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GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


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Gösta Berlings Saga biography
The first chapter of the progressive rock band GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA starts in the Stockholm suburb Vällingby, in the year 2000. Musicians and friends David Lundberg and Alexander Skepp, heavily captivated by the sounds of Hansson & Karlsson, started making instrumental songs, based on drums and organs, sketching playful and melodic sounds. A three songs demo was recorded and released, without being, however, a hit. To add, the early rehearsals led to little live gigs.

In 2004 the duo decided to add the lineup, out of feeling a more and more obvious limitation in music. Thinks started to change musically, when Gabriel Hermansson joined as bassist and added volume and distortion to the sound and the suspense. Matthias Danielsson also joined as guitarist, so that GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA entering their best shape and starting to gig. Their first big concert (held, curiosly, in an illegal Stockholm suburb club) spread the news around the town, and more gigs followed.

Another demo, made of 7 pieces, was sent to festivals and records labels, up in the last months of 2005. After a gig at the Emmaboda Festival in Småland, a record contract finally followed, with Transubstans/Record Heaven. The demo became the debut album, "Tid är Ljud", after being improved and recorded till the spring of 2006. Mathias worked for this album, and finalized it togheter with his colleagues, but left the band right after the release.The record summarizes the sound of Gösta Berlings Saga and has received very good press from all over the world, which states the band among the more impressive and addictive Swedish prog bands in a long modern time.

The new guitarist, after Mathias, is Einar Baldursson, with the talent and influence of whom GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA enter a new path, into darker and more dissonant places.

By the debut album, "Tid är Ljud", GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA embrace a rapid movement of modern delightful progressive rock and quicksteps, eclectically, through major prime prog styles: from dark symphonic to jazz jam, from RIO fragments to space rock harmonies. Tasteful, genuine, exciting and essential-driving, the feeling doesn't stop just at influences or modern feelings, but includes a wide quality of electric, acoustic or grave sounds, with instruments of the various use and satisfaction. The band is credited for a strong debut, an highly passionate play and a full variety expression.




(all the biography notes were directly taken - or sligh...




(all the biography notes were directly taken - or slightly modified - after Gösta Berling Saga's main biography, on their main website, with the approval of the band)
(notes about the album taken from a short review on progressor.net)

:::Victor "Philip" Parau (Ricochet):::




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Art Rock Swedish modern band, acclaimed for its progressive impact
Approved for addition by the Art Rock Team



Discography:
Tid är Ljud, studio album (originally a demo) 2006
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GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 46 ratings
Tid är Ljud
2006
4.28 | 110 ratings
Detta Har Hänt
2009
3.79 | 100 ratings
Glue Works
2011

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GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Glue Works by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.79 | 100 ratings

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Glue Works
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by bhikkhu
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars I was beginning to suspect that progressive rock was getting a bit stagnant. That was until G'sta Berlings Saga blew everyone away at NEARfest. I found their previous album 'Detta Har H'nt' impressive but it was the songs from 'Glue Works' that had me leaning forward in amazement with my mouth hanging open. After the show the line for buying a CD was as long as the line to meet the band. I waited in both, and yes my CD is signed.

The music has been labeled as Eclectic Prog, but I think it leans more toward RIO or Rock in Opposition. This is because the most obvious influences I hear are bands like Univers Zero and Henry Cow that started the movement in the first place. But of course there are other influences as well. Which is why Eclectic is the catch all for bands that are impossible to pin down. The labels fit but artists do tend to evolve. Over the years many artists form other genres have incorporated elements the original bands created and those designated as RIO have expanded their boundaries, thus making them more eclectic. Even fellow Swedes 'nglag'rd now sound more RIO than Symphonic. This really comes as no surprise since Mattias Olsson produced 'Glue Works.'

Regardless of what label to apply, on 'Glue Works' G'sta Berlings Saga has recorded some of the best music ever to pass through these aging ears. The blend of chamber music, jazz and rock has rarely been executed with so much beauty and aggressive passion. The band has been together for a long time now but the musicians have not gotten old enough to lose their youthful fire. Luckily that wasn't just saved for the stage because they captured it in the studio as well.

