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ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA

RIO/Avant-Prog • Sweden


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Zamla Mammaz Manna biography
ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA (ZMM for short) / SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA (SMM for short)

"Instrumental music with vocal addition at its best! A bastard meeting between some musical individualists resulted in a series of records that stunned the world. High quality performance combined with musical integrity gives you a unique amount of satisfaction."

They were, at the end of the Seventies and in the Eighties, the Swedish representative of the collective Rock In Opposition founded by Chris CUTLER. I can tell you that their music is a blend of mostly instrumental 70's progressive rock, Scandinavian folk, jazz-fusion, avant-garde, RIO (Rock In Opposition) and World Music. The vocals in Swedish, the use of accordion, handbells, marimbas and percussions of all kinds gives a very personal touch to this music.

As was popular at the time, the germ of the SMM sound came from adapting traditional Scandinavian folk themes into modern music. After, there followed an intensive period of jam sessions, trying out all sorts of ideas, with unlikely combinations of folk, rock and jazz structures. "Klossa Knapitatet" (1974) expanded on their improvisational side, and maybe their best. It's a FUN album! The legacy of "Snorungarnas Symfoni" was the end of a phase, and was also where SMM history became complicated. Now the long awaited reunion on album for SMM is finally here. "Kaka" marks the return of the original line-up in 1999. While very good, the band's early energy and creativeness is hard to recreate some 23 years later. If you haven't heard them before, this album is a perfect starter. Highly recommended!

SMM to ZMM and other directions...
In January 1977, SMM reformed as the subtly renammed ZAMLA MAMMAS MANNA, to indicate a new start and a new style with much more fiery and distinctly RIO type of rock fusion. "Familjesprickor" (1980) was their final album, and by far the most intense. This album is, nonetheless, an excellent place to start.

See also:

- Samla Mammas Manna
- Von Zamla
- Ramlösa Kvällar

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Schlagerns MystikSchlagerns Mystik
Silence Recordings 2006
Audio CD$15.71
$19.97 (used)
Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
Silence Recordings 2006
Audio CD$10.83
$17.56 (used)
Zamla Mammaz Manna Family Cracks Mainstream JazzZamla Mammaz Manna Family Cracks Mainstream Jazz
Records
Audio CD$33.98
SCHLAGERNS MYSTIK/FOR ALDRE NYBEGYNNARE(2CD) +1(paper-sleSCHLAGERNS MYSTIK/FOR ALDRE NYBEGYNNARE(2CD) +1(paper-sle
DIW Records (JAPAN)
Audio CD$48.53
$69.84 (used)
SAMRA/ZAMLA BOX(paper-sleeve)(import)SAMRA/ZAMLA BOX(paper-sleeve)(import)
DIW Records (JAPAN)
Audio CD$683.50
$399.98 (used)
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ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA discography


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ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.06 | 23 ratings
För Äldre Nybegynnare
1978
3.40 | 28 ratings
Schlagerns Mystik
1978
4.21 | 83 ratings
Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
1980

ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.08 | 3 ratings
Lejonet av Ljuga
1979

ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Schlagerns Mystik by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.40 | 28 ratings

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Schlagerns Mystik
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I remember distinctly buying this at a musicstore back in 1995. I was searching for swedish left-wing progressive music from the 70's and bought anything and everything I could get my hands on. I had heard of Samla Mammas Manna before but bought this CD mainly because of the record label, Silence, and the fact that they released a whole bunch of great records of the genre. Now, I wasn't prepared for this. I wasn't put off but rather stunned, mainly because the band seemed to distance themselves from the rest of the pack, even mocking music as a whole in producing an album of silly music. Actually it is more than that. It is silly, I'll grant you that, baut it is so brilliant and for me, born and raised in Sweden, the lyrics brings baffled smiles to my face again and again.

The music is, as always, a mixture of folk, circus music, prog, jazz, fusion, avant-garde, insanity, hard rock, intelligence, free form and beyond. The music ranges over everything, which is quite astonishing. The album is accessible and highly unaccessible. This is not music for those who cannot take musical bewilderment and chaos, yet it is structured and melodic in a weird way.

