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HINN ═SLENZKI ŮURSAFLOKKUR

Thursaflokkurinn

Prog Folk


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Thursaflokkurinn Hinn ═slenzki Ůursaflokkur album cover
3.68 | 16 ratings | 6 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Einsetuma­ur Einu Sinni (5:28)
2. Sˇlnes (5:03)
3. Stˇ­um Tv÷ ═ T˙ni (4:03)
4. HŠttu A­ Grßta Hringanß (2:45)
5. N˙tÝminn (4:59)
6. B˙na­arbßlkur (4:17)
7. Vera Mßtt Gˇ­ur (0:52)
8. Grafskript (6:42)

Total Time: 34:24

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- ┴sgeir Ëskarsson / drums, percussion
- Tˇmas Tˇmasson / bass, organ
- Egill Ëlafsson / vocals, piano, acoustic guitar
- R˙nar Vilbergsson / bassoon, timbales
- ١rdur ┴rnason / electric and acoustic guitars

Releases information

LP Steinar (FD 006) Iceland 1978

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THURSAFLOKKURINN Hinn ═slenzki Ůursaflokkur ratings distribution


3.68
(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

THURSAFLOKKURINN Hinn ═slenzki Ůursaflokkur reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Einsetumadur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 11/15P.: The future jazz fusioners from Iceland start off with a collection of complex folk tunes which are sometimes more psychedelic and sometimes more along the Sympho Prog lines, but sometimes not as intense as their later work.

Ůursaflokkurinn (en: "The Hobglobins") is a band that is sadly nearly forgotten today (can a band which no-one ever knew be 'forgotten' - I don't know). I cannot even argue that these guys are underrated, for the minority which knows this band say that their music is fantastic.

On this album the five musicians from Iceland combine Icelandic folk (5 of the 8 songs here are traditional Icelandic tunes, of course sung in Icelandic) a with melancholic variety of psychedelic rock Ó la Focus, Pink Floyd, the early Genesis or Steeleye Span, but with an omnipresent anthemic feel. But it's impossible to find a comparison to that band because they just did what they want to and just seemed to know the music of their British fellows.

The album starts off quite merrily with the cheerfully marching, but crazy refrain of Einsetuma­ur einu sinni, always contrasted by filigranely instrumented stanzas consisting of ╔gill Ëlafssons wonderful, gentle voice and a decent bassoon backing (by R˙nar Vilbergsson), the acoustic guitar (played by Ëlafsson as well) and ١r­ur ┴rnason's hackettish electric guitar leads (oh well - there's a lot of strange letters in that name). Of course, Mr. ┴rnason seems to know Genesis and loves to counterpoint vocal lines on his guitar, but in spite of that he has a very special guitar tone of his own as he uses what sounds a lot like a Fender Stratocaster gladly combined with wah-wah pedal (at least that's what I believe it to be after listening to and watching his guitar work in films). That mixture of rollicking marching folk stuff, riff-laden rock and melodic progressive rock makes this piece a first highlight, anyway.

The next composition, Sˇlnes is a gentler andmore wistful piece of music. It is carried along by the piano, the electric guitar and the bassoon which play some great, silent lines which echo and reply to each other shortly afterwards. Some parts are backed by the whole band, which makes a pretty huge wall of sound. But all in all the piece stays in this Genesis manner, although I also see Focus and Sky influences.

The following Stˇ­um tv÷ Ý t˙ni rather goes into the Psychedelic direction. The verses are just played by the bassoon, the bass (Tˇmas Tˇmasson) and tympani beats (┴sgeir Oskarsson) - led by the exotic-sounding vocals and ensnared by a delayed and distorted electric guitar - whilst the refrain just consists of heavy blues-riffing which allows comparisons to the early Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett. In the end the song is reprised by the mandolin, wordless vocals and the bassoon solely so that one gets to know how the traditional folk tune originally sounded. Definitely another highlight.

Unfortunately, HŠttu a­ grßta, hringanß cannot keep the standard of the first three tracks, even though it has a nice, strange rhythm and ╔gill Ëlafsson's typical hobgoblin-voice. Although there are lyrical sequences with a more floating sound, the exalted parts are really exalted, i.e. in a Samla Mammas Manna fashion. Of course, the piece isn't bad, but with a length of just twoandahalf minutes HŠttu it leaves me full of questions. But of course it's not a filler.

