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Indo-Prog/Raga Rock • Sweden

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Harvester biography
Formerly as International Harvester, shortened to Harvester in 1969 (later changed to Träd, Gräs Och Stenar)

Harvester was formed in 1967 in Stockholm by guitarist Bo Anders Persson and included cello player Ericsson and violinist Yman. They were first known because of International Harvester and Pärsson Sound who delivered colossal live sessions during the late 60s. In 1968 they changed their name for Harvester. During that period they partly abandoned their psych-out droning rock and focused their interest on traditional folk music and acoustic performances. Harvester provided splendid home made epiphanic folk ragas made of ritual psychotropical moods and improvised bucolic ballads. The debut album Sov Gott Rose-Marie was released in 1968 on Love. In 1969 alternative labels had started to pop up, and with the name shortened to Harvester the band released their second album, Hemåt, on Decibel.

See also: WiKi

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2.82 | 19 ratings

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 Hemåt by HARVESTER album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.82 | 19 ratings

Harvester Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by south87

5 stars In 1969, International Harvester shortened their name to Harvester and released Hemåt, the second official album of the group originally known as Pärson Sound. It is a natural follow up to Sov Gott Rose-Marie containing a greater focus on the droning and minimal improvisations that characterized the original sound of the band as PS rather on the short and pretty gems of the first half said album. Previously, listeners had only tasted the electric mantric jamming singular to the band in the form of "I Mourn You" ("How to Survive" being a dark acoustic jam).

Given the duration of Harvester's jams and the limitations of the LP medium, we see a problem that is to linger across PS/IH/TGS releases: the trouble of "fitting" long tracks on LPs like it where a puzzle, trying to achieve variety and length in a single LP. To acomplish this, the band had to cut the tracks and add the now classic fade in and out to succesfully include various improvisations in a single LP. As the majority of the pieces in the album feature this blurred beginning and ending, the feeling of eternity permeates the album. Coupled with the fact that the drone is ever present and the mantric repetition is the focus of the album, the result is very ambient and psychedelic sounding music.

As in the previous album, the sound is overall excellent, the bass is mixed in very deep and sounds great along with the drums. The rhythm section alone produces a great deal of heaviness through out the album. The heaviness of the record rivals that of the PS recordings. Previously not found in Sov Gott Rose-Marie are elements like wah-wah in the guitar, more "traditional" rhythms like the boogie, a constant participation of the saxophone and a less restrained sound overall. The vibe and style is very similar to the PS recordings and has much better pacing.

The first half of the album is presented as 2 couples consisting each of a short track and a minimalistic jam. The album opener is a nice and dronig song accompanied by acoustic guitars, falsely setting the tone of the album, one might think it might consist of varied material as in the previous one. It is clear that the track serves a prelude to the album and it fades out to the first minimalist jam. "Kristallen Den Fina" and its drone suddenly fades in and within the minute, its groovy rhythm is accompanied by the classic unconventional chanting of the band members giving it a sort of wonderful Dionysian touch, adding energy to the increasing drone. All band members are present and in full blast creating eventually a thick and heavy texture. As it was the staple since the time of PS, the music features slowly changing features and melodies maitaining the listener bewildered in its sonic landscapes. It is a fantastic track and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

"Kuk-Polska" and "Nepal Boogie" are the next couple. The former being traditional dance music rendered for a rock band format with wind instruments. The result is akin to that of a traditional town band in the middle of a festivity. As Bo Anders has stated in interviews, part of the spirit of the band was to provide organic music to every day life. A kind of true "electric folk music". The track as a result is very danceable and features quirky vocals in pure PS style. "Nepal Boogie" continues the grinding drones and monolithic rhythms with the band at full throttle. The saxophone relentlessly solos and wails over wah wah guitar and goes non-stop heavy until its gradual fade out.

In the original release, the second half of the album placed 3 minimalistic and almost equally long tracks together. The first is "Everybody needs somebody (To love)", a cover song that maintains a steady and groovy pace from start to finish. The vocals are not very discernable and overall the music doesnt reach the heights the previous tracks had though the formula is the same. The music is heavy sounding through out but doesnt really stand out. Bacon Tomorrow is a live track, probably involving some sort of interaction with the audience. It consists of a heavy and upbeat bassline grooving through out the track while ambient noises, clapping, wind instruments, chanting and saxophone interventions mold and change the atmosphere. The track is reminiscent of the PS recordings and is probably the least conventional of the album. Although its recording quality is lacking, it is evident the resulting atmosphere is something Harvester thought highly of and is overall more interesting than the preivous track.

The third track is "Och Solen Går Upp", another minimalist jam featuring crazy vocals that fades in playing the famous "India" motif. The track was edited as the shortest minimalist jam of the record at 4:50 and it builds up pretty quickly to its heavy climax and shortly after fades out and ends the album, sonically its great and follows the same mantric formula, but again does not reach the heights of previous tracks.

Again, the second half of the album could have been better if the title track was in place of the last one or "Everybody needs somebody (To love)". Once again, why such a great track was left as a bonus in place of not so strong ones is perplexing. The title track is the best one in the album. Featuring a singular droning psychedelic groove from the start, beautiful sax lines and excellent wah wah guitar accenting the hypnotic atmosphere, its Harvester sounding at their most fresh, at its most timeless and excentric style. The CD release of Hemåt adds a transition between "Och Solen Går Upp" and the title track consisting of bird singings reminding us of the previous album. The CD version does indeed again aliviate a lack of a convincing close to the album and once again, balances it out, saving it from feeling forever incomplete.