I may make it sound as if the music is not melodic, well it is. It is highly melodic. I suppose the key word is eclectic music through a bunch of musicians whims and chaotic notions. Harsh yet tender in places. Zamla Mammaz Manna is a unique group which is deserving of a greater place in music, not just just in Sweden but elsewhere aswell.

My favorite track is 'det (The fate). It is progressive rock at it's finest. The feeling is that of a group bursting at the seams. The riff is great and 'det has to be the most "proper" song of the album. It is a gem! The remainder of the tracks are amusing, yet brilliant in their own right, but it is 'det that takes the price.

All in all, I'd say it is a strange but clever album. Highly recommended for fusion fans as well as proggers of all trades, as it were. Mrvellous stuff.

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 För Äldre Nybegynnare by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.06 | 23 ratings

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För Äldre Nybegynnare
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Swedish meatballs

This was the first release under the moniker Zamla Mammas Manna. Something happened to this crazy Swedish flock during the mid 70s, that inspired them to change route and thereby look at music in another fashion - dive into it with an altogether new inspiration. Now, while the old Samla Mamma Manna were anything but your average prog rock band, - in fact I think it's safe to say that there was nobody out there who sounded quite like them during this period in music - something did happen during their last tour under the SMM name. They were performing with a brass band and playing music that wasn't theirs to begin with. Snorungarnas Symphony was the brainchild of Swedish-American composer Greg Fitzpatrick, who also fiddled about with notorious Swedish rock figures Hansson and Karlsson during the latter part of the 60s. I personally think that things were bound to change for SMM, because what I get from these guys - what strikes me the most about them, is there inability to stand still - there will to drive on and push through. They were like human bulldozers in a world of pretty obstacles.

Maybe it was time for a change. Coste Apetrea was replaced with a new guitarist called Eino Haapala, and the group was now pushing the sonic boundaries even further. What was possible within the confines of their own music? This is one of the main reasons that they during this time were associated with the Rock In Opposition movement, and together with bands like Henry Cow, Univers Zero and Stormy Six - the quest for music without a safety net was on - music with no self-preservation - free as a drunk ship mouse dancing merrily around on the very edge of conformity - these acts had now ventured out on a ledge that threatened to break off at any given moment.

För Äldre Nybegynnare is Zamla Mammas Manna's first peep, and although it was released as a double album with Schlagerns mystik, it is still very much a debut. It's comprised of live recordings done at various Swedish live shows all through 1976-77. It is not the most accomplished live recordings I've ever been subjected to - in fact it sometimes comes off sounding like a garage job, although strangely enough, every nuance of any instrument played here is audible, which had me puzzled for a long time. Some kind of mysterious recording technique that sounds like it's done under an old correlated iron roof during a heavy storm, yet still sporting a distinct clarity from the individual musicians, which obviously must be packed up in tin foil and helium vacuums. I'm not entirely sure, but it sure sounds unique and atmosphere inducing. Safe to say that I haven't bumped into any other album sounding quite like this ever in my life.

Now whereas the old group did sound frantic and haphazard - like a freaked out circus playing far too many melodies all at the same time whilst inhabiting a slightly skewed train wreck, the tunes as such could never be accused of being jams. Sure there were sections that inspired a bit of laissez faire - do whatever you want, - BUT in essence they were highly orchestrated and well thought out pieces, even if that sounds a bit mad.

Zamla Mammas Manna on the other hand were diving head first into the unknown. It was about improvisations and loose structures based on whatever mood, sound, feel that was prevailing at the time of execution. Yeah - music of the moment, and while that sounds a bit like jazz, För Äldre Nybegynnare does not entirely sound like it. It doesn't sound like anything other than itself - to be quite honest. Take the first 2 cuts here called Urmakare(Watchmaker). Starting off with a jolly guy singing: WAHALALALHAALAWA - then seeping into a cacophonous guitar wall, some snuffling electronics from before the time of Mario Brothers, but not unlike it - and tadah! you have the intro. Then the drumming starts with it's nervous twitching along with a deep fat bass chugging along like a dirty swamp monster from your darkest dreams. It's angular, mad, uneven, imaginative like a children's fairytale and stuffed full of small segments swaying the track to change coarse for the more gritty, rocking, ethereal or everything in between.

