood. "The Flow" doesn't kick in until after 2 minutes. It gets heavier after 3 minutes.Vocals 3 1/2 minutes as it calms down.The growly bass 4 minutes in with mellotron sounds amazing ! Angular guitar 7 1/2 minutes in with huge bass lines. When the song ends Anna says "Thankyou very much."

Disc two begins with "Groundbound" which is mellow with vocals and strummed guitar, even when bass and drums come in it stays fairly calm. Mellotron 3 minutes in.The melody then stops and then this ground shaking bass comes in with odd metered drumming. Guitar rises out of this soundscape as the intensity increases. Mellotron joins in and check out the drumming ! It continues to build until it breaks 6 1/2 minutes in as the vocals and a calm return. "Where Solitude Remains" is heavy with mellotron right out of the gate. Killer bass. It settles but the tempo picks up speed. Vocals join in. A jazzy section follows. Gasp ! The guitar comes ripping in at 6 1/2 minutes. Priceless ! A chunky rhythm ends it. We're not worthy ! "Wheel" is another classic ANEKDOTEN track that I love. A powerful intro gives way to a heavenly sound with bass and vocals.This contrast continues. An all out assault after 2 minutes. Mellotron 4 minutes in and I really like the way it's building. Emotion 6 1/2 minutes in. So amazing ! Mellotron 7 minutes in. So much bottom end. Killer ending. "Tabatah" opens with guitar as a nice heavy rhythm comes in. Great song. "Nucleus" hits the ground running. A ton of bottom end as the mellotron arrives. It settles with vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. The contrast continues. Angular guitar 3 1/2 minutes in to end it. "Rubankh Part 1 & 2" is very heavy at first but it calms down with mellotron quickly. Heavy again after a minute. Very cool sound 4 1/2 minutes in of cymbals, bass and mellotron. It's slowly building. Incredible sound 9 minutes in.

A must have for ANEKDOTEN fans as this live document mostly covers material from their first two albums.

Review by fuxi
3 stars I totally agree this is a powerful album. Although obviously influenced by early seventies (Cross-Wetton era) King Crimson, this dark Scandinavian prog possesses a beauty of its own. Surely it's admirable to use a style from the past as starting point for your own compositions! Anekdoten aren't clones; I don't remember any Crimson tunes with the concerto-like majesty of 'Karelia' or 'The Old Man and the Sea'.

Other differences from 'classic Crimso': (1) Instrumental improvisations are virtually absent; (2) Anekdoten's melancholic lead vocals are strongly reminiscent of early 1980s New Wave bands such as The Cure, Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen.

Dramatic tension is high; the spun-out climax of the last number, Rubankh (Rhubarb?) is unsettling, and when it's all finally over, the twelve or thirteen dedicated Anekdoten-fans in the Japanese audience react with suitable enthusiasm.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Live In Japan is a competent live album that deserves your attention because of a number of instrumental tracks that were not included or only appeared in a much shorter form on the official albums.

The album tracks are all played with passion and focused energy but don't seem to differ much from their originals. On top of that, some of the vocals are far below the studio recordings, Slow Fire for instance, which was never one of their best tracks, is sung completely out of tune and rather painful to the ears. Clearly, the whole point of this release are the instrumental treats Out Of Nowhere, Tabatah and Rubank.

Out Of Nowhere has a powerful bass groove, excellent percussion, big mellotron chords and an apt guitar improvisation. The combination of melancholic atmosphere and the bass-dominated sound reminds me as much of the King Crimson 1974 sound as of the dark rock of Joy Division.

Tabatah is similar, this time mixing King Crimson guitar wizardry with a touch of Zeuhl, heralding the sound of later bands like Nebelnest and Guapo. It's really an intense piece of music. Anekdoten may not be the most original band out there but they write and perform their music with great competence and with a big love and conviction for what they do. The track ends in a disturbing chaos of interwoven riffs and rhythms.

Rubank already featured on Nucleus but the 3 minutes original can not be compared to the 11 minutes of dark atmospheric rock here. It's been largely extended with a long and dramatic crescendo with heavy distorted bass and spacious mellotron chords.

Overall, this is a mostly competent 3 star live album with a 25 minute bonus of essential instrumental modern prog. Sounds like 4 stars altogether.

Review by Warthur
5 stars A live double album from Anekdoten's early peak, offering excellent, raucous, heavy renditions of their material. Most of Vemod and Nucleus is here, as are a number of non-album tracks (a good chunk of which would eventually see release on From Within), and the overall standard of the performance is fantastic. Whereas the studio renditions of the track in question are decent enough, they don't capture the energy that Anekdoten has live, and I'd say that if you've previously restricted yourself to the band's studio albums you've only heard half the story, at least as far as this early phase of their career goes.

Latest members reviews

5 stars ANEKDOTEN´s best era is well documented in this double live record. The start of the set with Karelia announces a concert where there´ll be lots of distorted guitars and mellotrons, joined by the perfect rhhytm section of Peter Nordins and Jan Erik Liljeström. Songs from their first two albums, ... (read more)

Report this review (#161011) | Posted by victor77 | Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This last week I re-discover that amazing live double live album... It's really an intense experience! Some kind of resume of the first part of Anekdoten career, full of crimsonian inffluences, some drops of classical music and totally epical and melancholic; dark for sometimes (thanks to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#125950) | Posted by progadicto | Friday, June 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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