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Kama Loka: Gånglåt till Floalt

This dark and earthy album, despite lasting just over 33 minutes has an epic quality. It brings together a strong range of eclectic rock and folk musicians from Denmark and Sweden who work extremely well together in the service of the music. The album is a balance, in the best sense of traditional Progressive Rock, between song and instrumental sections.

In many ways the music is timeless, seeming to be hewn from the landscape of Scandinavia in epic forms. The lyrics are haunting tales of fantasy and mystery 'Skovsöen' is a great example of this approach, with its slow booming bass drum providing a hypnotic grounding for the slow trudge of the music. 'Öjesten' could almost be straight from the 60's with its more jaunty drum accompaniment to chord sequences from this period, sustained Hammond organ chords and arpeggiated guitar. This is my least favorite track, sounding a little too derivative, and with its end solo over the repeating chord sequence, this doesn't really succeed in fusing the folk elements as well as other tracks. 'Trold I Bakke' treads similar territory.

The much more interesting folky inflections reoccur in the next track 'Gånglåt Till Floalt' where once again we hear the full range of instrumental colour. The regular alternation of sections in different keys, here provides the listener with a set of musical panels, providing some nice changes of colour and texture, and helping to break the 8-bar straight-jacket format. It's the longest of the pieces on the album by a long way, and the band are clearly enjoying themselves here. When the music becomes freer in the middle section I started to really enjoy this, and feel that the album could have explored more of this approach to great effect. It's perhaps an opportunity missed that the freeform section only involved the rock elements and didn't allow the folk elements to improvise and take the music to some new places. I also had some issues with the tuning in this track unfortunately. The final three minutes provides an unexpected re-treatment of the harmonies, with some a funkier approach, and some choir-like vocalizing. This takes the track to a rounded, yet fresh conclusion.

My favourite track is the final one, which from the very start, places the music in a colourful and distinctive place. The entry of the brooding choir of male voices adds weight and intensity, and this closing piece brings us full circle with it's focus on drones, to the opening of the album, and a dark, enigmatic conclusion.

The musicians are based around the rock core of Morten Aron (vocals and guitar), Anders Grön (drums and vocals), 
and Anders Lind (vocals) with the folk elements coming from 

Snild Orre (fiddle, violin and vocals) 
Tobias Petterson (bass, flute and vocals), 
Sören Pilegård (organ, hurdy-gurdy and vocals), 
Anders Stub (tanpura machine), 
Peter Wallgren paintings and vocals), Mikael Ödesjö (guitar and vocals).


Track listing
1) Skovsöen
2) Öjesten
3) Trold I Bakke
4) Gånglåt Till Floalt
5) När Lingonen Mognar

Added: August 14th 2013
Reviewer: Colin Riley
Score:
Related Link: Transubstans Records
Hits: 1854
Language: english

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