N˙timinn reminds me a bit of the art rock of The Who on Who's Next, especially because of the rather dominant bass guitar. Although it is a typical single (even though it was never released as such) it is highly convincing and has a catchy and intelligent melody. An interesting detail is the instrumental interlude with strange voices and awkward guitar effects which create a nice freeform/avantgarde atmosphere.

For the prog connaisseur the next piece B˙na­arbßlkur could be a real delicacy, an instrumental piece with several rhythms layered over and over (sometimes something like a mix of a waltz, bolero, rhumba and standard 4/4-rock beat or stuff like that, I don't have the faintest idea how the band manages to get the exact cues). The wordless voices again intone the dwarfy cheering which gives the song a very surreal sound, but most amazing is the fantastic interaction in the band - the communication works out really fine and it sounds as if they had big fun recording that track.

Vera mßtt gˇ­ur is a hardly one minute short and utterly Nordic folk piece that profits from a distinctly jolting rhythm of acoustic guitar, percussion and bassoon (check out the 2008 live version sung a-cappella by Mr. Ëlafsson!). That's the stuff of which the Viking Metal bands kindly used the service. Anyway it's an important interlude between the odd predecessor and the following Grafskript (which means Epitaph), which clocks at seven minutes and hence is the longest track of the CD: a funeral march, nordicly and coldly introduced by storm sounds. Soon a silent guitar and a great bass guitar enter, accompanied by an accordeon and soon followed by Ëlafsson's staid and hymnal recitation. When the warily swinging drums enter the piece becomes more bombastic, but remains quite a somber and dark number which again ends in a cloistral athmosphere with the sounds of the wind and monk-like singing. Truly the most impressive one of the featured songs, a real masterpiece and in my opinion the best piece on this album.

I can highly recommend this pretty 'underground' CD to every adventurous listener who likes bands like Steeleye Span, Gentle Giant or Focus and who doesn't object to weirder RIO moments. This album is not one of those lost albums which are hyped because they come from a tiny island; it's pretty unique, in fact, and hugely entertaining despite its short length. Probably the band didn't catch the commercial train because they were too late (1978), but with their great discography they shall now have the attention they deserve. I recommend buying the not-too-expensive box set from Gregg Walker's Syn-Phonic 8m shop or the German record dealer Charly Heidenreich. If it's out of print by now, download the music from Tˇnlist.is.

A solid 4-star-rating is my personal opinion on a great album which unfortunately is a bit too short and at a few places not self-confident enough to bravely bridge the folk roots with the fusionesque rock ideas.

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Send comments to Einsetumadur (BETA) | Report this review (#183465) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Between a volcanic rock and a hard place

A lazy trawl of terms that could be conjured up whenever Iceland is mentioned might ensnare:

Geothermal power, Sigur Ros, gaudy knitwear, Sugar Cubes, volcanoes, glaciers, cod warfare, puffins, geysers and tragically, solo Bjork (but like every sensible nation Iceland exports it's waste products)

There is a danger that much of the breadth and scope of Thursaflokkurin will be missed should the listener attempt to dip in and out of this very ambitious record. Such is the vast amount of stylistic ground covered here that a casual listen to just one of the tracks in isolation may lead to a false impression of what this talented band are capable of so please listen to the WHOLE thang at least once all the way through, y'all?.

Einsetumaour Einu Sinni - might prepare the listener to inhabit 'Samla Mammas Manna' territory given it's blend of straight Nordic folksong and comedic interludes a la 'Zappa'. At over 5 minutes without deviating from the pious/irreverent structure, it does run the risk of outstaying it's welcome a tad. Enjoyable and memorable nevertheless.

Solnes - the mood has shifted dramatically to that of a plaintive and brooding slow instrumental which emits a faint scent of 'Focus' featuring a particularly fine guitar solo from Thordur Arnason. This is an excellent composition as it has both a very fine arrangement of strong thematic ideas wedded to a moving and sensitive performance.