This could be a description of the album itself. A constant battle of differentiating moods and tempers - all conveyed in notes and musical journeys that will have you reaching for your sanity from time to time. It's funny as well, but maybe that is down to the strange vocals. Man they make me laugh! Harsh screams sounding like the food of nightmares - then lingering into some bizarre yodelling textures only to end up with a hair caught in the mouth - coughing, spitting and grinning. Seriously though, this album is also very beautiful. Some of it is achingly ethereal with its mumbling screeching guitars that wander about in mid air. The long drawn out piece called Seldon In Memoriam is almost ambient, and to an electronic initiated like myself - that is certainly interesting. Still it sounds like a cartoon run amok in the studio of Tangerine Dream anno 1972 with creepy soundscapes and flickering marimba noises, a guy singing in the shower and a stagnant shaman like feel to the organs, as if these guys were trying to conjure up the god of insignificance. It is a snapshot of a crazed out band trying to do their very best not to fall in, obey and take orders. It ends in the most wonderful evil guitar riffing and drum assault - sounding like the whole of the studio suddenly got flipped over on one side, - breathing its last breaths and finally silently ebbing out in an eerie type of electronically infused epilogue.

This will almost certainly not be for everyone, and if you are one of those who think that Frank Zappa on occasion gets a bit too experimental and weird, then you should probably stay away from this outing. If you however think of Henry Cow and others that veered into the more abrasive and shapeshifting forms of music - those from the RIO movement that pushed the envelope and ran with the zebras - then you are most likely going to love this album just as much as I do. It's bizarre, off, beautifully entrancing, cartoonish, gritty, fun like hell, cheery, evil, schizophrenic, waltzing, folky, angular, heavy, corny, electronic, staccato, jump-rope like and far more things than I could ever possibly hope to attach to it. The fact of the matter is, that I adore it like Monty Python - not because I understand it, but because I'm able to flow with it - get with it like a human transformation of the river raft.

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 Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)  by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.21 | 83 ratings

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Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I wasn't keen on earlier Zamla releases, and as far as Samla went I always preferred their Canterbury-influenced material to their more avant-garde stuff. But Family Cracks really is an excellent little album; it's essentially Zamla presenting their own take on the RIOish chamber rock concept as espoused by Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, and (to a lesser extent) on the last Henry Cow album (Western Culture). Zamla play a more light-hearted variant of this style, less horror- based than Art Zoyd, Univers Zero and Present and less hostile than Henry Cow. With snatches of polka infiltrating proceedings, the overall effect is genuinely original and possibly the group's greatest artistic accomplishment.

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 Schlagerns Mystik by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.40 | 28 ratings

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Schlagerns Mystik
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars On this album Zamla Mammaz Manna take the circus music flirtations of their previous incarnation and turn them up to the max. Rune2000's review suggests that the intent was to parody the musical scene in Sweden at the time - well, that may or may not be the case, but if it's so it would explain why the album falls flat with me. RIO bands are supposed to play inaccessible music, of course, but in this case the band's ideas are only accessible if you already have a reasonably detailed background knowledge of the music scene in Sweden in 1978, which I suspect will exclude a great many listeners from appreciating this one to the fullest. Including me.