Every mood and style is perfectly tooled and keeps the listener engaged. As with most bands of this ilk the music is generally on the darker side but it never goes to the side of depressing. Usually composing music this complex and dense hinders the accessibility. 'Glue Works' should have no problem bringing in the new initiate. 'Waves' has a hooky little groove and the intense jam band build of 'Island' is impossible to turn away from. Even the soothing jazz organ on 'Gliese 58lg' is kept intriguing with some well placed percussion touches, until it turns into a guitar jam. Things like string instruments, mellotron, chimes, wailing guitar, horns and grooving bass are all integrated seamlessly. Only vocals are omitted but you won't miss them.

I could go on with more specific description of the individual tracks but that wouldn't do them justice. As Haju Sunim at the Buddhist Temple often says, 'Words fall short.' As is most often true, and especially here (good) music really needs to be heard for complete understanding.

Okay this isn't exactly easy music. It does require that you pay attention to be fully appreciated. We aren't talking simple songs here. This is grown up music (like much of what I choose to review). I do not however think you have to be a progressive/complex music aficionado to enjoy 'Glue Works.' When music as a whole has been standing pretty much still for a couple of decades now, I feel I must promote something as unique and outstanding as this is. If music is to move forward, artists like G'sta Berlings Saga are already leading the way. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Then you can feel the satisfaction of being here when it was cutting edge.

H.T. Riekels

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 Tid är Ljud by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.56 | 46 ratings

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Tid är Ljud
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by agla

4 stars Transubstans specializes in the promotion of groups which are in the seventies the source of inspiration. So it is also for this group from Stockholm, which we propose a prog album entirely instrumental in the tradition of bands like King Crimson and Magma, a middle ground between prog and experimental jazz . The whole pervaded by an attitude absolutely freak !

It almost seems to make a jump in the past between mellotron and hypnotic crescendo, the enchanted flute in the final of songs like " Svarta ...", between forays to the limits of space rock and an incredible taste for improvisation. But I started from the end of ' album rather than the beginning this is because while listening, I got lost in the maze of the disc. Just close your eyes during the arpeggio of " Helgamarktz " to begin a journey into the wonderful music of this group, the song at one point assumes the space style, even if the matrix is that its progressive .. This attitude remains on each track thanks to a liquid guitar very effective. The following " Syrenernas Sang " has some parts that seem recorded on the contrary that add an esoteric effect to the whole. Although presented a remarkable diversity tracks meet all the characteristics that we have tried to describe.

The Gosta Berlings Saga is a band out of time and that is why I like them, also show that you can make music class and quality ', even in those years where everything now seems hopelessly fake and synthesized, a record that deserves much more than a listen.

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 Tid är Ljud by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.56 | 46 ratings

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Tid är Ljud
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The story of this interesting Swedish act from the Vallingby suburb of Stockholm begins in 2000, when keyboardist David Lundberg and drummer Alexander Skepp formed Pelikaan, influenced by the music of the 60's duo Hansson & Karlsson.Four years later the line-up was expanded with the addition of Gabriel Hermansson on bass and Mathias Danielsson on guitar, while the group would change its name to Gosta Berlings Saga, inspired by the eponymous 19th century novel of author Selma Lagerlof.In 2005 they recorded their debut ''Tid ar ljud'' at their private studio and Swedish label Transubstans Records released it in 2006.

The music of Gosta Berlings Saga could be easily described as instrumental Retro Prog with obvious influences from 70's groups like RAG I RYGGEN or KEBNEKAISE, building their sound on complicated Psych/Prog instrumental themes and enriching it with Fusion and light symphonic vibes.The crying guitars, the scratching grooves, the vintage electric piano and the dreamy Hammond organ create nostalgic, old-school soundscapes, often with an obvious Scandinavian flavor.Some of the guitar/Mellotron-driven parts have an ANEKDOTEN feeling, though the music is much more on the brighter side of the things, but the great synth moves and plenty of the guitar work presented contains bits from the music of KAIPA or even THE FLOWER KINGS or LIQUID SCARLET.Jazzy solos, rockin' rhythms and organ-based Psychedelic Rock are brought together in a lovely amalgam of adventurous textures, full of interesting breaks, careful melodies, professional interplays and ethereal passages.The later tracks contain also moments of a jamming attitude with loose rhythms and solos around, typical of the 70's Psych/Prog group, with the guitar, organ and piano work shining through, while the music remains fairly interesting and competent.

