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jueves, 18 de junio de 2015

Änglagård - Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan (2014)


Artista: Änglagård
Álbum: Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan
Año: 2014
Género: Rock folk sinfónico
Duración: 86:26
Nacionalidad: Suecia


Lista de Temas:
CD1: (42:31)
1. Introvertus Fugu (Den asociala blåsfisken) Part 1 (6:56)
2. Höstsejd (11:25)
3. Längtans klocka (11:14)
4. Jordrök (12:56)
CD2: (44:00)
1. Sorgmantel (12:40)
2. Kung Bore (15:20)
3. Sista somrar (16:00)

Alineación:
- Anna Holmgren / flute, saxophone, Mellotron, recorder and melodica
- Johan Brand / bass, Moog Taurus basspedals and atmospheric sound
- Tord Lindman / guitar, vocals, gong and atmospheric sound
- Linus Kåse / Hammond organ B-3, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Moog Voyager, piano, soprano saxophone and vocals
- Erik Hammarström / drums, cymbals, vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, cran casa, gong



Para una semana sin desperdicio, miren lo que nos trae el mago bondadoso de Alberto! el último disquito en vivo de los geniales suecos sueltos en Japón. Un disco que no había escuchado hasta el momento y la verdad es que no tiene desperdicio, y dejan bien en claro porqué son los reyes progresivos de Suecia (justo de Suecia!) y una de las principales bandas del mundo. No solamente dan cádreda sino también clases magistrales después de hora.
Un CD doble sonde no solamente repasan parte de sus momentos cumbres sino que también se dan tiempo para improvisaciones cercanas al free jazz (pueden ver un resumen en el video que está al principio de esta entrada). En este disco se ofrece poca música nueva; ee hace un repaso a los tres discos en estudio, música que interpretaron en tres noches de actuaciones en el Club Città en Japón en las que estuvieron también el Crimson ProjeKct. Hay una intro no publicada con anterioridad, "Introvertus Fugu Part 1", que imagino será incluida en el próximo disco en estudio de la banda y que, probablemente, mostrará el camino que seguirá a corto plazo el grupo sueco tras la marcha de tres de sus miembros originales.


A poco más de dos años de haber lanzado el tremendo disco en estudio “Viljans Öga”, los suecos Änglagard documentan la constante evolución de su propuesta sonora, con el álbum “Prog pa Svenska – Live in Japan”, LP doble que registra la actuación de la banda escandinava en el Club Citta de Tokio, en marzo de 2013.
Esta versión de Änglagard que aparece en escena, difiere de la que grabó su notable álbum de regreso. Para ese disco, la presencia de Mattias Olson (batería y percusiones), Johan Brand (bajo y pedales Taurus), Thomas Johnson (pianos, mellotrón y sintetizadores), Jonas Engdegard (guitarras) y Anna Holmgren (flauta y saxofón) hizo que, a pesar de todos los años en los que el grupo no editó un trabajo -12 años exactos, si tomamos en cuenta el registro en vivo “Buried Alive” de 1996-, la sonoridad se mantuviera intacta, siempre siguiendo el camino trazado por los seminales King Crimson. Es más, la banda supo expandir su campo de acción sonoro, con ciertas inclinaciones a la música docta al estilo de Univers Zero y elementos del rock progresivo que, en estos tiempos, pareciesen estar fuera de contexto o desactualizados.
Esa característica –el concepto de rescate– le da un valor adicional a un registro sumamente atractivo como este “Prog pa Svenska – Live in Japan”. La mixtura de elementos como el Mellotron y el teclado distorsionado en el inicio de ‘Introvertus Fugu part 1’, que a la vez van fusionándose con esa guitarra “frippiana” y un saxofón inquietante, marcan la pauta de cómo suena esta nueva encarnación de los escandinavos. Y todo esto, lo logra un grupo compuesto por sólo cinco personas: a los ya históricos Anne Holmgren, Johan Brand y Tord Lindman (quien no estuvo en la composición de “Viljans Öga”), se suman los esfuerzos del baterista y percusionista Erik Hammarström y del tecladista Linus Kase.
Esta nueva formación, influye tanto en los radicalismos propuestos en el primer tema, como también en ‘Höstsedj’, corte del celebrado álbum “Epilog” de 1994. Esta parte del registro, nos muestra al Änglagard más clásico, con el dominio de la flauta traversa de Holmgren, que conduce la poco ortodoxa percusión (la utilización del vibráfono por parte de Hammarström acerca al sonido de la banda a una suerte de conjunto de cámara) y al Mellotron de Kase, que será una constante en este registro.
Si ‘Höstsedj’ explora en el lado más reconocible del grupo, que tiende a ser lánguido y más contemplativo, ‘Längtans Klocka’, corte perteneciente a su más reciente álbum, va mostrando recursos musicales novedosos, aunque siempre emparentados con el progresivo más clásico. ‘Jördrok’ (“Hybris”, 1992), recupera un poco esa esencia tradicional pero fusionándolo con este nuevo lenguaje más contemporáneo. Y quizás eso sea lo que se halle más patente en este registro. Ya se puede escuchar en el inicio de la segunda mitad del elepé, con ‘Sorgmantel’, que Änglagard sigue buscando en este nuevo espacio el desarrollo de su lenguaje.
Lo interesante de esto es que, en particular con este corte de “Viljans Öga”, se dan ciertas pistas de la evolución del sonido de la banda, que terminan, primero, en la espléndida versión de ‘Kung Bure’, del disco “Hybris” -que el mismo Tord Lindman explica que no la tocaban desde hace unos veinte años-y ‘Sista Somrar’, la única composición original para esta placa. Es quizás en este tema, donde Änglagard enseña qué es lo que va creando a futuro, con secciones que nutren su lenguaje principal, ya sea con secciones más orientadas al rock de cámara o con elementos musicales contemporáneos.
Más allá del innegable valor instrumental de Änglagard en el contexto de la jerarquía del rock progresivo sueco, lo que queda de este disco en vivo es el coraje de un conjunto que sigue buscando darle una vuelta de tuerca a una propuesta que siempre va de la mano con el riesgo, con la permanente ansia de un grupo que, en el contexto del progresivo actual, es mucho más que un mero acto de nostalgia. Para Änglagard, este LP los muestra lozanos y con una sobrecogedora energía, que en cada segundo, parece a punto de estallar.
Orlando Matamoros B.