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 Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)  by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.21 | 83 ratings

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Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars I believe, that it is very difficult writes a review about any disk of the Swedish band ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA or in any other "version" of the same band (VON ZAMLA & SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA). Such fact is directly linked to the sound wealth that ZMM presents and also certain vocal & instrumental "experiences" (what is quite natural in the RIO-AVANT PROG style). This way, I will synthesize this analysis, dividing in two classifications the tracks of the album "FAMILY CRACKS", 1- audible tracks: those that I consider "digestible"and inaudible tracks: those that I consider "indigestible". Following this reasoning, the album in subject has balance highly positive, because, of their 8 tracks, only one track I classify as "inaudible track", this is the track 4 "The Thrall", that didn't make any sense for my ears. The remaining of the disk is excellent. An interesting point is in the track 3 "The Forge" that reminded me in several aspects a theme of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos ("O Trenzinho Caipira") . My rate is 4 stars!!!!

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 Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)  by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.21 | 83 ratings

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Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Would not want to be that family's neighbour'

If you come into FAMILY CRACKS from any Samla Mammas Manna works, this is bound to make you feel rather strange inside. If any SMM work like MALTID was a holly-jolly band happy to dance with the chickens, ZMM is chasing those same chickens with a cleaver in hand. It has many of the SMM pieces that made that band spectacular, but this is such a demented, twisted, psychopathic version of that band, to put it lightly.

The opening piano is only the calm before the storm; ''Five Single Combats'' is very brash, industrial, almost metal sounding piece of music processed through the SMM colander. As I travel through the first half, I'm thinking, ''this is bizarre; SMM went completely deranged here.'' Hollmer uses more synths on this album than ever before, and the whole sound is comparable to Present in terms of weirdness. The tension on ''The Thrall'' is spellbinding.

''Pappa (With Right of Veto)'' has vocals on it, and the only track of the album to extensively feature them. They sound more gremlin-esque than chirpy, yet carry over the nonchalant humour from SMM. ''The Farmhand'' is the only track here that I can picture SMM doing; it sounds just like a farm. Other highlights include the metallic sounding ''The Forge'' and the jazzier ''The Painting Short Story''.

I make too many comparisons to SMM here; that's because the structure of both bands are largely similar (they share the two Lars). Disappointingly, the drumming is too orthodox compared to what I'm used to from SMM, chiefly because Bruniusson plays on only one track here. Make no mistake, Zamla Mammaz Manna are their own band, and this FAMILY CRACKS is a real treat to bestow in your musical collection.

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 Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)  by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.21 | 83 ratings

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Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars This is my favourite Zammla Mammaz Manna album. Avant prog is the term most suited to this weird and wacky recording from 1980. It's pretty much instrumental and mostly very proggy sounding, but played brilliantly, effortlessly and with a bit of joy in their hearts.

Occasionally frantic, sometimes downright unusual (eg. blowing in bottles half way through the tune). Quite different in sound to Sammla Mammas Manna from years past. At the risk of contradicting myself, this is complex and quite off the wall but is one of the easiest to listen to RIO albums I've heard.

Crammed to the gills with ideas and inventiveness, I'm sure they could have made a double album out of this no bother. In a way, it's like a far more listenable Zappa with a lot more going on and is a lot more professional in its execution.

A super album which is completely unpredictable, cheery and energetic that only fails the perfect score by a short margin.

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 Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)  by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.21 | 83 ratings

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Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars More people need to hear this album. This just may be the greatest prog album from 1980. I can think of a few contenders, but almost nobody was making progressive rock as good as this that year. This album has something in common with both Abbey Road and Red: all three were recorded just before the bands called it quits. All three albums also happen to be amongst the best things all three groups did. Around 1977 Samla Mammas Manna changed their name(a little) and shortly after became part of the Rock-In-Opposition movement. As ZMM they released two albums. They disbanded in 1980. SMM founder/keyboardist/accordionist Lars Hollmer(RIP) continued on with Von Zamla.

The music on Familjesprickor is a mix of fusion, hard rock, symphonic prog, polka, Swedish folk music and avant-rock. It's very playful but much more serious sounding than anything SMM did. Unlike SMM there are few vocals here. The most notable exception would be the song "Pappa(With Right Of Veto)". This song is the greatest example of Swedish reggae I have ever heard. It is also the only example of Swedish reggae I have ever heard. Recorded live, it's a great little tune. Another song with vocals, and one of the best songs here, is "The Farmhand"(which you can listen to on PA). The vocals here sound like the Smurfs with rabies. While the music sounds like a polka song performed by fusion virtuosos.