Very good debut by yet another talented modern Swedish Prog group, that remains faithful to the roots of Prog music.Instrumental Prog, balanced between melody, energy and technique.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Detta Har Hänt by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.28 | 110 ratings

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Detta Har Hänt
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars A good album of interesting, creative, and subtlely complex songs. A lot of variety here, too. What lacks is melody and sometimes 'meaningful development'--meaning that the songs don't always unfold in pleasing or 'sensible' ways.

1. Kontrast (7/10) is a slow developing, very symphonically constructed--but almost in a Minimalist way--song. I love the 'live in the studio' feeling of the recording. The song is a bit too repetitive for my tastes--despite the BUCK DHARMA (BÖC) guitar solo toward the end.

2. Sorterargatan 3 (9/10) is my favorite song on the album. It opens with a 'computer/keyboard' with bowed bass carring over from the previous song. Eventually a bluesy picked electric guitar takes over and, a little later, a tandem piano. At 2:00 there is a shift in instrumentation and feel. This shift is fully transitioned by 2:55 with driving bass and drums and very melodic harmonized guitar and keyboard arpeggios. At 3:40 guitar and then electric piano go briefly Fripp "Discipline" on us. Return to previous section of gtr & key arpeggios and then some classic rock syncopated guitar strumming. At 5:32 there is a haunting, whirling synth chord held in the background for over a minute as the song develops and morphs over the tp. At 6:45 some spacey effects accompany the plucking of a distorted guitar. Drums show off a bit within a military pattern. At 8:20 the guitars and keyboards simplify and repeat as mellotron and bass--and then 'recorder'-sounding synth-- melody takes lead to bare-bones end.

3. Svenska Hjärtan (8/10) begins with rather stereotypic Russian-sounding chord progressin played on an old upright 'Old West' player piano before a distored eledtiric guitar joins. Symphonic percussion effects also join in. An eery 'alien'-sounding synth takes over to the end.

4. Fem Trappor (7/10) begins with spacey-industrial synth play over cymbol work until 1:15 when bass joins in and together with the drums establish the beat. Guitars join in. At 2:57 enters main theme from the guitars. By 3:25 there is a melody shift with a "toy keyboard" playing. At 4:03 the main theme returns in a 'scratchier' form. 4:27 shifts to whole new rhythm and feel--old Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett era comes to mind.

5. Nattkift (8/10) starts with an electric piano intro (sounds very late-70s AMBROSIA-like). At 1:08 bass chords and slow electric piano arpeggios are quickly joined by fast arpeggios from a distorted electric guitar. Then shifts to some very bluesy guitar work--very dissonant-- almost like Allan HOLDSWORTH playing ROY BUCHANAN's guitar. At 3:19 a shift into an uptempo very standard blues-rock chord progression which is soon joined by guitar and ulilean pipes mirroring the solo. At 4:22 the song backs down to a bare bones electric piano arpeggios (They never left! Were just beneath all the other sound!) and then fade.

6. Berslagen (8/10) begins with another dissonant blues guitar start (FRIPP Red Era). At 0:38 the main theme is introduced playing through three different key changes. At 1:58 the picked acoutic guitar holds the melody. At 2:48 a bizarre guitar solo begins--very KING CRIMSON-like though Crimson never played quite like this. At 3:50 all instruments exit except electric keyboard playing before a quick shift to "toy" piano arpeggios. At 4:55 it is joined by bass clef electric piano chords. 5:25 seees FRIPP-ish sustained guitar solo beginning over the top of the keyboard work. At 6:05 begins the true toy piano solo/arpeggia--both hands over tremolo picked e-string note of the guitar. Enter a harmonium or accordion. At 7:55 drums reintroduce the dissonant "discipline" and now BELEW solo. At 8:48 there is a return to the harmonized melodic groove. Part STEVE HILLAGE, part MIE OLDFIELD. Interesting song. 7. Innilegur? (7/10) has Middle Eastern sounding acoustic "guitar" intro. (Perhaps a very old, dilapidated guitar?) At 1:35 it develops into more Western melodic picking. At 2:03 a synth and other guitar (bowed?) join in. A brief song. 8. Västarbron 05:30 (9/10) is my second favorite song from this album. It begins with a DOORS-y intro, bluesy bass/chord progression. At 1:20 the main melody is established on electric piano. At 2:25 a secondary melody enters, now accompanied by strummed acoustic guitar chord progression. Very NEIL YOUNG/CSN&Y-like. Guitar solo. At 4:20 the guitar and song sound more ALVIN LEE like with aggressive blues rock. Perhaps even BUDDY GUY. guitar fades to background as organ and electric piano foundation return to forefront. Strings join in, but listen to that guitar shredding away far in the back left! A bit of a "Strawberry Fields Forever" feel to the swirling chaos and eeriness of the end--and that toy piano!

