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PANZERPAPPA

RIO/Avant-Prog • Norway


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Panzerpappa biography
PANZERPAPPA is an avant-prog band instrumental band from Norway, similar to UNIVERS ZERO or SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA. They recorded their first album, "Passer Gullfisk" with Knut Tore Abrahamsen on electric guitars; Steinar Børve on saxophones, keyboards; Trond Gjellum on drumkit, acoustic and electric percussion, balaphone, glockenspiel, sampler, trondofon, melodica; and Jørgen Skjulstad on electric bassguitar, additional guitars and piano, melodica, glockenspiel. The lineup changed a bit for their followup release, "Hulemysteriet" where Endre Begby took over on electric guitars. For their third album, "Farlig Vandring" the lineup changed again, but still retains Steinar Børve and Trond Gjellum but Anders Krabberød on electric five string bassguitar, electric 4 string fretless bassguitar, Chapman Stick, additional keyboards; and Jarle Storløkken on electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, accordion replaced Jørgen Skjulstad and Endre Begby, respectively.

"Passer Gullfisk" is a great debut. While it's difficult to get into at first, the songs are very energetic, complex, fun and beautiful. "Hulemysteriet" is a fantastic followup release, with the songs finding even more direction and intensity, without giving up on the fun. "Farlig Vandring" shows the band at their finest, a great mix of obtuse complexity and fun accessibility.

: : : Moses Talbot, USA : : :

See also:

- Tr-Ond & the Surburban Savages

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AstromalistAstromalist
Rune Grammofon 2012
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Astromalist by Panzerpappa [Music CD]Astromalist by Panzerpappa [Music CD]
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Koralrevens KlagesangKoralrevens Klagesang
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PANZERPAPPA discography


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PANZERPAPPA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.28 | 9 ratings
Passer Gullfisk
2000
3.27 | 8 ratings
Hulemysteriet
2002
4.26 | 18 ratings
Farlig Vandring
2004
4.08 | 35 ratings
Koralrevens Klagesang
2006
3.97 | 40 ratings
Astromalist
2012

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PANZERPAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hulemysteriet by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.27 | 8 ratings

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Hulemysteriet
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars In early 2001 Panzerpappa started writing down material for a second album, but soon Knut Tore Abrahamsen had to leave the band, as he got married and was going to move to Denmark.His replacement was a friend of Gjellum, Endre Begby.Rehearsals proove to be a difficult thing, as Jorgen Skjulstad was busy with other commitments, but when Panzerpappa entered the Sogn Studios in late 2001 they sounded as solid as ever.The recordings were finished in February 2002 and the new album ''Hulemysteriet'' was released later in the year.

The partly chaotic debut of the band had now given its place to a cohesive, complex and rich Progressive Rock with dominant R.I.O. and Jazz influences, while for the first time Panzerpappa start to resemble strongly to their heroes SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA.The KING CRIMSON influence is still apparent in the guitar parts and the cold rhythm section, however the smoother playing of Begby seems more suitable to Panzerpappa's style.The all instrumental tracks are full of calm and more powerful sax interventions, very complicated ideas with breaks and dissonant textures as well as some nice interplays with a cool Scandinavian taste.Still the album is not emotionless, as there are plenty of great, pleasant and optimistic tunes with light folky vibes around.The keyboards remain a second choice for Steinar Borve, but when used they make the sound even richer and definitely more charming.Relaxed Mellotron passages with an ANEKDOTEN touch, careful use of synths and some dramatic, nostalgic organ washes reveal Panzerpappa's potential in full mode.The Norwegians eventualy use their technical accomplishment to compose pieces that work well between emphatic, complicated themes and more lightweight overtones for their own good.

Very good follow-up to the rather problematic debut of the group.Conveincing, well-executed instrumental Progressive Rock for all lovers of irritating and challenging listening adventures.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Astromalist by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 40 ratings

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Astromalist
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Panzerpappa's Astromalist is a selection of instrumental prog workouts with crystal-clear production bringing out the individual performances nicely. Although Michel Berckmans of Univers Zero guests, we're not plunging into scary or difficult RIO territory of the sort Berckmans' main band explores: instead, this offers a light and breezy tone stuffed with a mixture of complexity and whimsy in an approach which reminds me of Samla Mammas Manna. (Like Samla and early Henry Cow, I also detect a mild Canterbury influence in proceedings.) Guitarist Anders Kristian Krabberød shows a particularly interesting playing style, miles away from anything resembling conventional guitar heroics but at the same time still compelling.

