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


Bo Hansson


Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 82 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The cover to Bo Hansson's 1975 album depicts the Swedish progger as a comic book keyboard superstar a la Rick Wakeman crossed with Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of Franz Kafka's novella "The Metamorphosis" (who discovers himself transformed one morning into a giant cockroach). It's all very silly and psychedelic, but the portrait gives a misleading impression of the music itself, a collection of mostly tame but evocative instrumentals with more than just keyboard heroics to recommend it.

Unlike the majority of keyboard wizards in the 1970s Hansson never presented himself as a virtuoso show-off. But he was adept at creating atmospheric soundtracks for imaginary films, playing guitar and bass alongside his synthesizers (which at any rate were used more for instrumental color and texture), and employing a large cast of guest musicians to fill out the soundstage.

The album title is appropriate: it sounds like the composer was doing a little housecleaning, collecting enough unused musical scrap from every corner of his head to fill (just barely) an entire LP. Most of it is in the slow to mid-tempo range, leaning closer to contemporary Space Rock than Symphonic Prog, and with a relaxing lack of rock 'n' roll histrionics (although "A Happy Prank" ends the album on an upbeat, almost jazzy note).

There's some good music here for such a short album, but the three-part title track and the superlative "Waiting" are the obvious highlights, exhibiting all of Hansson's considerable talents as a writer and arranger. The latter tune in particular (at 7+ minutes the longest selection here) has a haunting midnight-sun melody unequalled elsewhere on the album, or for that matter anywhere in Swedish music at the time.

"Attic Thoughts" never achieved the same popularity as his 1972 "Lord of the Rings" album, but that may have simply been a reflection of the craze for all things Tolkien in the mid 1970s (if that album had featured cover art by the Hildebrandt brothers, it would have gone platinum). This effort may not have the same thematic appeal, but in its own modest way it succeeds in capturing the sub-arctic beauty of backwoods Scandinavia better than some of the more renowned bands (and I'm not picking on THE FLOWER KINGS) from the same country.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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