Stooum Tvo I Tuni - Strays into the outer suburbs of the Gentle Giant's kingdom and the peculiarities of the Icelandic accent are evident here. I was reminded of hearing Bartok's opera Bluebeard's Castle on this one, as similar to the Hungarian language, the Nordic stresses appear on parts of words we in the west would not readily anticipate. Yep, it takes a bit of getting used to but imbues the vocals with a quirky and idiosyncratic flavour that ends up being utterly charming.

HŠttu ao Grata, H-ringana - Beautiful, albeit rather mournful singing from Egill Olafsson on the intro before we transition somewhat schizophrenically into a jaunty trilled passage. This type of abrupt juxtaposition is a feature of the whole album and I would guess that with much of their source material being traditional folk music, they merely reflect the original and perhaps unique structure of that regions sagas, remir, sagnadansar etc. Does your proximity to either pole make you more susceptible to being bi-polar? Mr Olaffsson also deploys on occasion some vocal techniques that have their distant equivalents in yodelling and throat singing. (To my hopelessly clogged ears at any rate)

Nutiminn - Might this little poppy rockin' strumalong have been the single from the album ? Very catchy but faintly unnerving to envisage your average Reykjavik housewife bopping along to the ironing while this blares from her geothermally powered radio. However, there is a spacey ambient departure in the middle that would probably ensure that hubby's shirts may have some unusual creases in them.

Bunaoarbalkur - A restless and disquieting transcript of what resulted when 'Samla Mammas Manna' had to use Gentle Giant's gear after a baggage handlers strike. Glorious massed choir is faded in from the background and lends the piece a very powerful and foreboding feel. What sounds like Nordic hobgoblins on helium join in unison with the angular guitar part and given that large swathes of Icelanders still believe in elves, who are we to dare disagree? Riveting.

Vera Matt Goour - If Frank Zappa or Bartok had written a Scandinavian folksong, it may very well have sounded not a million miles away from this. Like Mussorgskys Bydlo delivered by the Residents. At less than 1 minute, I just wish they had explored the possibilities afforded by this delightful snippet a bit further.

Graftskrift - Perhaps representative of where Thursaflokkurin would explore on their subsequent releases. This has an austere and minimalistic classical feel that the band would refine still further in years to come. (Relax, it's nothing remotely as numbing as Philip Glass or as piously vacuous as Arvo Part) Desolate glacial winds buffet a steadfast and spectral male choir until Egill Olafsson enters with a haunting and elegiac melody. Drums pick up the unhurried beat and the whole track displays an unerring ability to gradually and subtly build excitement before climaxing with a timpani roll and foreboding single stroke mourning drum fading to the end. This would have been perfect material for a horror movie soundtrack had Ingmar Bergman ever dallied in the field. Play this to the kids when they act up and wanna stay up late (You'll never get them OUT of bed)

Like many cultural phenomena from Scandinavia, there is a residue of wistful melancholy through a glass darkly, and Thursaflokkurin certainly do not betray that tradition. This is a very fine collection of Nordic folk derived material that will come as a breathe of fresh air to many jaded ears out there in progland and I just hope for the following:

That more people get to hear a group that has a healthy respect for the past and an adventurous and questing spirit to forge the way ahead for the living traditions of their homeland.

Special thanks to PA's very own Einsetumadur, without whom this review would not have been possible.

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#198442) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2009

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

"Bunch of trolls" is the name of this band, active from the late 70's into the mid-80's, and reuniting now and then when the decades unfold. Their debut's title (The Icelandic bunch of trolls) was actually their real name, but it was shortened as soon as the second album was recorded. Most of us know from Iceland the diminutive Bjork and her extraordinary musical landscapes (and heard the glacial Sigur Ros), but let me tell you that Thursaflokkurin does just as brilliantly strange as well. This first album was recorded in late 78 and received a dumb awkward and not-engaging Sandwich-man artwork, but musically it's quite different from almost anything you've heard.

Indeed Thursaflokkurin can sound medieval ala Gryphon or more like early Univers Zero (that bassoon inevitably brings to it), while at other times Samla Mammas Mannas is another evident influences, especially when going folk and even Kebnekaise becomes obvious), but we haven't yet gone close to the liturgical leanings of certain tracks, the whole thing remaining mainly acoustic and based on old folk songs of their island.

