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PÄR LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson biography
Well, it's not easy to make a bio of Par Lindh & Bjorn Johansson because we're not talking about a band but about a project to release one (first) Tolkien related album, Bilbo and later "Dreamsongs from the Middle Earth".

This two friends and excellent musicians had worked together for a long time, Bjorn even played guitars in the first PAR LINDH PROJECT" album "Gothic Impressions, being an important part of it.

It's unnecessary to talk about Par Lindh and his long career with bands as ANTENNA BAROQUE, the Symphonic Trio VINCEBUS EREPTUM, his solo career as Church Organ virtuoso, Keyboardist, Classical Pianist, drummer and President of the Swedish Art Rock Society plus responsible of PAR LINDH PROJECT, so lets talk a bit about the incredible guitar player called Bjorn Johansson, who is not as well known as the Organ wizard but is also transcendental for Scandinavian Symphonic.

Bjorn is mainly a guitar player but as Mike Oldfield he's more than proficient in almost every one it's enough to mention that in his recordings with Par Lindh he plays classical guitars, 12 string guitars, 6 string steel guitars, electric guitars, slide guitars, sitar guitar, zither, Jews harp, mandolins, bouzoki, bassoon, tin whistle, low whistle, Akai S2000 sampler, Giga studio sampler, Access Virus virtual analogue synthesizer, jingle bells, vibraslap & cabasa Bass.

After releasing Gothic Impressions, Pär Lindh approached Bjorn because of his great interest in releasing a Tolkien based album called "Bilbo" (1996), in the vein of Bo Hansson's Lord of the Rings but with a clear Medieval and Baroque influence so beloved by both musicians

In this first project they counted with Magdalena Hagsberg and Anna Scmidtdz in the flutes.

In 2004 they rejoin again to release their second joint project called Dreamsomngs from Middle Earth, again with members of Par Lindh Project as Magdalena Hagsberg and Lovisa Stenberg plus Roine Stolt from THE FLOWER KINGS who plays bass in the track "Dream Three""

This album has a more Classic Symphonic approach, giving a different perspective to Tolkien's narrations.

Not 100% masterpieces but both deserve to be included in any decent Prog Collection.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson official website

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PÄR LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.51 | 45 ratings
Bilbo
1996
4.18 | 44 ratings
Dreamsongs From Middle Earth
2004

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PÄR LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars For Par Lindh,words are poor,the founder of Swedish Art Rock Society,which marked the sign of progressive rock's renaissance in the 90's.Wishing to release an album based on J.R.R. Tolkien's writings,Par asked the help of the PAR LINDH PROJECT guitarist Bjorn Johanson,a gifted young musician.The result of this collaboration was this ''Bilbo'' album,released in 1996.

Anyone expecting some ultra-soft,pastoral,Medieval type of music will be surprised by the resemblances between this work and PAR LINDH PROJECT's albums.''Bilbo'' achieves a nice balance between Medieval tunes,melodic Retro-sounding Prog and bombastic Symphonic Music.Par Lindh is responsible for all the keyboards work plus the drums,his lush organ sounds are fantastic,the grand piano work is dreamy,not to refer the majestic synth explorations and the mighty mellotron presented around,but there is much more than these going on.Johansson prooves to be a great follower,his style is somewhere between MIKE OLDFIELD's diversity and Jean-Luc Payssan's (from MINIMUM VITAL) harmonic playing,he is also responsible for the basses,harps an mandolins heard throughout.Beauty queen Magdalena Hagberg (R.I.P.) lends her sensitive vocal chors in some tracks to make the album very story-telling.It is of great pleasure to realize that this album has nothing to do with other Tolkien-related projects which tend to be rather cheesy at the end,''Bilbo'' holds some very passionate music full of tension and elegant calmness.

This first collaboration between these two talented guys ended succesfully and the aim of this album is almost fullfilled.I am not totally overblown by ''Bilbo'',but this is really a great record closer to the likes of a Progressive Rock fan than a Tolkien-addicted type of listener,and that's a good thing in my books.Strongly recommended,3.5 stars.

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 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars I don't want to discuss the need of another tribute to Tolien. Bo Hansson's masterpiece is enough. So I will comment the music only without thinking to the concept.

"The Shire" reminds to some Vollenweider's pieces. Book of Roses as reference. Relaxing music, tendentially new-age. It's followed by "Gandalf the Magician". This is a Wakeman-like track, specially in the sounds choice: Cymbals, Mandolin, Harp as example.

It's only with "Song of the Dwarf" that it turns into celtic. This is the first non-instrumental track. The voice of Magdalena Hagberg makes me think to Pentangle's Jacqui McShee, as well as the melody. A great track if you like the genre of Pentangle or early Clannad.

"Rivendell" is a short childish song, similar to a Christmas carol in the structure (and the voice). Fortunately it's just 2 minutes long. Not that it's too bad. I just think 2 minutes of this are enough.