Este es el primer directo de estos referentes del "prog en sueco" de las últimas dos décadas después de aquel "Buried Aliv"e del año 94, que ya trajimos al blog, que fuese el cierre de la primera etapa de este grupo que con tan pocos discos en su haber pero que se han ganado un merecido reconocimiento y toda una orda de seguidores en todos lados.
Para aquellos no familiarizados con Änglagård puede decir brevemente que la banda fue una de las bandas más influyentes de aquella segunda ola de rock progresivo de los años 90 del que hemos hablado en más de una ocasión. Un rock, si es que se le puede llamar "rock", innovador que les ha dado una especie de estatus de banda de culto, tanto en Suecia como en el mundo entero.
La placa contiene siete canciones de las cuales cuatro son de los discos del 90, un disco con bastantes toques de jazz moderno basado en improvisaciones, faceta que no les conocíamos porque anterior en general tenían una estructura más clara, prearmada y definida.
Un disco con fantásticas versiones de viejos clásicos de la banda junto con las canciones del último disco, con algunas revisiones aquí y allá, y con excelentes interacciones entre los músicos. Abunda las bellas y exquisitas partes donde melodía suevas pero infernalmente nostálgicas juegan entre cada uno de los instrumentos que van tomando protagonismo, junto a una nueva dimensión que los acerca al jazz que no le quita secciones emocionales llenas de energía o melancolía, o las dos cosas juntas, y que junto con sus clásicos elemento de música popular suecas (y no me hagan volver al tema de lo étnico y hasta popular como parte casi escencial del ADN de la música progresiva en todas sus formas, porque es un tema repetido).
Se podría decir mucho más sobre este álbum pero voy a parar aquí sin dejar de recomendar a nuestros amigos cabezones, y además hacerlo de manera encarecida, que consigan este disco. Otra vez vamos a ser crípticos y pedirles que sigan el método que implementamos en el "Relayer" de Yes (ante cualquier duda recurrir a dicha entrada) porque he visto cómo despotrican estos músicos cuando sus discos son distribuidos indiscriminadamente cuando recién salen a la venta, por lo que les cuesta recuperar las inversiones realizadas. Entonces no queremos joderlos (es lo que menos queremos!) ya que este disco hace poco ha salido a la luz, ni que ellos nos jodan a nosotros (tampoco!) así que les pedimos comprensión y paciencia, y que se vayan acostumbrando porque además creo que será la forma en que dentro de un tiempo nos comenzaremos a manejar.