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 Astromalist by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 40 ratings

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Astromalist
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's been six years since we've had an album from these Norwegiens. I really enjoyed that one("Koralrevens Klagasang") with it's Canterbury flavour and Zappa references. Heck even Richard Sinclair guested on it. This time around we get UNIVERS ZERO's Michel Berckmans guesting on bassoon and english horn while Ketil Vestrum Einarsen (WHITE WILLOW) is back helping out with flute. There are other guests including Udi Koomran who mixed and mastered it while also adding "noises" on "Satam". They are now on the same label (Rune Grammofon) as ELEPHANT9 and in fact these albums were released around the same time.

"Bati La Takton !" is light and breezy with horns and keyboards before it turns fuller before a minute. This is better. It's lighter again this time with intricate sounds before turning fuller again as contrasts continue. "Anomia" is a song I really enjoy because it's melancholic and darker. The guest violin and viola are nice additions as well to the sound here. It's intricate with vibes before 3 minutes before turning fuller again to end it. "Femtende Marsj" is almost KING CRIMSON-like with those prominant angular guitars. This rocks pretty good. Mellotron-like sounds follow then the electric piano and guitar returns as drums pound. A fantastic track ! Check out the atmospheric calm before 2 minutes as we then get some spoken word news clips from the broadcast about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The music kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes. Hell yeah it does !

"Ugler I Moseboka" features the beautiful flute from our WHITE WILLOW friend along with other mellow sounds. This is a laid back tune that does build until a calm with some tension arrives before 5 minutes. This is good as the guitar and drums come in, then back to the earlier relaxed sound. "Satam" openns with a pulsating sound as drums and heaviness join in. Guitar too as it picks up steam. It settles back after 1 1/2 minutes but then builds again. Another calm before 5 minutes then it builds once again. An excellent track. "Astromalist" is such a feel good track throughout. Very enjoyable with the sax and vibes taking prominant roles. Bassoon around 2 1/2 minutes as the mood turns darker. A calm before 3 1/2 minutes as some angular guitar comes in and that dark mood continues. It builds back up. Great track ! "Knute Pa Traden" is the longest song at over 9 minutes. This is good with the sax standing out with intricate sounds also helping out. The song sort of ebbs and flows the rest of the way.

This is an album i'd highly recommend to fans of adventerous and well played music. There is an avant flavour at times but this is melodic and intricate with a classical flair.

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 Astromalist by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 40 ratings

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Astromalist
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Music By Mail

5 stars So, the mad Norwegian are finally back! And let me tell you straight: this one is absolutely their best to date! Having gained a lot of experience and popularity from extensive touring during the years, they have conceived an album that oozes of maturity. From the opening track with its riff in 5/4, you feel and know that it will be a treat! There are plenty of tricky meters (check the fantastic 11 + 10 on track 6!), the instrumentation is very rich and varied, the melodic threads always carry you to fantasy filled dreams and the rhythmic madness makes sure to wake you in time, even using alarm clocks! (track 5, ironically starting in 5/4!! before bringing in plenty of cross rhythms). In the guest list, we'll note the appearance of a familiar name: bassoonist Michel Bercmans, from Univers Zéro fame! Last but not least, the mix and mastering has been done by the talented hands and ears of Udi Koomran, which is a signature in itself and a guarantee that this is gonna sound real good .... and it does! The rare notes to be found on the back pannel of this three-fold digipack say that the music was recorded by the band at various locations, but I'm inclined to believe that it may have been taken from live recordings, to be later processed and worked in the studio; this album sounds so good that you probably wouldn't say it's a live recording if you were asked in a blindfold test. Anyway, this is a true masterpiece, reflecting the maturity and still growing creativity of a band still able of surprising and shaking us for many years to come. Grab a copy and enjoy!

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 Koralrevens Klagesang by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.08 | 35 ratings

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Koralrevens Klagesang
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Panzerpappa followed up their excellent Farlig Vandring with another beautiful release titled Koralrevens Klagesang. Unlike Panzerpappa's previous offering, this time around, this Norwegian quartet decided to feature quite a few guest appearances on their latest studio release. Among them is the legendary Canterbury Scene artist Richard Sinclair who contributes a one track vocal performance on what otherwise should be considered an almost completely instrumental album.

The album begins with the first of the three short Koralrevens Klagesang compositions. Part I doesn't really make much sense as an intro and unless you've heard Part III this album introduction doesn't really leave much of an impression. Things do heat up a bit with Koralrevens Klagesang II which to my ears is the most adventurous and consistent compositions on the album featuring a strong melody and a few interesting style shifts throughout its mere 5 minutes play time.