There is no doubt that the LP medium was not intended for this band's music and to fit it, many sacrifices had to be made. The majority of these tracks where evidently much longer and we got only a glimpse of them. Of the original releases, the album is one of the most consistly minimalist and monolithic through out. If Sov Gott Rose-marie showed the enhanced version of the songwriting found in the PS recordings, Hemåt exemplified a cleaner and more focused version of the mantric improvisations.

Being the last album before morphing into a more rock driven format, Hemåt stands as a signpost, evidence of what was and what could have been. A true testament to psychedelic rock. The Pärson Sound, International Harvester and Harvester recordings remain as the most eclectic and timeless albums of this group's history. Even with its few flaws, Hemåt is an astounding release, documenting and offering insight into the unique and psychedelic jams of this incredible group.

 Hemåt by HARVESTER album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.82 | 19 ratings

Harvester Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by BORA

1 stars Just what was this again?

Honestly, this release leaves me dumbfounded. In my lifetime I've listened to thousands of albums, but I can't recall anything like this - and that's not meant to be a plus.

Absolute confusion reigns here. From one minute to the other, I can't tell if I am listening to South American Folk, Mongolian Rain Dance, Weather Report on a "bad hair day", or else? Psychedelic with no body at best.

I remain a die-hard hippie and I can relate to some spaces out, or gentle, caring music, but this piece comes across as perhaps vodka influenced indulgence that should never have been released. Repetitive and utterly boring lines lacking any semblance of a riff just won't do it for me.

I have a reasonable knowledge of and a healthy respect for Scandinavian music, put this piece represents no more than -perceived - drunken stupor.

I wonder as what would have resulted in recording first, then celebrate - instead of the other way around? Thumbs down here.

 Hemåt by HARVESTER album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.82 | 19 ratings

Harvester Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

2 stars If you want to try a different form of music, you really should try Harvester, or Pärson Sound, International Harvester and Träd, gräs och stenar as they alse called themselves. The best classification of their music is Krautrock but they called themselves "skogsrock" or "forest rock". Their music is monotonic but talanted ? sometimes. It is very heavy and slow music, related to some form of dark metal music but very much earlier. I recommend you to try this music which is very typical for the swedish progg-movement and the hippie-age.

No, I don't like this. It is more like they were in a drug hallucination than playing music. You can enjoy it ? sure. I think the best track here is "Kristallen den fina". Here they are very attuned and there is som nice flute included. In the end you can alse find a melodi. Melodies is what I miss on this record. If there was melodies perhaps I would have liked it. This is really progressive music ? but not progressive in the way I like it. But listen to it. They were unique and perhaps you like it.

 Hemåt by HARVESTER album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.82 | 19 ratings

Harvester Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

3 stars Hippopotamus' Hoe-down

Continuing the Swedish Krautrock adventure, International Harvester lost the "International" part of their name and continued to fine-tune, push and redirect the confines of their brand new invention. Hemåt (Homewards) is the second and last album of theirs, and it is quite a shame because I for one would have loved to hear what could've, should've might have been. Instead they morphed into an altogether new act called Träd, Gräs och Stenar, which went even further with a certain tool shed production...

What I really like about this album, is the fact that they have evolved the intimate and minimal chug rock of their debut into something infinitely more solid, grooving and rocking. There are tracks here that just ooze wild tribal fury and fire with rumbling Cream like drumming and the apt guitar and bass visions to accompany such a thing. What those tracks turn into as a whole (and as a result of this saucy cooperation) are these magnificent raw creatures of sound tearing up the very soil with Neanderthal music stamping through the airwaves like a regular hippopotamus' hoe-down. It's primal and largely based around simple monkey like rhythm schemes, but it works wonders just as well. The second track Kristallen den Fina is a fine example of this remarkable style.

Jumping straight to my favourite cut off Hemåt - I'd like to speak a bit about the rendition of Everybody (Needs somebody to Love). This track is completely torn apart in these mellow skewed psychedelic surfaces - sounding almost like mantra like chants emanating from your local opium den. Wah wahing guitar along with the tribal tom work again points a finger back towards Cream, but this is just so much more loosey goosey and jello based. If you've heard the original song before, then don't hold your breath for anything recognisable other than the steaming vocalisations in the back... So why only 3 stars you say? Well this album's got some serious issues as well. One of them being the horrifically bad sound quality there is to some of the tracks. Audiophiles of PA take cover - you're most likely going to hate these with every inch of your body. Tracks like Nepal- Boogie and Bacon Tomorrow(HA HAH!! Gotta love that title though...) sound like they were recorded from the insides of a shed by a drunk toddler with a 1940s microphone down his nappy. Whatever qualities there are to either of these tracks are lost in complete marmalade overkill. Everything sounds muffled and gagged - like listening to a psych jam from the other end of a telephone. Too bad, because one of these sounds like an acid drenched take on Canned Heat's bobbing boogie style.

Finally, I find it pretty mesmerizing that the title track Hemåt is a bonus track that originally was left off the record. The only reason I have it is because I purchased the reissue cd, and to top it all off - the tune is actually one of the best psych jams on this outing! Maybe the guys had completely gone fishing - smoked too much space tobacco and injected the wrong kind of medicine, but I think it speaks volumes about the whole mental state of the times(and band), that a track like this was binned in favour of either of the earlier mentioned toddler recordings. Sheer madness! Still, when this album is good - it is very good, and I feel instantly shot back into those Neanderthal grooves with the hypnotic tribal drums, the occasional saxophone toots and the see saw guitars sloshing away - and then everything else just diminishes and turns into mindless concerns of the nitpicking people. 3.5 stars. 

Thanks to Kazuhiro Kojima for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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