Still, highly recommended for the prog lover.

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 Glue Works by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.79 | 100 ratings

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Glue Works
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by Zargasheth

4 stars

Gösta Berlings Saga are really maturing into a stylistically diverse, highly original, and most importantly really cool-sounding band. I was overjoyed to find this CD on the shelves of my local music store (cursed as I was by the impression that these guys would remain inaccessibly Swedish forever) and picked it up somewhat impulsively.

And originally, I found it generally enjoyable but slightly disappointing compared to Tid är Ljud, the first album of theirs I heard, but it has massively improved on repeated listens. Part of this is due to the minimalist style of record--my first impression was that the songs tended to be overlong, but closer observation reveals a wealth of small details that really make the album excellent. (Really, more of a 4.3 or 4.4.)

Finally, the album shows a clear progression from their second, Detta Har Hänt. That one, although still heavily produced, still maintains the same instrumentation and a roughly uniform sound throughout, whereas Glue Works uses many different interesting synth sounds and other instruments--including the only successful example I've seen of the musical saw in a rock context. The whole thing is excellently produced by Matthias Olson (of Änglagård fame). I wouldn't necessarily say this album is better than Detta Har Hänt, but it shows clear musical development. As previous reviewers have said, it's more than a bit post-rocky, which is an interesting change in style.

Three paragraphs, and I haven't even gotten to individual songs yet! The opener, 354, is a relentless, minimalist rocker, with the group's signature combination of Fender Rhodes and harsh guitar, playing an incessantly energetic (and utterly bizarre time-signature-wise--I still haven't figured it out) piece that subtly metamorphoses through several different themes, concluding with a pounding two-chord theme over which various instruments exchange solos. This last part does go on a bit long, but the piece is quite exciting overall. Also, I think I understand the enigmatic title--the piece is 5:54, or 354 seconds, long.

After "354" comes "Icosahedron", continuing the theme of "slightly mathematical titles". This is an excellent piece, with an eerie Rhodes intro that suddenly crescendos into a crashing, heavy sequence of bizarre chord voicings on the guitar. The effect is menacing and unpredictable, and it all too soon calms back down to the Rhodes. This piece is highly original but also fascinating to listen to, and is also a bit too short.

The following piece, "Island", is one of the album's two "epics". It starts out with a pleasantly eerie string section (with saw!) which introduces the piece's main theme. This goes on for a minute or two, and then the piece starts in earnest, with a crashing guitar theme and thunderous drumming from Alexander Skepp. For about 10 minutes, the band riffs in subtly changing ways on a pretty exciting 13/8 chord progression, almost never halting or pulling back its steady advance. This piece does have one outstanding flaw, which is that it's distinctly overlong. It could easily lose a minute or so from the ending jam and vastly improve. But my opinion has still gotten more positive from when I first heard it. The trick is that, at the time, it was unlike anything I had ever heard. In this track more than any other on the album, it is important to pay attention to the weird things going on in the background, and what initially appears to be interminable jamming at the end turns out to be a truly epic fadeout. (Which, as already stated, is a wee bit long, but still cool!) What is really impressive is that, apart from the sudden transition away from strings at the beginning, the piece preserves its length without any awkward jumps or cuts. It doesn't sound like it was stitched together from shorter songs, but rather uses slow, unnoticeable transitions through guitar solos, harsh saw-wave synths, repeated motifs, and back to more soloing. Although perhaps not the best song on the album, it is a fascinating listen and a fitting centerpiece--atmospheric and terrifyingly relentless at the same time (which always strikes me as an oxymoronic combination, until I actually hear examples such as this.)

