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GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


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Gösta Berlings Saga picture
Gösta Berlings Saga biography
Formed in 2004 in Vällingby, Stockholm, Sweden

In 2000 musicians and friends David Lundberg and Alexander Skepp, heavily captivated by the sounds of Hansson & Karlsson, started making instrumental songs, based on drums and organs, sketching playful and melodic sounds. A three songs demo was recorded and released, without being, however, a hit. To add, the early rehearsals led to little live gigs.

In 2004 the duo decided to add the lineup, out of feeling a more and more obvious limitation in music. Thinks started to change musically, when Gabriel Hermansson joined as bassist and added volume and distortion to the sound and the suspense. Matthias Danielsson also joined as guitarist, so that GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA entering their best shape and starting to gig. Their first big concert (held, curiosly, in an illegal Stockholm suburb club) spread the news around the town, and more gigs followed.

Another demo, made of 7 pieces, was sent to festivals and records labels, up in the last months of 2005. After a gig at the Emmaboda Festival in Småland, a record contract finally followed, with Transubstans/Record Heaven. The demo became the debut album, "Tid är Ljud", after being improved and recorded till the spring of 2006. Mathias worked for this album, and finalized it togheter with his colleagues, but left the band right after the release.The record summarizes the sound of Gösta Berlings Saga and has received very good press from all over the world, which states the band among the more impressive and addictive Swedish prog bands in a long modern time.

The new guitarist, after Mathias, is Einar Baldursson, with the talent and influence of whom GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA enter a new path, into darker and more dissonant places.

By the debut album, "Tid är Ljud", GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA embrace a rapid movement of modern delightful progressive rock and quicksteps, eclectically, through major prime prog styles: from dark symphonic to jazz jam, from RIO fragments to space rock harmonies. Tasteful, genuine, exciting and essential-driving, the feeling doesn't stop just at influences or modern feelings, but includes a wide quality of electric, acoustic or grave sounds, with instruments of the various use and satisfaction. The band is credited for a strong debut, an highly passionate play and a full variety expression.

(all the biography notes were directly taken - or slightly modified - after Gösta Berling Saga's main biography, on their main...
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GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 71 ratings
Tid Är Ljud
2006
4.20 | 180 ratings
Detta Har Hänt
2009
3.81 | 130 ratings
Glue Works
2011
3.82 | 62 ratings
Sersophane
2016
3.90 | 63 ratings
Et Ex
2018

GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Et Ex by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.90 | 63 ratings

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Et Ex
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Named after the debut novel of Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf, which was published in 1891, GBS are a band who have always gone their own path, from their early days as a duo to where they are nearly 20 years later, now operating as a quartet. Founders Alexander Skepp (drums) and David Lundberg (Fender Rhodes, Mellotron and synthesizers) are still very much at the helm, while Gabriel Tapper (bass, Taurus pedals) has been there since 2004. Guitarist Einar Baldursson parted ways with band not long after the release of the album, and he has been replaced by Rasmus Booberg, who apparently also provides clarinet, synthesizer and humming!

The immediate reaction when hearing this album is that while the band have obviously been inspired by Tangerine Dream in many ways, this isn't all about complex layered synthesisers and repeated patterns. Some of the most poignant aspects of the album can be heard on "Artefacts", where the use of simple notes from the top of the piano's register takes the music into a whole new area. The feelings from that are very different indeed to the bombast of "Capercaillie Lammergeyer Cassowary & Repeat" which follows, which moves far more into areas normally reserved for the likes of Art Zoyd. Here is a band demonstrating that music which is mostly keyboard-based can be dynamic and powerful, bringing Krautrock themes and styles into the modern age while never moving too far away from the Seventies roots. Well worth investigating further.

 Detta Har Hänt by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.20 | 180 ratings

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Detta Har Hänt
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 242

Gosta Berlings Saga is a Swedish progressive rock band from Stockholm. The foundations for this Swedish band were established back in 2000, as a studio venture for keyboardist David Lundberg and drummer Alexander Skepp. In 2004 they decided to expand their scope and added two more members to become a full fledged band, the guitarist Matthias Danielsson and the bassist Gabriel Hermansson. They issued their debut effort, 'Tid Ar Ljud', in 2006. Three years after their first heralded release, the sophomore production 'Detta Har Hant', was issued. However, between both releases a change occurred in their line up. Guitarist Matthias Danielsson has left the band and was replaced by Einar Baldursson.

Gosta Berlings Saga was named after a Swedish silent film of the same name from 1924, directed by Mauritz Stiller starring Greta Garbo. The film was based on the debut novel written by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlof. The main character on the novel 'Gosta Berlings Saga' is a former pastor, whose further career is told in the novel. She was the first women that received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1909. Since 1991 her picture is on the 20 Swedish Crown bank note. Originally, the band was formed in 2004 with the name Pelikaan but changed their name to Gosta Berlings Saga.