"The Dark Cave" is dark, as the title says. It's where I find many similarities with Bo Hansson's work, at least in the first half, until the classical guitar remains alone in a Steve Hackett's style. After the guitar part, keyboards are back again to the cold world already described by Bo Hansson. The tracks fades into "Running towards the light"; a track with some drumming and electrical guitar. It alternates between medieval and electronic for two minutes, then it's like Keith Emerson has joined the group. When I mention those artists, I mean mainly that the sounds used are very similar.

"Uncomfortable Seats" Opens with wolves and dogs crying while a crescendo march is played by the keyboards. This track transmits a sense of cold and urgency, even if you don't know the story behind. The second part of the track is more progressive-rock, but after 5 minutes, it goes back in time again.

"In Beorns Garden & Beorns Walk to Carrock" is again in Bo Hansson's style. Well it's not a secret that Par Lindh was a fan of Bo Hansson. A small part of "Lord of the RIngs" is included in the Lindh's live medley "Rondo" from Live in America.

"Mirkwood Suite" starts with a little more than one minute of Krautrock-like keyboard, then guitar and electric piano play a sort of slow Tarantella. When bass comes, it's pure prog- folk. Who likes the most folky songs of Mostly Autumn, will like this track as well. I think Mike Oldfield would like it too. Then it calms down and restarts on a different more rock theme, to stop and rerstart again om different tunes several times. Only the final 2 minutes are sung. The vocals are accompanied by a church organ taht makes it similar to a religious chant.

"Smaugh" is the last track. It's where Par Linh feels himself more comfortable. It takes just 3 amd 1/2 minutes and it's amazing how so many themes are used on this song.

It's a good album that doesn't add anything to Tolkien's stories and is not at the same level of Bo Hansson, so it fits perfectly into the 3 stars definition.

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 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Long time, no see my dear friend Bilbo Baggins. But now I've came to take what's mine. This will be bloody revenge you dirty little dwarf. Oh, that's not this story, oops. So, talking about Tolkien's first book in quadrology, blending our dreams how it should look like (because The Hobbit movie is still only "upcoming" dream) in our mind, our feelings about this whole magical story and music, which is (I suppose) also important part here. OK, it is important, no arguing here. This is different, this is very different, in fact, it's quite unlike anything I've ever encountered. Blending soft (but strong) pieces together with classical melody (many, much of them antique, old-times-sounding or ancient-like, instruments)

It's all just dream, of course it's not real, but it sounds like that, I can almost touch things they've encountered, I feel it as it was real, not just imagined in my mind. Hell, this record does very well, bringing in this atmosphere. In other cases, certain parts of it would sound silly, unbelievable, just charade for foolish listener, but not, this is not this case. This is different in many ways. Soft, but strong, weak and tender, but yet thick, as so called brick.

And you know what, after all these facts and Bilbo music I've listened, I'm quite eager to give

5(-), because this one deserves it. After all, I'm not against heroic tales, not at all. And certainly not against one of mothers of them all. Go on Bilbo, you can make it, have your little adventure. True represent of symphonic music.

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 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars After listening such releases as "The Middle Earth Album" by GLASS HAMMER, "The Lord of the Rings" by BO HANSSON and "Songs from the Middle Earth" by Rick Wakeman, the albums inspired in the famous trilogy have really reached the level of saturation, don't misunderstand please, I like Tolkien's works as anybody else, but enough is enough.

So with strong prejudice, got this album by LINDH & JOHANSSON mainly due to my respect for Par Lindh, and I must say that I enjoyed the album, the approach is in the borderline between Neo Classical and Symphonic Prog, not the tedious Medieval simulation that most bands play in this kind of releases, the performance of Par Lindh is as always impeccable and are a highlight of the album.

Usually Par captures the listener with his skills in the Organ (his favourite instrument), but in this case the addition of the Mellotron is simply delightful, of course his skills with Church Organ and Hammond are out beyond any doubt, but in this record he sounds fresh and lighter compared with his sober albums with PAR LINDH PROJECT.

But the greatest surprise is Bjorn Johansson, his performance with the Classical guitar is in the order of perfection, even when I listened him playing with Par Lindh before, never really noticed how good he is.

If this wasn't enough, the beautiful voice of the late Magdalena Hagsberg adds the touch of sentiment required for this work and Anna Schmidtz pays some heartbreaking flute sections.

Won't fry to review all the tracks, because this is the kind of albums that must be listened as a whole work, but I would not feel comfortable without mentioning the fantastic "The Dark Cave", a track in which Par Lindh plays an outstanding organ solo and Johansson does a sensitive work with the classical guitar, giving a certain Flamenco touch, the highest point in the album.

My impression about "Bilbo", is that we are not before a masterpiece, but still an interesting work, and in my opinion, the best Tolkien related album I ever heard.