Just like Farlig Vandring this album features two lengthier pieced but that's pretty much where all comparison stops since neither Kantonesisk Kantour nor Frenetisk Frenologi come close to the quality of the previous album's masterpieces. Kantonesisk Kantour does start with an intro that lured me into assuming that I was in for a real treat but the composition changes its direction halfway through and even features some Zeuhl-sounding song towards the end of the track. Frenetisk Frenologi (For Nybegynnere) with it's 14 minutes of play time does offer quite a few twist and turns going from pure jazz to some metal sounding sections. Unfortunately the end results aren't all that specular although the composition does offer enough creative peaks to keep me entertain all through its duration.

What makes Koralrevens Klagesang stand out in comparison to Panzerpappa's previous release is the softer side of their sound that is highlighted with the gentle acoustic instrumental number titled Apraxia and Vintervake featuring the soft voice of Richard Sinclair. I do enjoy this slight new style change and I'm sure that the band's next album, that was announced in May 2009, will take even better use of this stylistic approach.

Koralrevens Klagesang might not be the step forward I was hoping for after hearing Farlig Vandring but the band definitely shows that they can create great music even with slightly lesser material.

***** star songs: Koralrevens Klagesang II (4:55)

**** star songs: Kantonesisk Kantour (9:12) Apraxia (3:27) Snill Sang På Bånd (5:59) Etyde (6:20) Vintervake (5:35) Frenetisk Frenologi (14:16) Koralrevens Klagesang III (2:49)

*** star songs: Koralrevens Klagesang I (2:41)

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 Farlig Vandring by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.26 | 18 ratings

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Farlig Vandring
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars I was introduced to Panzerpappa in 2005 when a friend lend me this album. At the time I still haven't started to appreciate the RIO/Avant-Prog genre all that much. Still, I gave the album a spin.

The music I experienced on Farlig Vandring sounded nothing like I've heard before. There were a few similarities to the early Henry Cow music thanks to the prominent sound of saxophones that made the performances sound slightly jazz-oriented in tone although the music structures themselves were far from any jazz recording that I've experienced to that point.

After returning the CD to my friend I haven't really given Panzerpappa much thought until last year when I rediscovered the band's music through their album Koralrevens Klagesang on Spotify. Since I was really into the band Miriodor at the time it made me want to seek out Farlig Vandring and give it a proper chance. I must have given up all hope of finding this album until I, by complete accident, stumbled upon a used copy of it in one of the down town record stores.

It's safe to say that the music I heard this time around sounded nothing like the Panzerpappa I heard back in 2005! This compositions felt much better structured then I originally gave them credit for and the saxophone sound felt a whole lot more enjoyable. I was especially taken by the two 10 minute compositions Ellipsoidisk Karusell and Ompapaomompapa that have the energetic feel that I usually associate with Univers Zero's compositions like Docteur Petiot and Dense. Simply put; some of the best RIO/Avant-Prog music that I've had the pleasure of hearing!

It's actually a pity that non of the shorter compositions can compete with those two magnificent performances since I really feel that Farlig Vandring comes close to an essential piece of Progressive Rock music but doesn't really break through that barrier. Hence a rating of excellent addition to any prog rock music collection is in order here.

***** star songs: Ellipsoidisk Karusell (10:41) Ompapaomompapa (9:43)

**** star songs: Farlig Vandring (På Tynt Vann) (8:32) Utrygge Trøfler (7:06) Agraphia (6:56) Sykkelgnomflaten (6:55)

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 Passer Gullfisk by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.28 | 9 ratings

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Passer Gullfisk
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I first thought this album was a Fusion/Jazz or a Canterbury scene album. But then I noticed this was an own genre called RIO. I spotted the fact that I have this CD-R and that there was no review of it in the database. So I will at least get this album on the map. By raising awareness about this album, hopefully that means one of the RIO experts will do a better review of this album than myself.

I cannot see much difference between what PANZERPAPPA is doing and what for example GILGAMESH was doing. In my ears, this album is pretty much Canterbury. The whimsical song titles also seems like my ex student mate Trond has inhaled a lot of that Canterbury fog. Monty Python spring to mind too. Musicwise, I find it a blend of the jazzy side of Canterbury and straight Jazz. Maybe this is what they call RIO ? Henry Cow is RIO ? OK, I see. I know from conversations with the band from ages ago that the drummer Trond is a major fan of SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA. I am not their greatest admirer, but even I can see that this album is in that landscape too. But mostly, this album is straight Jazz. The tempo is pretty mellow. The music is driven by brass like saxophone, with some guitars too and keyboards almost like supporting instruments. The bass is pretty thumping. The drums are toned down and organic.