Y vamos con algunos comentarios en inglés y pasamos al disco, que tantas palabras están demás.


May 14th of this year saw the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska? Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you're anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård's small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård's last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska?Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.
Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård's remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one's shadow. While there's nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I've ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.
The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård's next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn't kill anyone, I'll start right off with the new song: "Introvertus Fugu Part 1." Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it's our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that "Introvertus" shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif, and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring "Introvertus" towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus' dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.
After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with "Hostsejd." The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, "Längtans Klocka," the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord's demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on "Jordrök," a quintessential song in Änglagård's catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris' release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. "Jordrök" sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band's absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus' superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.
Moving deeper into the performance we see "Sorgmantel," one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it's a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as "Sorgmantel" takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful? even breathtaking.
To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with "Kung Bore" and "Sista Somrar." Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of "Sista Somrar's" slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.
In my opinion, Prog på Svenska?Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don't want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there's just something missing, or the band simply doesn't offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of 'had to have been there' to get what's so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård's latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn't a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård's extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs.
Matt Di Giordano

In March of 2013, legendary Swedish symphonic progressive rock band 'nglag'rd played a series of concerts over three nights at the Club Citta, Tokyo, sharing a bill with The Crimson ProjeKCt. 'nglag'rd, now with a revised lineup, present a unique take on progressive rock with influences such as Swedish folk music, old school progressive rock like King Crimson, Genesis, and Dun, and classical music, all in a very dynamic and symphonic style. Whereas many symphonic prog bands place the rock first and classical second, 'nglag'rd mix the 'sturm und drang' of classical music with rock instruments such as electric guitar, bass, and synths and prog rock experimentation.
I had the immense honor of seeing this band live at 2012's North East Art Rock Festival (NEARfest) and it was one of the best live experiences I've ever had. Over the past few days, I've been transported back to that weekend in June with this new live record which presents a well-documented and energetic performance from one the most perfection-driven group of musicians I know.
The track selection here represents every one of 'nglag'rd's three studio albums with some staples ("Jordr'k" - the classic opening track from the 1992 debut, Hybris and "H'stsejd" from the "Epilog" album) as well as some lesser known tracks ("Sorgmantel" and "L'ngtans Klocka" from 2012's Viljans Oga and "Kung Bore" from the debut). To me, this provides a nice cross section of the band's repertoire, as we get a taste of what the new lineup is capable of through the presentation of familiar material.
I use the word 'familiar' above somewhat loosely, though, as even the older pieces have demonstrated some growth since we last heard them. On all of the pieces, the band have altered the tempos and added some new sounds (such as the recorder on "Jordrok") and some added saxophone parts and synthesizers on a few other pieces. One of the things that makes or breaks a live record, for me, is the arrangements. With 'nglag'rd, the arrangements are constantly in flux and that makes these tracks worth hearing in different versions and the record worth buying. I personally feel a bit ripped off when a band plays the same arrangements time and time again, but 'nglag'rd constantly challenge themselves and their listeners.
In addition to the older pieces, we also get one new piece on this record - "Introvertus Fugu Part I". Clocking in at just under seven minutes, this is the shortest piece on the album and probably the biggest draw for 'nglag'rd fans. Beginning with some spacey piano chords and a disjointed arrangement, the piece gradually rises from freeform chaos to dynamic Crimson-y 'nglag'rd form and develops throughout its short (by 'nglag'rd standards) runtime to a thrilling conclusion that leaves the listener wanting to hear Part II! If this is what is in store of 'nglag'rd's fourth album (to be recorded later this year), then we are in for a real treat.
As for the performances here, they are nothing short of stunning. The newest members seem to fit in with the established style of the group, while flautist Anna Holmgren continues to develop her goregous, vibrato-laden lower register while Johan Brand taps into his Chris Squire meets Jannick Top Rickenbacker brilliance. Essential stuff for fans of progressive rock. Also, if this band comes anywhere near you, go out and support this music, it'll be a concert experience you'll never forget.
MUSICIANS:
Anna Holmgren: flute, saxophone, Mellotron, recorder and melodica Johan Brand: bass, Moog Taurus basspedals and atmospheric sound Tord Lindman: guitar, vocals, gong and atmospheric sound Linus K'se: Hammond organ B-3, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Moog Voyager, piano, soprano saxophone and vocals Erik Hammarstr'm: drums, cymbals, vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, cran casa, gong
Ian