"Bilbo" is not for everybody, but for those of us who love Par Lindh's work and delicate melodic music, this is an excellent addition that I will rate with 4 stars.

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 Dreamsongs From Middle Earth by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.18 | 44 ratings

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Dreamsongs From Middle Earth
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by OvergroundMusic

5 stars Well, well well...finally i actually searched for this album in progarchives and searching for some swedish bands i founded "LINDH PÄR AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON"; i got this album without any expectations since Pard lindh jobs didnt sound enough original for me. This is the Best, and i mean it, Best instrumental Symphonic CD you will ever hear. Like The Return To Forever Romantic Warrior is a must have for Jazz/fusion, this is a Must have for symphonic. The musicianship is just incredible, and this time thank god Par lindh hired other musicians to play flute and other instruments, and it gives it so much more emotion to the record. I've been throug a lot of symphonic albums, and this is not a regular one, it has that magical essence when you hear it, work of art is maybe the most appropiate word for something that might sound boring for some musicians/non musicians. .... Bjorn Johansson vibrator solos are amazing. Im not a LOFT rings fan but that never stoped me of thinking this is a masterpiece.

Stay Class

4.80 out of 5 starsy

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 Dreamsongs From Middle Earth by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.18 | 44 ratings

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Dreamsongs From Middle Earth
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by pyciu

5 stars This is probably one of the most overlooked album of the past year. I'm not a Tolkien fan at all, but this music inspired by one of his books is truly outstanding. It's all instumental music, and the number of instruments used to record this album is really impressive. The music reminds me MIke Oldfield albums, so if you like Ommadown, Amarok or even Voyager (as I do) you'll find a lot of pleasure on "Dreamsongs...". The whole album is varied, you can find mandoline, flute, horns, and of course keyboards and a gentle guitar played by Bjorn Johansson. The drum parts are also very nice. I wouldn't say it's a masterpiece of progressive music, but in my opinion it really deserves 4,5 stars.

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 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This will not please everyone. Some are not attracted to the child side of themselves, making them less sensitive about fantasy or imagination tales. So be it, for others, this will please the hobbit seeking minestrel in you. Some parts are more rythmic such as The Shire, some are more atmospheric like The Dark Cave. I for once, could not remain mute about this fantastic record. This is not a letdown and far more true to the tradition of Tolkien. I'm not a Lord of the Rings maniac, but I definitely prefered Bilbo The Hobbit.

Pär Lindh's talent is once again indiscutable, switching from digital to analogic keyboards and he's fairly well supported by the talents of Johansson on the guitar. The songs are also easy to get into, they're progressive, but not as much as Lindh's solo albums. The fairy tale is well respected, and the people familiar with the book will also find the songs appropriate with the story. The people familiar with Gryphon will have no problem enjoying this.

Wake up the kid in you for an hour with this record.

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 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Star keyboard whiz Par Lindh and assorted string guru Bjorn Johansson combine their numerous talents to produce this musical adaptation of Tolkien's Hobbitt way before tje epic movie Lord of The Rings was even in planning stages! A definite mystical symphonic folk adventure, this surprising recording of delicate medieval-tinged tunes will please some but not all fans, since its quite a departure from PLP's more bombastic style. This CD would fall in just nicely between Ant Phillips' " The Geese & the Ghost" and Gian Castello's splendid "Taliesyn" , with pastoral themes bathing in an almost "children bedtime story" veneer and sweet flowing themes that cast a magical inspiration. Ideal Sunday morning music with mandolins caressing your stessed soul and inconspicuously returning you to the wonderful simplicity of chilhood. 4 tolkiens

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 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by richardh
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I bought this album after getting into the Par Lindh Project.This differs from PLP having a much more laid back approach although some symphonic rock ideas pop up here and there.I find this album a bit of a mess to be honest.It lacks any real coherence or structure.Plus the use of animal noises just irritates me although at least there is a nice homage to Pink Floyd's 'Sheep' at the beginning of the 'Mirkwood Suite'.

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 Bilbo by LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON, PÄR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 45 ratings

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Bilbo
Pär Lindh and Björn Johansson Symphonic Prog

Review by Marcelo
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Which are the main requirements for a prog masterpiece? IMHO, they are beauty, magic, great musicians and melodies that can makes the listener flow. Well, "Bilbo" has all these elements and more.

It's an incredible trip through a Tolkien story, with classical instruments and superb baroque and medieval tunes, and the fascinating Magdalena Hagberg's vocals (I'm sure, there's no any other female singer with such beautiful voice).

Each detail had been extremely care, showing a refinement hard to find out in the genre. All pieces are highlights, and Pär Lindh demonstrate once again why he is one the best keyboardists among the heavy weights. Björn Johansson's strings job, as well as flute and oboe performances, are great too.

It's a magnificent and delicated album. Forget the noise or the experimentation, just let this beautiful music, true symphonic progressive, penetrates on you. A masterpiece.

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