Gosta Berlings Saga makes a unique mix of instrumental progressive rock with some Avant Garde influences. Their music is heavy, dark, hypnotic, melodic and beautiful, all at the same time. Their debut album 'Tid Ar Ljud' is an instrumental conceptual album that deals with the multi interrelations between the city and the nature, and with the 'creatures' that could emerge from them. The hint of the bizarre suggestion in this idea seems to be an 'intentional intention'. The band calls itself as 'that band your unmarried, childless uncle with that beard and the weird smell likes'.

So, 'Detta Har Hant' is the second studio album of Gosta Berlings Saga and was released in 2009. The line up on the album is Einar Baldursson (acoustic and electric guitars), David Lundberg (Fender Rhodes piano), Gabriel Hermansson (bass) and Alexander Skepp (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of Mattias Olsson (loops and Fx) and Daniel Fagerstrom (Buchla 200 synthesizer). But, there were also many other musical instruments that were added afterwards during the mixing and the production of the album, such as Mellotron, Mini Moog, glockenspiel, Orchestron, celeste, Persephone, Chilton Talentmarker, Optigan, Gem PK 4900, acoustic piano and pump organ.

'Detta Har Hant' is an entirely instrumental album. Whereas their former album had moments that seemed a little more pastoral and symphonic, this latest release seems have a slightly harsher sounding, more angular, more streamlined, and more muscular. Here, the band plays instrumental prog rock in a rather challenging, quirky and innovative variety. The rhythm section provides drive and energy throughout. There are slower passages with a more laid-back approach from time to time. The album sounds vibrant, self assured, urgent and adventurous. Challenging and quirky in nature, ever shifting and evolving themes and passages are served readily and steadily. There is a distinct 70's feeling present here, but the band combines this with an attitude that is firmly rooted in the here and now, not unlike other new bands which their music it's more rooted in the past. It also sounds as if the band recorded the album live. So, sounding if it was recorded 'live in the studio' with some overdubs added afterwards (most of the keyboard instruments), 'Detta Har Hant' delivers eight tracks that range from full blown epic soundscapes via dissonant darkness to minimalistic powerful grooves without compromising when it comes to the strong melodies the band is known for. Indeed, right from the opening 'Kontrast' to the stellar closer 'Vasterbron 05:30', incendiary guitar passages and playful RIO inspired melodies, by way of zeuhl inspired repetitiveness, collide. Although not as symphonic or 'keyboard heavy' as their previous album, 'Detta Har Hant' still has its moments of pomp, albeit less prevalent than in the past. This album seems more the vehicle for Baldursson's. His superb guitar leads permeate this recording, most notably during the middle section of the album's closer, where his fuzzed out guitar leads scorch their way into the listener's own brain.

Conclusion: 'Detta Har Hant' is a modern prog rock album with varied influences that goes from dark symphonic rock to jazz, from RIO fragments to space rock harmonies. They can be challenging, but they usually layer simple and repetitive structures that build the way the post rock does. It also comes to my mind the traditional Scandinavian music that reminds me a bit of Anglagard. Perhaps it wasn't a coincidence, the appearance on the album of Mattias Olsson of Anglagard. The album has a raw sounding and is centered on a dissonant guitar and melodious keyboards. No vocals required, the music speaks for itself. This is a well balanced album with some intricate sound and very adventurous. So, as a final result we are in presence of a very good album of interesting, creative, and subtlely complex songs. This is an excellent release that deserves a lot of attention, especially from those who enjoy of adventurous instrumental music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Et Ex by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.90 | 63 ratings

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Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars One thing is sure with this band is that every album is very different from the others, maybe this has to do with the fact that each musician comes from different backgrounds, but one thing is common they create music for fun and that has always been the case from their first to this new album. Someone came in the studio with a riff and the band plays around it long enough until they are satisfied with the result. This time most of the ideas came from the keyboard player David Lundberg which result in a spacey electronica style of an album. The producer decided to bring more new synthesizer sounds apart from the usual mellotron sound. The funny thing is that sometimes it sounds like synth pop music, see the song "Over and Out". The music has that little dark mood, but it's never dull. They enjoy experiment with sounds and extend the melody in a trippy atmosphere. It's not your static electronic music, the melody is there and if the guitar is more in the background in this album the synthesizers parts are so impressive that you won't miss the guitar. You will be seduced by the catchy melody of the song "Over and Out". "Capercaillie Lammergeyer Cassowary & Repeat" show some Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze influence. which is spread out through the album." The Shortcomings Of Efficiency" is the only song that reminds me of the first influence of the band with more guitar in the Anekdoten style. The album ends with another fine piece "Fundament".
 Sersophane by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 62 ratings

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Sersophane
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars I love intrumental music, especially when it's borderline-chaotic.

