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6 February 2015

Fläsket Brinner (Silence)

It's nice that the synchronicity of alphabetical order chooses this record next, as I just got back from a lovely visit to Stockholm, where I did not knowingly encounter any former members of Fläsket Brinner (but who knows!). The cover of this looks truly evil, though maybe it was just one of their dogs cast in strange lighting (are Swedish people ever evil, Nikanor Teratologen excepted?). This sounds like a live album throughout, at least for sure on side 1, and its built around thick instrumentals with searing and soaring guitar lines, that 1971 rock-organ sound, and solos galore. It's not nearly as far out as some other Euro-prog of the time (without vocals, 'Räva's chanting notwithstanding, a lot is actually lost for me when it comes to prog-rock). The legendary Bo Hansson appears here on organ on one track which he composed, though he was actually a full-time member of Fläsket Brinner, instead likely lending his celebrity to help sell some records for Silence. Most of side one is the epic 'Tysta Finskan' and it's melodic and driving, never letting up its momentum, while giving these guys a lot of space. 'Bengans Vals' starts like it's going to turn into some Don Cherry-esque earth mantra, but quickly seizes upon a double-tracked guitar line (as is the fashion so many times throughout). King Crimson was surely an influence (probably to everyone who made music like this in 1971) as well as some Canterbury stuff (I hear some Egg in this) and the reeds - sax + contrabassoon - give this a nice flavour halfway towards Henry Cow, never threatening to step into jazz. I believe this is a really well-regarded prog record (at least among Scandinavians) and I almost feel guilty that I've never been super into it; this has gravitated to my "sell" pile over the years but I always hold on for some reason. They can certainly get going with a lot of energy, though the rhythm section often takes on a boogie-rock feel. I'm not sure if I prefer 'Tysta Finskan's epic jam or the shorter piece that are dotted across side two. 'Bosses Låt' proves they can dig in and cut into granite, in a way that even Joe Carducci would approve of; 'Upsala Gård' is the most reed-heavy and occasionally feels like a Fela Kuti piece.

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