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MYRBEIN

RIO/Avant-Prog • Sweden


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Myrbein biography
MYRBEIN (which translates as 'ant leg') debuted as a trio in 1977 doing mostly KING CRIMSON cover songs. A trumpet player later joined in and they slowly expanded their influences to include more avant-garde bands such as HENRY COW, WASA EXPRESS, SAMLA MANNAS MANNA. By 1979, they had developed their own experimental style, a zany Scandinavian cocktail of fuzz guitar, electric piano, organ, bass and drum, with the occasional saxophone or clarinet. Their compositions were mostly the result of a collective process, often featuring silly, frenzied vocals and somewhat perverted folk themes. In 1981, they released an album titled "Myrornas Krig" (meaning "The War of the Ants") and then rehearsed a few more months together before breaking up. The remastered CD version of the album features a live bonus track, the band's own rendition of CRIMSON's "Larks' Tongues in Aspic".

About half their album is instrumental and its 13 tracks range between 3 to 5 minutes, a short song format that seems to suit their style. Featuring complex arrangements, quirky mood turnabouts and changing time signatures, the music never stays long in one place. Try to imagine a mixture of The MUFFINS, KULTIVATOR and SAMLA MANNAS MANNA; then add a few echoes of GENTLE GIANT, the angularity of HENRY COW and a ZAPPA-like humouristic approach and you'll get the full picture.

Should keep a few MUFFINS, KULTIVATOR and ZAPPA fans on their toes.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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MYRBEIN discography


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3.91 | 17 ratings
Myrornas Krig
1981

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MYRBEIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Myrornas Krig by MYRBEIN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.91 | 17 ratings

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Myrornas Krig
Myrbein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progressive

5 stars Myrbein is drastic and original avant-prog band. Swedish avant-garde folk jazz humour (eg. Samla Mammas Manna) is present both in vocals and even parodic experimentation. I don't usually like parodic music or even humour in music, but this is somehow so serious, maybe because the music is also very dark and heavy, reminding me of some Zeuhl bands like PSEU and ALTAÏS, and maybe even more RUINS. So it's almost technical metal sometimes, but also symphonic enough - the red line is there, though the music is complex. This album is also suitable for EGG fans, because there's eg. some kind of mathematical minimalism and organ. Instruments are quite rough, heavy, full-sounding here. Rapid changes applies to the experimental mood, too. The overall impression is harmonic, but there's for example some kind of short operatic lovely avant-garde song and weird funky disco. This music is likewise for KC's "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. II" fans, because this music has some same touch. See their website for music. I love it, and I think you should, too.

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 Myrornas Krig by MYRBEIN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.91 | 17 ratings

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Myrornas Krig
Myrbein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Starting out as a Crimson cover band in the mid-70's, by the time Myrbein released their sole album in 81, they had become a full-blown RIO group (with some Zeuhl touches and some definite Canterbury twists), obviously inspired by their countrymen of Samla Manna Mama (who were in their Von Zamla phase in the early 80's). You will also find some Zappa quirks, some grotesque/burlesque (future) Miriodor attitudes, some Present ambiances, some Wyatt weirdness, a few GG reminiscences, frequent time sig changes, and a general Muffin-based policy of ever-changing musical themes and ideas.

In some ways, they remind me a lot of the other sole-album group from Sweden, Kultivator, who released their album roughly around the same time. The quartet manages to intrigue, baffle, dazzle, amuse and even irritate (sometimes all at once), as the succession of short tracks is rather aimless (only half of them are sung) and can lose the listener. In many ways a lot of groups that will be categorized later as Avant- prog will take many of the traits and characteristics you will find here on this album. Of the 12 (rather-short) tracks making the album, you will be taken through a wild but weird series of climates ranging from the absurd folk theme of Fyra Standen (all of the members are multi-instrumentalists and they can make a full brass section) to the more serious RIO climates of Raus, silly singing (the Swedish language being sung is not helping in this matter) and all-around over-abundant energy (they seemed like a wild bunch on stage, by the looks of the photos), a semi Hatfieldian-Present feel of Kurt Pa Taket and an ever-ending stream of short humorous music ideas, that never hang around long enough (sometimes this is very frustrating, as you'd like them to expand on the idea) for you to get used to them.

The Cd reissue comes with a Crimson LTIA Pt2 cover recorded in 93 for the reissue, which adds nothing to the original or the album. Rather spectacular aural pleasure, even if a trained ear is a must to approach such a weird album. While not exactly what I would call essential RIO/Avant, this is exactly the type of album that will give a good depth to your collection, along with the afore-mentioned Kultivator album.

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 Myrornas Krig by MYRBEIN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.91 | 17 ratings

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Myrornas Krig
Myrbein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by laplace
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Here's a RIO oriented album that isn't a chore to enjoy. Myrornas Krig is a fusion of rock grooves in quirky metres, jazziness, traditional folk and dance forms and plenty of humour. Most of the songs are short - making the album feel like a sketchbook of exceptional musical themes - but fleshed-out and varied throughout their duration. A harder degree of rock is in evidence here than on the relevant and passingly similar Stormy Six releases.

Three stars because the album doesn't really have a centerpiece and suffers slightly from stop-start RIO syndrome - no long notes and the occasional 7/8 time signature that doesn't enhance the song - but don't let my personal reservations put you off.

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 Myrornas Krig by MYRBEIN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.91 | 17 ratings

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Myrornas Krig
Myrbein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Bj-1
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Of all RIO bands heading from Sweden Myrbein probably is the hardest one on the ear, sounding like a grittier (but equally as amusing) Zamla Mammaz Manna during 'Familjesprickor'. Overall very experimental but with a good dose of offbeat and very scandinavian humor, with some really jerky music to reflect this. Very frantic and restless compositions backed up with some really solid musicianship, especially on tracks like "Kurt på Taket" and "Är du Förvirrad?", the music rarely stays in one place for long and the whole thing is really a rollercoaster ride. Occasional vocals are present, sung in Swedish with silly lyrics and confirms their humoristic sense. Parallels to bands like King Crimson, Samla Mammas Manna and Zappa are obvious but they still manage to do their own thing really well.

Not easy to find on CD these days due to it's limited distrubution, but their homepage allows you to download the whole album on mp3 legally for free in addition to bonus live material from the same sessions as this album was recorded. That also includes an excellent live performance of King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Part II", who was added to the CD release as a bonus track. Fans of the RIO/Avant genre should definitely check this album out, not essential but excellent nevertheless.

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 Myrornas Krig by MYRBEIN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.91 | 17 ratings

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Myrornas Krig
Myrbein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by goran.nystrom

5 stars This is great stuff! Be patient, and the music will grow on you. Yes, it can be difficult on the ear and certainly not so easy to dance to (not impossible though, trust me). But persist, and you will find that this album offers a phenomenally different view on just how music can be constructed - or deconstructed. No, there are no individual direct influences. In my opinion, it is all a result of twisted young minds and a particularly succesful case of cross- fertilization - all across the register. I was there when it happened and a great fan at the time. It still sounds fantastic to me today, so I am sure that others will like it too. The same strange genetics that created Zappa, Fripp and others surely were at play here, but again no, this is no simple derivative music. It is truly unique, truly genius. /Herr Goé

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 Myrornas Krig by MYRBEIN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.91 | 17 ratings

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Myrornas Krig
Myrbein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by grecobastian

5 stars 5 stars!! Great album!! You can easily find King Crimson`s guitar`s Style, Zappa`s kind of humour, and the typical Scandinavian way to sing... Well played, with really cutes arrangments and Distempos well created. Recommended to all RIO`s Fanatics!!

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