I knew this band only name, but thanks to Spotify, music is much closer to home, than back in the days when I was younger and had little money to spend.

The music of G'sta Berlings Saga is much lighter than Anekdoten, but follows the same path. Heavily inspired by 70's symphonic rock but with a bit of modern-day stoner and altrock influences. They band also reminds me a bit of the instrumental side of Beadfish.

It has a spacey feel, but it's not a jamband purely jamming away without a plan. There are loads of melodies, hooklines and musical stories throughout their music, to keep the listener satisfied. Maybe it can be compared to the wonderful Hidria Spacefolk from Finland.

I don't know much of their other albums, so I can't score this album 5* yet, but a 4* score is definately deserved. I love that there are still bands trying to be more adventurous and rhythmic.

 Sersophane by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 62 ratings

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Sersophane
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by axeman

4 stars Gösta was a Spotify recommendation on the basis of listing to the La Bocca Della Verita's excellent album [i]Avenoth[/i]. [i]Fort Europa [/i]hooked me right off. The type of song that pricks up your ears in a session of browsing type of listening and makes you want to remember the band's name. And I had to hear more.

Just enough driving sound, just enough catchy and memorizing ostinatos, just enough discord and movement to be well worth several more listenings. I rather like the interludes of twangy guitar somewhat reminiscent of slower surf guitar or like a Duane Eddy feel to it. Add in notes of banjo and and the Hawaiian guitar and it could sound like it sounds older than it does. But there is also a energetic drumming and a throbbing bass line behind most of this.

 Sersophane by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 62 ratings

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Sersophane
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by Roane

1 stars When you are in an only instrumental approach, you'd better have a rich musical content: musically inspired, and or rich orchestration and arrangements, and/or high technical level, and/or groove, and/or power etc... Despite I am fan of some instrumental bands close to that style (for example Papir, Oresund...) I must say that here it's rather poor and boring, with none of all those assets. Especially when you do not have vocals as a solo "instrument, some guitar soli or melodic keyboards lines are major: Unless I'm wrong I haven't heard in those tracks any melody which might have been created through these ones. One star only
 Sersophane by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 62 ratings

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Sersophane
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

5 stars I have been following the band since their debut and each time I listen to their music, I am surprised how good these guys are. The music here is instrumental mixing symphonic, zeuhl and avant-garde in the style of the Swedish tradition that has started with Anglagard and Anekdoten. The band enjoy stretch out the notes and extend the song with some repeated beats that are hypnotic for the listener. The breaks are always spot on with the appropriate moods for each section showing the dark and the light side of the music. The atmosphere created by the guitar lines and the precise and obsessive drums patterns are impressive. You can feel the spontaneity and freedom in the band's music but it never loses his sense of the melody. In this sense, I think it's a return to the raw sound of their album "Detta Har Hänt". The only weakness of this album is that the delightful experience lasts only 39 minutes!
 Sersophane by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 62 ratings

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Sersophane
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This might be the most rhythmic GOSTA BERLINGS SAGA album to date and one of their better ones too. I still think their "Detta Har Hant" record is their best, in fact I have it right now as my third best from that year. If it wasn't for the three shorter tracks this would be 4.5 stars but 4 stars seems right all things considered. It's a bonus as well that it clocks in at around 39 minutes.

"Konstruktion" opens with deep sounds and it kicks in quickly as the guitar and keys take turns creating a catchy melody over top. This is fairly heavy and a good start. "Sersophane" really speaks to me and I'm really surprised that this isn't the opening track although it is the title track so there's that. I like the atmosphere and keys as it builds. Oh, the guitar sounds great too then it settles a minute in but kicks back in hard rather quickly. The drummer is quite busy before 2 minutes. I like the intricate guitar on this one, especially after 3 1/2 minutes. A nice guitar/ drum section follows. Themes are repeated. Great track! "Fort Europa" opens with experimental sounds as the piano joins in. The guitar starts to get picked over top as we get a rhythm joining in as well. Man this just trips along with different instruments taking turns soloing over top. So repetitive, but so good!