I have been listening to SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA and HENRY COW before. But I am reasonable new to this RIO genre. But I like this album. It has some great ideas like the last track and the first part of the opening track. Maybe RIO is going to be my next big hobby. I don't have a clue...... but I go where the music leads me. I give this album an inoffensive 3 stars and I hereby put it on the map.

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 Hulemysteriet by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.27 | 8 ratings

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Hulemysteriet
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars This is their second demo that had received an issue, and although theoretically out-of-print, the band still deals the demo through homemade CD-r. Mine arrived in a sampling bag with a large Norwegian orange info-sheet and a much smaller white English translation. Up to you to fit this into a jewel case or not: it doesn't fit without some adjustments. Musically speaking, if you know the group's two official releases, you'll get no surprises here either as the group develops their usual brand of avant-prog, somewhere between Miriodor, chamber music, & more symphonic Scandinavian prog (ala Angladotenberk) if you can believe: I know it might be difficult to "picture" their musical landscape, but that's about as good as I can make it.

On the one hand there is the soft avant-prog that a sedated Alamaailman Vasarat or Von Samla might dish out (Yiddish Fake Polka), at times, you'd swear you're listening to a Swedish Crimsonic version of Univers Zero (the title track), while some modern Norwegian symphonic bands like Wobbler or Gargamel are interfering in both the left and the right channel of your stereo hi-fi system. Among the better tracks is the lengthy Tool Is The 23rd Solution with its wild interplay and constant breaks. And the closing 99 Steps with its loadful of mellotrons and trons of changes is not too shabby either, but my fave must be Sick Samba.

While not really all that essential Hulemysteriet to progheads, it is quite a nice "mise-en-bouche" and personally, I consider this "demo" as a perfect complement those two full-blown prog "legit" albums.

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 Koralrevens Klagesang by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.08 | 35 ratings

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Koralrevens Klagesang
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars The latest (so far) Panzerpappa release is probably the only one you'll find easily, but rest assured, it's probably their most representative. Our Norwegians are well within the line of fellow Scandinavians Qoph, Ensemble Nimbus, the Samla saga, Uzva and Alammailman Vasarat when it comes to avant- prog , but their music can also be likened to the Québecois school of Miriodor, Rouge Ciel or Interference Sardines or the Belgian trad of Univers Zero, Cro Magnon, Hardscore, Aranis, Julverne and many more. But Panzerpappa is also a certain kind of Canterbury-esque musical spirit, from the early Henry Cow to The Muffins or Supersister or Area, although this second affinity is not quite as determining on their music as is the former. Armed with a bunch of guest musicians (among which Richard Sinclair), with a simple digipack and a naïve fishbowl drawing for artwork, this album gives a rather warm feel to the listener

The first part of the three-part title track starts on a dissonant "bottom of the sea" type of music, but it's just an intro to the second movement which has a much wilder soul, somewhere Crimson and some White Willow or Wobbler-type of Nordic prog (mellotron city), while retaining the typical avant-prog instrumentation. This track together with the following Kenotur and Apraxia are the first apex of the album, dealing some heavy melancholic tracks. Although there are rarely more than four (max five) musicians playing at the same time, you get the impression of much more than that, through the multitude of different instruments used throughout the course of the album and the wild jumpy and quirky songwriting always searching for meanders, detours and shortcuts, giving you ears that dizzyness that progheads yearn for.

After such an hectic and epic trio of tracks, the band then returns to their more traditional grounds (avant-prog) with the short Snill Sang Pa and Etyde with the accordion being a dominant instrument, the latter being the much more interesting of the two. Much in the same line is the Sinclair-sung Vintertake, the album's second apex, with its superb ambiance.

Returning to the more retro-prog sound , Frenetisk Frenologi, is really taking crimson-type of Anekdoten mellotron-laden track, running/mincing it through the Miriodor meat grinder and the resulting is some of the most delicious Panzerpappa avant-prog song, the perfect fusion of the two styles, the song's second part bringing some crunchy "arranged" (read synthesized) guitar riffs to give the "oomph" it needed the but it digresses into a wild and frenetic cavalcade. The third part of the title track is a bit the album outro of the first and second movement, a short sweet folkish, almost-medieval end.