Fortunately, the 13-minute crunch-fest of Island is followed up by a relatively calming intro to "Gliese 581g", a mysterious repeated Rhodes figure over xylophone and subtle, breathy synth noises. It's intriguing, because the main melody is actually comprised by these "background" noises--the "foreground" figure is really the slowly developing backing. After this goes on for a while, the instruments draw back again, in time for a sudden, violent interruption of guitar chords carrying a similar theme, which are then backed by thundering, complex percussion, building up to a sudden stop. Again, this piece is a bit on the long side, but still excellent.

This is followed by two short pieces. The first, "Waves", might actually be the best on the disc, with strange percussion (including handclaps) and growling bass, a catchy opening synth theme, and then weird, echoey guitar chords which fall into the background. The song is sort of based off of several layers that swap out for each other, producing a highly varied piece with a lot going on. And of all of the tracks on the record, this one is the one that would be most improved by lengthening--it's under 3 minutes!

The second short piece, "Geosignal", does not impress me. It starts out with a slow, melancholy theme on strings and accordion (?) which then switches to a brass interlude. It's the least remarkable part of the disc, but it's fortunately also the shortest, and the last note fades out and then sweeps back into...

"Sorterargatan 1", the "prequel" to Detta Har Hänt's "Sorterargatan 3". This begins with a chiming repeated figure on the guitar and menacing bass notes, leading in to more of the stunning rapid twiddles on the guitar that marked its companion piece and then a more ethereal section with an eerie leading tone. The song then suddenly stops, several minutes short of its promised running time...

And starts up again as what appears to be a totally different song--another slow-building tune this time, with rhodes, bass, drums, and cello, but, for the first time on the album, actually happy! Apparently this is still a part of Sorterargatan 1, but I can't really see that--they're not connected in any way. Still, it's nice to end such a dark record on a happy note, and the buildup is well-executed.

So, to conclude this overly verbose review: Glue Works is very, very good. Sometimes it stresses the minimalism and repetition of its songs a little too far, but there are enough details and complexly layered parts that in most places it doesn't make a difference. It's also got a style that I've heard nowhere else before. So if you're interested in post-rock, minimalism, eclectic prog, or just any instrumental rock that's highly original, it would behoove you to check this out. Highlights include "Icosahedron", "Waves", and "Sorterargatan 1".

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 Tid är Ljud by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.56 | 46 ratings

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Tid är Ljud
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by HURBRET

4 stars Gösta Berlings Saga have given us quite a treat for their freshman album. They have an interesting style, one which hints of Discipline-era King Crimson; although they share a similarity, they're both very distinctly different styles. The Fender Rhodes Electric piano drives this album, and does so quite well. Another thing I like about this band: they don't sing. Instrumentals only (with a bit of speaking in one track only.) The album kicks off with an excellent opening track entitled "Helgamarktz" with a high-energy theme. The beginning reminds me of a crossover of Roundabout (Yes) and Memories of Old Days (Gentle Giant). It starts slowly, with an ambient chord on the organ, and guitars come in. It quickly picks up, however, and this is one of the quickest tracks on the album. 10/10.

The next, Syrenernas Sång, has a crunchy theme on the Rhodes with a wah pedal. I love this track, but the speaking halfway through gets in the way of the cool guitar solo. 9/10.

Aniarasviten starts fast, but actually gets slower as it progresses. The fast opening is great, and so is the mellotron-drenched middle. I'm not too fond of the more static ending, but this is still a great track. 8/10.

Ljud Från Stan is another rocker, rivaling Helgamarktz. It has a nice solo on the aforementioned Fender Rhodes. 8/10.

Tog Du Med Dig Naturen is my least favorite on the album, it's just kind of slow. It's got an alright theme, but it's ten minutes of a theme that never really develops. 5/10.

Knölsvanen has a cool intro on the Rhodes. It then goes into a somewhat twisted melody. 7/10.

The last track, Svarta Hål och Elljusspår starts with lots of tritones. This one in particular reminds me of Discipline. It makes use of many repeated phrases, seeming like minimalism. It goes into a slower middle (with flute!) 7/10.

