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Bo Hansson - Sagan Om Ringen [Aka: Music Inspired By Lord Of The Rings] CD (album) cover


Bo Hansson


Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 145 ratings

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4 stars Gollum approved dream-prog

Bo Hansson is an acclaimed Swedish progressive rock multi-instrumentalist deserving of more attention than he received. Here in the States he couldn't get arrested which is our loss but this album did quite well in other parts of the world. Hansson plays all of the keyboards and guitars on his debut homage to Tolkien, getting help only on the drums, saxophone and flute. "Lord of the Rings" is a largely quiet and contemplative album with a sound that is dreamy, spacey, often melodic. Some sections do wake up with energetic if not outwardly rocking playing. I guess I would describe the album as a mixture of Floyd for emotions, Popul Vuh for the meditative aspects, and Oldfield for the spirited moments like "The Black Riders and Flight to the Ford." This track runs the gamut from bright keyboards to rhythmic conga playing to acid-drenched guitar solos. In fact Oldfield work like Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn sound as if they could have been influenced by LotR which precedes both Oldfield classics. Overall the album is draped in organ textures, with accompanying saturated lead guitar, bass, flute and sax. Closer "The Grey Havens" sounds very much like a Popul Vuh track with organ layered over the top. It sounds the same beginning to end with slow, subtle variations happening below the surface. If that sounds appealing don't pass up this album!

In his excellent Guide to Progressive Music, Bradley Smith notes the album "exudes a hypnotic and mysterious atmosphere...not really jazz, rock, or classical, nor is it soundtrack music. At the time of its appearance there really were no precedents for an album like this...resembles the 68-70 era of Pink Floyd a la "Set the Controls" only without vocals...takes the most moody and spacey elements of that style and expands it to album length, quite an innovative move for intoxicatingly Gothic and psychedelic atmosphere that is drifting, pulsing, organic, spiritual, melodic, and friendly."

The one area where I don't find the album particularly successful is in the conjuring of images of Tolkien from the music. Others state that the music directly brings the book to one's mind and perfectly matches music to story. Honestly, if I didn't know the album was based on the Tolkien book I would never have made the connection. It's great and adventurous progressive rock but it doesn't remind me of Tolkien-esque images nearly as much as some other works. That minor quibble aside "Lord of the Rings" is highly recommended to fans of instrumental fantasy prog; Oldfield fans, Nektar fans, and Floyd fans would all I suspect enjoy this very much.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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