Starting on Einsetumaour, a mainly vocal and wind instrument track that sounds like Thys Van Leer (Focus) with Michel Berckmans (UZ), the tracks sometimes speeds up, but the solemn mood remains. After the instrumental Solnes and its all-too obvious Focus influences, Stooum Tvo I Tuni enters UZ and via Gryphon, even GG realm. An excellent track that mixes the pre-classical elements with the typical Scandinavian melancholy, one that was sooo well put forth in the early 90's in the Swedish trilogy. Hringana is rounding up side 1 and offers more of the previous track's ambiance and sadly adds nothing more.

The flipside opens on the much rockier (almost pop) Muttimin, although the middle dissonant section tells you not to take this number too lightly. It certainly digresses from the rest of the album, but nothing shocking either. The instrumental Bunadarbalkur is again eying in the early SMM discography with the strange vocals and the closing part on the bassoon is simply amazing. After a short and goofy Vera Matt Godur, the album simply HAD to finish up brightly and it sure was the case. Starting on winds and Gregorian chants, Grafskript (Epitath) is a slow-developing intro piece for the outstanding, grandiose and chilling closer, shortly peaking, before dying its own glorious and solemn death, like a funeral march should. Too bad it's so short with its almost 7 minutes.

Although there are many elements of pre-classical music and the songs are rooted in Scandinavian folklore, it's not that easy to classify this album as progressive folk, but one thing is for sure, this album is a killer and certainly in the all-time top 5 of the island, even including the little Bjork career, not eve counting Sigur Ros. Don't just sand there, hop on the web and track it down, before others pass by and make it OOP.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#201002) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2009

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars Thursaflokkurinn was without doubt the most famous Icelandic Progressive Rock band of the 70's due to their massive lives abroad.They were formed in Reykjavik in 1978 by singer/keyboardist Egill Ëlafsson, bassist Tˇmas Tˇmasson, guitarist Thˇrdur Arnason, bassoonist R˙nar Vilbergsson and drummer ┴sgeir Ëskarsson, ex-member of Eik and Pelican.Their debut ''Hinn ═slenski thursaflokkur'' was released in 1978.

The music of the band included reworkings of traditional Icelandinc Folk tunes into Progressive/Art-Rock arrangements and what the listener gets with this album is an album with strong folky atmospheres developed into lovely and emotional rock compositions with rich instrumentation.It sure has this very unique Scandinavian/North-European feeling and there are plenty of references created by the atmosphere in KAIPA's, IN SPE's, FOCUS' and KEBNEKAISE's albums.That means the album contains plenty of intricate melodies next to some folky instrumental themes but also straightforward rockin' tunes.The folky material includes plenty of bassoon work along with driving flutes, pianos and acoustic guitars, the rockin' ideas are enriched with a symph-like feeling with melodic guitars and atmospheric synths.Still sometimes the musicianship gets even more demanding than the aforementioned bands, reminding the blend of Folk, Jazz and Classical Music established by GENTLE GIANT, where nice vocal arrangements stand next to some unusual yet quite harmonic breaks.

Very good album indeed.Fans of Scandinavian Prog or followers of any of the aforementioned acts should hurry to purchase a copy.The album has been reissued in CD format by Steinar Records in 1992...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#803731) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 13, 2012

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Odd, intelligent and funny in same time band from Iceland from late '70's with a strange name that means in english A bunch of trolls as far as I know . Their first album released in 1978 is a an almost perfect combination of folk passages, eclectic parts nad progressive elements all in the mix creating a very original and in same time worthy offer from this little known band. Definetly the instrumental parts are top notch with solid musicianship, also the choirs are elegant and grandious remin me in places of Gentle Giant arrangements. I like this album a lot, it has that special nordic feel that is so well offered here, forte tracks for me Einsetuma­ur Einu Sinni, Stˇ­um Tv÷ ═ T˙ni and the superb grandious last track Grafskript. 4 stars easy and recommended.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#832469) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 04, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars This was a discovery I made in the not too distant past, I was not expecting much, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this obscurity. It was very tempting to hear an album from Iceland that wasn't Sigur Ros. It should be noted that the band's name at the release of this album was Hinn ═slensk ... (read more)

Report this review (#48184) | Posted by Stefan | Saturday, September 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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