Well, there you have it. Some really great Swedish prog.

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 Glue Works by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.79 | 100 ratings

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Glue Works
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars GOSTA BERLINGS SAGA are back with their special blend of Swedish instrumental Prog. Once again ANGLAGARD's Mattias Olsson is back to help with additional sounds as well as producing,recording and mixing this baby. All I had to see was that David Lundberg was once again playing Fender Rhodes and mellotron to know this would be good. Like the last one we get a Post-Rock flavour at times but I will say right off the bat that the last one is a better album than this one. Still I definitely rate this better than the debut and a solid 4 stars.

"354" opens with guitar as a beat then the Fender Rhodes join in. I like the prominant bass as well. A spacey almost theremin-like sound takes over at 4 minutes and when it stops this sounds amazing. Quite intense. "Icosahedron" kicks in fuller just before a minute as the guitar is picked over top. It settles 2 1/2 minutes in to the end.

"Island" opens with cello and that theremin-like sound again.The drums kick in before 2 minutes.The guitar comes to the spotlight before 4 1/2 minutes as this song just keeps getting better. "Gliese 581G" has a Post-Rock flavour to start.The guitar kicks in at 4 minutes to the end. "Waves" is a short tune with a heavy beat and mellotron.

"Geosignal" has some harmonica, horns, piano, guitar and atmosphere. It blends into "Sorterargatan I" where a full sound kicks in quickly. Almost a Zeuhl-like rhythm especially with that growly bass sound after 1 1/2 minutes as the guitar plays over top. A calm follows with mellotron. It's building then that Zeuhl-like bass returns after 4 1/2 minutes. A calm a minute later then it starts to build 7 1/2 minutes in. Cello 9 minutes in then mellotron before 10 1/2 minutes.

"Glue Works" is an excellent follow-up to the masterpiece that was "Detta Har Hant".

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 Glue Works by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.79 | 100 ratings

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Glue Works
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars

Who is Gösta Berling and why did he name his band after the Canadian synthrockers?

I jest of course. There is no Gösta Berling unless you count the defrocked minister from the Lagerlöf novel and Jethro Tull-like namesake of the group, and frankly if you really want the straight poop on this disc; the scuttlebutt, the word, skinny, dish, and hearsay, I'd suggest reading Starless' excellent write-up. My main parting with his fine assessment is that I do find Glue Works focuses strongly on building layered themes upon simple structures rather than material that is change-oriented. Kinda sounds like what you'd get if you threw half the Ozrics and half of Anglagard in a room together for a day or two. And then there's that Hansson&Karlsson influence. It's a strange mix but that's okay, it works, and it sounds like the kind of thing you'd regret tossing five or ten years from now. Sadly it's not an approach that does a whole lot for this writer. The project functions on paper, but somehow the music doesn't stick and seems to evaporate as it plays leaving little residual flavor. I do wish this were not the case for the 46 minute Cuneiform release, but you call 'em like you see 'em.

There is some very good stuff here, however, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point it out. '354' promises with an intriguing vamp of thin, tingly lines from Einar Baldursson's guitar & Dave Lundberg's electric piano splayed over the tribal drumming of Alex Skepp. A good start. Atonal 'Icosahedron' clearly reflects the Hansson/Karlsson impact while painfully long 'Island' at over twelve minutes creaks along to the beautifully recorded cellos of Cecilia Linne, wayward sounds of an aetherphone, and develops into a very cool jam that, if tailored, could've been a highlight. But the piece is dragged-out to it's breaking point and doesn't really capitalize on this outfit's potential brilliance. A welcome change of pace for 'Waves' reminding vaguely of early Peter Gabriel, and 13-minute monster 'Sorterargatan 1' is quite good, the foursome finally bringing it with multiple changes of theme, direction, pace and instrumentation.

This is a good record. Very good. And I know I must be missing something. I wanted more, I wanted less, I don't know what I wanted, and it isn't really the band's fault that I'm such a nitpicking assh*le. This is an album that can only be judged by the listener while he is listening, not defined by an outside impression. And so dear reader, with gaping ear and hungry spirit, you should decide for yourself if GBS fits your bill. I only know it didn't quite fit mine.

