Somehow, in 1960s Sweden, the burgeoning worlds of American/British rock n' roll and experimental minimalist composition collided in the music masterminded by Bo Anders Persson.
Persson was inspired by the repetitive and sparse nature of works by Terry Riley, but sought a more folkloric and communicative style to coincide with the idyllic hippie lifestyle of the era. The result was the intelligent psychedelia of his band Harvester, which only recently has begun to enjoy popular admiration.
The latest installment in a series of reissues of the various Harvester incarnations (the first two, Parson Sound's self-titled record and Harvester's Hemat, were released earlier this year), 'Sov Gott Rose-Marie' (Sleep Tight Rose-Marie), originally released in 1969 on Love Records, is probably the most likely to appeal to rock fans. It drifts in and out of the dark drone that characterizes Parson Sound, with psychie jams like "There is No Other Place" providing an opportunity for pulsating visceral freak outs.
Repetitive chant-like vocals and pounding are a common thread throughout the album, as are childish clanging noises and sing-songiness. The opening track, "Dies Irae," has an almost supernatural urgency, which, when compared to the rest of the record's content, suggests some sort of uproarious fated peasant uprising.
There is an abandon in this album that I can't help but imagine when I look at the centerfold picture of the band, surrounded by friends and naked little kids, standing ankle deep in a tranquil lake. The photo captures perfectly that hope that the over-development and commodification of society could be rectified if only we could lose ourselves in this new music- just unwind our brains back out of all this junk and into a simpler state of mind.
'Sov Gott Rose-Marie' is not only a masterpiece from an archival point of view- it remains actively poignant more than 30 years after its original release. Easily one of the best records to come out this year.