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Bo Hansson - Mellanväsen [Aka: Attic Thoughts] CD (album) cover

MELLANVÄSEN [AKA: ATTIC THOUGHTS]

Bo Hansson

 

Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 73 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For this, his third album, Bo Hansson decided to increase his keyboard arsenal in order to create a more refined sound and a more polished use of sonic textures, although essemtially, his compositional style remains introspective and leaning toward the subtle side of melodic symphonic prog. The fact that the sound production is also improved helps Bo Hansson and his collaborators register an amplified sense of sophistication in their preformances. This fact is the reason why the electric guitar inputs (either by him or guests) also help to form the album's overall orchestral feel. In terms of musical cohesion, "Attic Thoughts" is just as excellent as any of the previous two, but all in all, given the new aforementioned facts, the ambiences tend to be more joyful. So here we have it, a partial departure from the predominance of raw mysterious tones that had made "Lord of the Rings" and "Magician's Hat" so special in the origins of the peculiar world of Scandinavian prog. In comparison, "Attic Thoughts" has got an appeal more closely related to British symphonic prog... but again, this is no tribute to Rick Wakeman or ELP, but a testimony of how Hansson could reinvent his own musical vision by letting some more colorfulness in his musical palette. The namesake opener has a very pleasant naive spirit to it, which helps to transmit the feeling of candid adventure alluded at in the title: some similarities can be drawn to Greenslade, espcially regarding the use of mellotron flute and organ. 'Time and Space' displays a succession of two distinct sections: a set of eerie ovelapped synth layers and a minimal acoustic guitar motif. 'Waiting...' and the sequence of tracks 5-7 show the most ambitious ideas in the album. 'Waiting...' is both exquisite and eerie, bearing a patent sense of ordainment that smoothly generates a sort of strength for the basic simplistic ideas. The sequence that leads from 'Time for Great Achievements' to 'Rabbit Music' displays an attractive dose of melodic richness, which makes them, as a whole, the most majestic portion of the album. Had some of the individual ideas been expanded a bit longer, the final result would have been much more magnificent, I'm sure of that, but they're more than OK as they are, at the end of the day. 'Waltz for Interbeings' is a merry mixture of funky and progressive waltz: I suspect this idea needed a further development, but that's how it is, anyway. 'Day and Night' is the one number that is clearly connected to the mysterious stillness of Hansson's previous album. Its delicate somber ambiences make it a highlight in its own terms, although it is perfectly integrated in this album's stylistic spirit. The closing track recaptures the joyfulness so common in many preceding tracks: it is based on an effective confluence of psychedelic prog and folkish textures. Even though Hansson's progressive vision may sound a bit "architectonical" to some, definitely the main idea in this setlist is to let the melodies and textures be featured as themselves, not overgearing them with abundant pyrotechnics. Definitely, "Attic Thoughts" is Bo Hansson at the top of his finesse as a performer and a writer.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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