"Dekonstruktion" has these strange sounds that come and go, pulsating and beating away. Not a big fan of this one. "Channeling The Sixth Extinction" is an incredible tour de force. Over 15 minutes of amazing music. A dramatic intro with plenty of drum work and depth as other sounds play over top. It becomes even darker with more depth after 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound here. Check out the guitar starting before 3 minutes but they're back to the previous soundscape fairy quickly. Contrasts will continue though. It kicks into an almost Zeuhl groove after 7 minutes. So cool with the fuzzed out bass as they jam to the end. Awesome! Strangely that wasn't the closing number but "Naturum" is, a 1 plus minute piece of acoustic guitar throughout.

Man those three longer tracks are incredible, they lose me on a couple of the shorter ones but still this is a very good album. A solid 4 stars.

 Glue Works by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.81 | 130 ratings

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Glue Works
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by bhikkhu
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars I was beginning to suspect that progressive rock was getting a bit stagnant. That was until G'sta Berlings Saga blew everyone away at NEARfest. I found their previous album 'Detta Har H'nt' impressive but it was the songs from 'Glue Works' that had me leaning forward in amazement with my mouth hanging open. After the show the line for buying a CD was as long as the line to meet the band. I waited in both, and yes my CD is signed.

The music has been labeled as Eclectic Prog, but I think it leans more toward RIO or Rock in Opposition. This is because the most obvious influences I hear are bands like Univers Zero and Henry Cow that started the movement in the first place. But of course there are other influences as well. Which is why Eclectic is the catch all for bands that are impossible to pin down. The labels fit but artists do tend to evolve. Over the years many artists form other genres have incorporated elements the original bands created and those designated as RIO have expanded their boundaries, thus making them more eclectic. Even fellow Swedes 'nglag'rd now sound more RIO than Symphonic. This really comes as no surprise since Mattias Olsson produced 'Glue Works.'

Regardless of what label to apply, on 'Glue Works' G'sta Berlings Saga has recorded some of the best music ever to pass through these aging ears. The blend of chamber music, jazz and rock has rarely been executed with so much beauty and aggressive passion. The band has been together for a long time now but the musicians have not gotten old enough to lose their youthful fire. Luckily that wasn't just saved for the stage because they captured it in the studio as well.

Every mood and style is perfectly tooled and keeps the listener engaged. As with most bands of this ilk the music is generally on the darker side but it never goes to the side of depressing. Usually composing music this complex and dense hinders the accessibility. 'Glue Works' should have no problem bringing in the new initiate. 'Waves' has a hooky little groove and the intense jam band build of 'Island' is impossible to turn away from. Even the soothing jazz organ on 'Gliese 58lg' is kept intriguing with some well placed percussion touches, until it turns into a guitar jam. Things like string instruments, mellotron, chimes, wailing guitar, horns and grooving bass are all integrated seamlessly. Only vocals are omitted but you won't miss them.

I could go on with more specific description of the individual tracks but that wouldn't do them justice. As Haju Sunim at the Buddhist Temple often says, 'Words fall short.' As is most often true, and especially here (good) music really needs to be heard for complete understanding.

Okay this isn't exactly easy music. It does require that you pay attention to be fully appreciated. We aren't talking simple songs here. This is grown up music (like much of what I choose to review). I do not however think you have to be a progressive/complex music aficionado to enjoy 'Glue Works.' When music as a whole has been standing pretty much still for a couple of decades now, I feel I must promote something as unique and outstanding as this is. If music is to move forward, artists like G'sta Berlings Saga are already leading the way. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Then you can feel the satisfaction of being here when it was cutting edge.

H.T. Riekels

 Tid Är Ljud by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.58 | 71 ratings

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Tid Är Ljud
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by agla

4 stars Transubstans specializes in the promotion of groups which are in the seventies the source of inspiration. So it is also for this group from Stockholm, which we propose a prog album entirely instrumental in the tradition of bands like King Crimson and Magma, a middle ground between prog and experimental jazz . The whole pervaded by an attitude absolutely freak !

It almost seems to make a jump in the past between mellotron and hypnotic crescendo, the enchanted flute in the final of songs like " Svarta ...", between forays to the limits of space rock and an incredible taste for improvisation. But I started from the end of ' album rather than the beginning this is because while listening, I got lost in the maze of the disc. Just close your eyes during the arpeggio of " Helgamarktz " to begin a journey into the wonderful music of this group, the song at one point assumes the space style, even if the matrix is that its progressive .. This attitude remains on each track thanks to a liquid guitar very effective. The following " Syrenernas Sang " has some parts that seem recorded on the contrary that add an esoteric effect to the whole. Although presented a remarkable diversity tracks meet all the characteristics that we have tried to describe.

The Gosta Berlings Saga is a band out of time and that is why I like them, also show that you can make music class and quality ', even in those years where everything now seems hopelessly fake and synthesized, a record that deserves much more than a listen.

Thanks to Ricochet for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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