If you're a typical neo-prog and retro-prog fan and have had problems getting in more difficult like RIO, or avant-prog I would propose you two albums that use that typical Scandinavian melancholic retro-prog of Anekdoten, Sinkadus, White Willow (etc.) and use those sonorities on much riskier grounds. Indeed Thinking Plague's In Extremis might get to finally "get" what RIO is about and this very album, Panzerpappa's Koralrevens, should finally allow you to "get" what avant-prog is all about. Be careful with this album, it could have some undesired suide effects and have young discovering Debile Menthol or News From Babvel and a few months later, you'll be selling those horrible TFK or PT albums that you shouldn't have bought in the first place.

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 Koralrevens Klagesang by PANZERPAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.08 | 35 ratings

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Koralrevens Klagesang
Panzerpappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars If cheerfulness had a sound, Panzerpappa would compose the soundtrack to it

This album has several layers to it, a varied style with complementing elements. There's the "having fun", playful and humorous attitude that is in the roots of the melody. This might remind some Samla Mammas Manna, Ensemble Nimbus and Miriodor on one side; if not in sound, then in style ("Snill Sang Pa Band" where there is also some jazz thrown in). This particular aspect of their music is also in the spirit of Canterburian bands such as Hatfield And The North and one should simply listen to "Vintervake" with Richard Sinclair singing to realize it. In several tracks ("Koralrevens Klagesang II ", "Kantonesisk Kantour") there is also a tinge of Zeuhl elements; listen to the throbbing bass line and the chant-like rhythm; at other times there is a clear (to me as least) reference to Univers Zero more ominous sounding UZ type chords are playing. But this is not at all the general sound of the album as those parts are less dominant and only form a part of a whole that is, as said above, diverse and more on the cheerful side. There is the more experimental side where the musicians "dare" play beyond the invisible line that separates Panzerpappa from the avant-garde bands and this attitude is found all throughout the various tracks embedded in parts of the tunes (a weird sound here, an exploratory bit there). But overall, I don't class Panzerpappa with the type of avant-rock bands that have a repelling effect on people not acquainted with it. This is, as said above, more in the "tradition" of the SMM "school of RIO" (while taking influence from other RIO bands as well) and the Canterbury "sound". It is quite accessible (at least I think so) and very melodic.

Now, let's say I am in such a mood after a day's work or on Sunday morning that I want some music that will bring a good feeling to my heavy burdened mind and distract me for some time from my troubles. Then this album would be an excellent choice. From its starting thumping rhythm on the second track to its beautiful melodies ("Kantonesisk Kantour " and "Vintervake" are essential listening) and then to the complex, diverse and well structured closing tracks, this album is a delight to listen to. It also has a great flow to it, and a good track ordering.

Another great thing about the album is the varied instrumentation used by the talented musicians. Each one is listed with several instruments on the cd cover and you hear the rich sounding result in the album. "Kantonesisk Kantour" is a good example of such track where the band uses a lot of the "arsenal" at their disposal.

There is no compromise of melody in favour of experimentation, show of complexity or anything of that sort (and vice versa). The impressions that I have when thinking of this album, are its striking well crafted melodies, its instrumentation and appealing song structure, complexity and variety. I get the feeling that the band members were having a great time playing those compositions. Maybe it's because of the nature of the music, but I get the sense that they are having fun while being submersed in the tunes (granted, this is perhaps the case with many bands. or maybe not.).

So, overall, this is quite the varied album, and while those bands mentioned above are influences and good point of references, the music has its own identity, its distinctiveness and own characteristics. Moreover, there is a groovy feeling in some parts that make you move to the rhythm (Koralrevens Klagesang II and Kantonesisk Kantour are two good examples).

I'll pick just one piece of music from this album to focus on: If I had to pick just one tune from the album that perhaps not represents Panzerpappa best, but it is the one I enjoy most, then Kantonesisk Kantour is the obvious choice. Varied in instrumentation and in styles played throughout the track, beautiful and captivating melody, catchy chorus line, excellent musicianship, complexity of song structure, originality, creativeness - what more can you ask in one piece of music?

This album has grown in a short time to be one of my favourites. It is an album that cheers me up, makes me see a brighter side to life (which for me is something that rarely happens); an album that fills me with the joy of listening to music. To make you understand how much I love this album, I'll give this example: this is an album that I would miss very much and get depressed if I was told I could never listen to it again. Is it clear enough?

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