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 Glue Works by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.79 | 100 ratings

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Glue Works
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by Starless

4 stars Named after a famous 19th century Swedish novel, the story of a defrocked church minister with added sword and sorcery, this band has a lineage that one can trace back through Anekdoten, the recently reformed Änglagård, and older influences such as Hansson & Karlsson, the ubiquitous King Crimson, and Van Der Graaf Generator. In fact Änglagård's Mattias Olsson is involved here on production duties and contributes "additional hidden and lost sounds".

Any entirely instrumental band has to be able to keep the listener's attention with many intricate twists and turns, or go the other way and create a trance-like ambience. Gösta Berlings Saga, not unsurprisingly given their influences, go for the former approach, and highly successful it is too. I've listened to this album quite a few times before attacking the keyboard, and each time I hear something I missed previously.

The first thing I notice is a powerful organic sound propelled by Gabriel's bass and Alexander's driving back beat on the opening piece, the cryptically named 354. The tune marches along, embellished by some nice piano flourishes from David before becoming darker and pulling you round in a very fast orbit. There's even a musical saw interlude before the crunching finale. An impressive start.

Instrumental bands can call their songs anything they like, and there are some great titles here. Icosahedron is "..a regular polyhedron with 20 identical equilateral triangular faces, 30 edges and 12 vertices" - and who am I to argue! Gilese 581g is a planet orbiting Gilese 581 in the constellation of Libra, and is reckoned to be an Earth-like planet with a good chance of supporting life. Where do they find these titles?!

Icosahedron with Einar's crashing chords puts me in mind of one of the instrumental passages from The Strangler's Meninblack album, but with added cojones. More musical saw and waltzing cello gives a chamber music feel to Island, the first longer piece on the album. The theme is taken over by bass and drum, you can feel the build up. The spirit of Änglagård is very much in evidence on this great piece of stomping waltz music from another galaxy.

Geosignal has a glam rock beat overlaid with some trumpet and more crashing Stranglers-like chords. A surprising but fun deviation.

Soterargarten 1 reprises a title from the last album, where it was listed as Soterargarten 3, and the band's myspace site has Soterargarten 2 for streaming. It's all a bit confusing! Anyway, after a mournful trumpet intro a huge marching bass/drums riff establishes a theme, and it lurches along like Iron Man in a rage. Then it stops, and a quiet reflective piano led section later joined by trumpet and cello builds to a gentle climax, lulling the listener after the carnage that has gone before. Wonderful stuff. You'll have buy the thing to find out more!

I don't usually go for track by track descriptions (ok, I haven't described every song here, but five out of seven is good going for me!) , as personally I find reviews that give an overall impression far more helpful, but this has sucked me in, in a good way I hasten add, but I'll stop now, having hopefully teased you just enough to investigate further.

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 Tid är Ljud by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.56 | 46 ratings

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Tid är Ljud
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tid ar Ljud (Time is Sound) was the debut album from Swedish instrumental prog rock band, Gosta Berlings Saga.

I discovered this band after the release of their second album, Detta Har Hant, and truthfully it was so good that I was afraid to listen to this album for fear that it wouldn't captivate me to the same degree. Luckily, it didn't take a lot of listens to realise that Gosta Berlings Saga had come out of the gates strongly, and that their debut album was just as strong as its follow-up.

The band play instrumental rock music, and although they have a standard rock lineup of drums, keyboards, bass and guitar, they sound far removed from standard rock band. The music is built from carefully constructed layers of music that create entrancing textures, and as the details of the music are uncovered it only grows in appeal. This is definitely an album where there are plenty of details to uncover through multiple listens.

Between this album and Detta Har Hant, the band had switched guitarists, and so there is a bit of a difference in the sound here. Matthias Danielson doesn't create textures with quite the precision that Einar Baldursson would on the next album, but he puts a bit more rock and heaviness into his playing, making this album a bit meatier than its follow-up. This works quite well, and the closing track, Svarta Hal Och Elljusspår (Black holes and Floodlit Track) is perhaps the best example of this. It is also possibly the best track I have heard from this very talented group thus far.

Definitely a recommended listen. Now to get my hands on their latest, "Glue Works"...

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