So we finally get a live ANGLAGARD album that the band is actually happy with. The "Buried Alive" recording was one the band didn't want released as they felt their performance wasn't up to par, as well as not being overly happy with the sound quality. Well I thought it was excellent but I have to admit they have stepped up their game here and the sound quality is simply perfect. The music was recorded from three shows they did at Club Citta in Japan back in March of 2013. If I was trying to describe this band to someone who hadn't heard them i'd say their mellow bits were like GENESIS, very beautiful, while the heavier sections bring a muscular KING CRIMSON to mind, especially with the mellotron dominating the sound at times. I love how upfront the bass is as well.
So we get two tracks from each of their three studio albums plus a new one that they opened the shows with each night called "Introvertus Fugu Part 1". In describing the opening number i'm going to let their own description in the liner notes do the talking. "This little rascal that we simply call "Introvertus Fugu Part 1" came about when a Rickenbacker bass line collided with a short atonal vibraphone sequence one day at a rehearsal. The bass line developed into the full-band main section, and together with a flute melody the vibraphone formed a counterpoint. Then the stone was rolling. Distant sparse piano, eerie guitar notes and tubular bells were initially heard. A hell- break-loose rhythm section banging next to squiggly guitar, mellotron and nasty organ followed. For the last section we brought in uproaring saxaphones and...Yes, part of the live experience as a whole, but it also became a natural and important starting point for us a group in the art of crafting". "Hostsejd" is from "Epilog" and is classic stuff. Organ and mellotron can be heard before these massive bass lines arrive followed by a full sound. We will continue to get the contrasts between the loud and mellow. Amazing song. "Langtans Klocka" from "Viljans Oga" is fairly relaxed until the guitar arrives 2 1/2 minutes in and it all starts to come alive. Great instrumental display here before a calm arrives before 4 minutes. Killer bass at times as the contrasts of laid back and full speed ahead continue. Love the guitar in this one and it ends in an insane manner.
"Jordok" from "Hybris" is simply brilliant. Before the song begins one of the members of ANGLAGARD tells the audience that they've been wanting to get to Japan for 20 years. Again the contrasts between the beautiful and the powerful sections is breathtaking. Flute, mellotron and guitar create wonder then the muscular bass kicks in with storming mellotron and frantic drum work. Just a killer track and the final minute is gorgeous. "Sorgmantel" from their latest album "Viljans Oga" begins disc two. This stays mellow with flute, piano, bass and more until it becomes fuller before 2 minutes then even fuller a minute after that. The bass is ground-shaking after 4 minutes then the guitar leads briefly. A GENESIS soundscape follows as themes are repeated. Again the contrasts the rest of the way are so inspiring to me. "Kung Bore" from "Hybris" opens with piano as it builds rather quickly. A beautiful calm before 3 minutes with flute, strings and more as fragile vocals arrive. Again we get some killer moments when it turns heavy then when the mellow pieces float in i'm in awe once again. Big finish to this one as the crowd roars it's approval. The final song is "Sista Somrar" from "Epilog" and it was actually recorded during a sound check before their final concert. Melancholy to start before it turns haunting before 5 minutes. Then it kicks into gear as contrasts once again continue. It's haunting again after 8 minutes as themes are repeated. This song is just an incredible way to end this recording.
When it comes to live albums this one is going to be right near the top of my all-time favourite live recordings. Crystal clear sound and band who would intimidate many other bands out there with how well they play these complex and emotional compositions. I'm not worthy!
John Davie


El sonido es a veces tan bueno me pregunto si esto realmente puede ser una grabación en vivo, pero en cualquier caso es sensacional. Una obra onumental que obviamente merece la calificación más alta. No dejen pasar esta maravilla. Larga vida a Änglagård! Larga vida al prog!
Absolutamente y decididamente un disco indispensable. Y agradezcan a Alberto...



3 comentarios:

  1. ...y si llegan acá buscando un link son unos descarados que no leen nuestros comentarios!

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  2. where is the fuck link mother fucking?

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  3. Que putias chabon!!! Comprate el disco amarrete!!! Aguante cabeza de Moog

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