"The Thrall" is the most avant piece here. Parts of it remind me of Crimson's "Indiscipline". "The Forge" was later reworked as the Von Zamla song "Forge Etude". The version here is far better. Another highlight is the first song "Five Single Combats". I love Hollmer's synths on this one. The other songs are good too. This would be a great introduction to Avant-Prog. Apart from "The Thrall" there is nothing very avant here. A really good, fairly consistent and well produced album. Familjesprickor(or Family Cracks if you wish) is an album worthy of 4.5. Because of "The Thrall" and "Pappa" I can't say that this is a masterpiece of prog, so this gets a very solid 4 stars.

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 För Äldre Nybegynnare by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.06 | 23 ratings

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För Äldre Nybegynnare
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars I own a compilation called Schlagerns Mystik/För Äldre Nybegynnare which consists of the two Zamla Mammaz Manna albums from 1978. Given the nature of the material on För Äldre Nybegynnare I hesitated to review it back-to-back with the other two Zamla Mammaz Manna albums, allow me to elaborate:

This album consists entirely of live improvisation sessions that were recorded in 1976-77 at six different performances spread out over towns Göteborg, Stockholm, Uppsala and Linköping. In other words För Äldre Nybegynnare is anything but a studio release. As a huge fan of King Crimson's live improvs from the Starless And Bible Black-era I originally assumed that if I gave this album just the right amount of time it would settle in but I have now given up on that idea all together.

The whole 40+ minutes running-time of this release seem pointless to me. Yes, I understand that the recording is nothing more than a product of its time and I should appreciate these free spirited performances for that they represent. But in what way do these compositions supposed to be connected to one another? Do they share a humorous bond? After listening to most of SMM/ZMM releases I should be able to recognize when the band is being playful which doesn't seem to be the case here. I actually find the contrast between Schlagerns Mystik and För Äldre Nybegynnare to be the only amusing factor; where one is warm, humorous and generally appealing while the other one is quite the opposite.

This release is on the verge of being tossed with the rest of completionists only material but since I've given it so much time I will stretch it to a collectors/fans only just because there might be fans who are interested in improvised performances from a RIO-band.

**** star songs: Urmakare 1 (3:41) Urmakare 2 (2:31) Kort Påbrå (1:55) Tycker Du Som Jag? (5:14)

*** star songs: Funkfällan (2:49) Moderna (6:18) Timlig Är Du (2:36) Till Ovala Metern (3:47)

** star songs: Seldon In Memoriam (12:30)

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 Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)  by ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.21 | 83 ratings

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Familjesprickor (Family Cracks)
Zamla Mammaz Manna RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars This is definitely the strongest SMM/ZMM album and it's quite sad that this particular band formation split up after such an excellent release. Compared to the previous albums from SMM/ZMM this one doesn't feel as humorous although there are definitely some funny parts towards the end.

What makes this Familjesprickor great is actually the instrumental jam sessions which are totally jaw-dropping! The first five tracks create such a high intensity so when Pappa (With Right Of Veto) and The Farmhand come around and loosen the mood I usually just feel chocked from such a big contrast but I guess that's is exactly what the band was aiming for. The final track Kernel In Short And Long Castling, once again, puts the album in top gear and is a real gem of a composition which reminiscent of Henry Cow and Univers Zero.

After the last note of the album puts the whole experience in a perspective I realize that this is one great album. A true gem and a must have for any progressive rock fan!

***** star songs: Five Single Combats (5:52) Ventilation Calculation (5:05) The Forge (5:04) The Panting Short Story (3:52) Kernel In Short And Long Castling (5:40)

**** star songs: The Thrall (5:05) The Farmhand (7:33)

*** star songs: Pappa (With Right Of Veto) (4:27)

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