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13 Aug 2016

Svanfridur “ What’s Hidden There” 1972 Iceland Prog Rock


















Svanfridur “ What’s Hidden There” 1972 Iceland Prog Rock

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watch review from psychedelic baby

http://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2012/03/svanfridur-..

Hailing from Iceland, SVANFRIDUR were a four-piece who in the summer of 1972 recorded a single album, titled “What’s Hidden There?”. The album, recorded in London and released at the time only in a few dozen copies, can be considered one of the most interesting examples of heavy progressive rock mixed with influences from local folk music. SVANFRIDUR’s compositions feature complex vocal harmonies and an original, inventive use of violin and Moog synthesizers, courtesy of guest musician and arranger Sigurdur Johnsson.
One year of life and a collectable album was what this Icelandict act left behind.Svanfridur were formed in 1972 by ex-Náttúra singer/keyboardist Petur Wigelund Kristjansson, guitarist Birgir Hrafnsson, bassist Gunnar Hermannsson and drummer Sigurdur Karlsson.They toured around Iceland for numerous live shows, including also two trips to the Faroe Islands, but they were unable to get a contract on a proper label.Still they travelled to London and record their only album “What’s hidden there?” at the Majestic Studios.The album was pressed there, but released only in Iceland in late-72’.
Swirling around as a rare Psych/Prog release, this is actually a Hippy/Psychedelic Rock album sung in English with minor progressive touches and a pretty versatile sound.They were heavily influenced by British Psych Rock and their sound was more into a late-60’s mood than into a reputed progressive spirit.Lots of impressive vocals, balanced guitar solos and leads and a steady rhythm section are the elements characterizing most pieces towards a rather melodic and laid-back atmosphere.Some tracks contain a few rural vibes performed on strings and flute, while the use of piano and Moog synthesizer are the only true connections with Prog Rock, pretty limited and not very pronounced to say the truth.Leave any expectations for intricate material aside and the album ends up to be a trully enjoyable listening with memorable parts and occasional instrumental flashes with jazzy, bluesy and folky touches.Certain parts with a neurotic synth edge do sound quasi-progressive, but the dominance here is the nice use of guitars, sometimes with a heavier sound, and the clean vocals.

The album sold only a few hundred copies, leading the band to a decision for dissolution in mid-73’, even if veteran guitarist Bjorrgvin Gislason (also from Náttúra) appeared to have join them.Kristjansson and Gislason went on to form Pelican and two years later Kristjansson rejoined forces with bassist Gunnar Hermannsson on Paradis.Birgir Hrafnsson and Sigurdur Karlsson formed the Rock band Change.

Very good Psychedelic Rock with discreet signs of proggy textures.Well-played, full of nice melodies but also secure arrangements, propably a great addition for fans of the style.Recommended anyway. …..

Icelandic prog-rockers Svanfridur formed from the ashes of various rock bands in the early 1970s and released exactly one album, 1972’s newly reissued What’s Hidden There? What’s striking. listening to it close to 40 years after its original inception, is not how “Icelandic” it sounds, but just the opposite. Forget Sigur Ros, these boys could be from San Francisco or London, given the careful lyrical phrasing and slavish devotion to the musical conventions of the era (right down to the “To be Played Loud” injunction in the liner notes). All the familiar hippie-prog elements are here: trippy album art, meandering guitar lines, folk-rock interludes and cod-philosophical lyrics. “It’s easy to get hurt when you’re human,” we are told, “You just have to search your own heart”. Cue the recorders. The best musician by far is bass player Gunnar Hermannson, who restlessly propels the songs while never overwhelming them. The band is at its best when settling into straight ahead rockers like “Give Me Some Gas” and “What Now You People Standing By.” Unfortunately, the era demanded various side trips into folky strumming, and after a while Peter Kristjannson’s Bowie-ish stylings grow pale. For fans of the era, or of psych/prog-rock curiosities in general, this is worth a listen; the musicianship is certainly competent enough. Rarely, though, does the band elevate itself to something more than mimicry…..by pop matters……

This one and only album by Icelandic band SVANFRIDUR is really a very rare gem in early progressive rock. I was very lucky to find a copy of a re-release by a Brazilian!! label. The liner notes are saying: “What’s Hidden There?” is one of the most original and innovative of the albums released in 1971 and 1972. And I have absolutely to agree to that opinion.The opener “The Woman Of Our Day” is mainly guitar-based Art Rock, neither symphonic nor harsh, certainly the least progressive one on here, but nevertheless a good one. All the other compositions are definitely progressive. “The Mug” is a rather quiet song with guitar, bass, piano and some synthesizer sounds, very well-done and a rewarding listen. “Please Bend” is more in a hardrock vein but with an awesome electric violin added on, again they’re using here some synthetic keyboard effects and finish the song with some weird vocal tunes, quite original and absolutely another highlight. The title song is an acoustic one with guitar, flute and violin, very pleasant one as well! “What Now You People Standing By”, longest track of the album is a bit harsher and more up-tempo song containing a short but excellent percussion solo and great guitar / bass play. “Give Me Some Gas”, again an up-tempo one exhibits a brilliant virtuosity of all musicians on their instruments, especially the bass play is very intense. “My Dummy” is basically a hard rock song with the add-up of some synths keyboards and here like as well in the last track once again Gunnar Hermannsson shines with his bass play.As a summary I just can say that it’s absolutely worth trying to find this rare album. I’m seduced to give the fifth star!….

The Icelandic prog-rock band Svanfrídur released only one album, recorded six months after they played their first gig. This short-lived band rapidly rose to fame, receiving rave reviews for live performances, but in fact, their music was way ahead of its time. They were unable to seal a recording contract, so they formed their own label – Swan Records. When the album What’s Hidden There? was released in autumn 1972, it got mixed reviews and sold only a few hundred copies, leaving the band with a great album, but sadly, not the income they had been hoping for. Recorded at London’s Majestic Studios, the album was cut and pressed in England. Perhaps one of the best heavy prog/underground albums from Scandinavia, with amazing guitar and all English vocals. Would have been a famous and successful album on Decca UK. Includes a 12-page booklet.
Shadocks….

Line-up / Musicians

- Birgit Hrafnsson / electric & acoustic guitars, back vocals (2 & 4)
- Gunnar Hermannsson / bass guitar, back vocals (2)
- Sigurdur Karlsson / drums & percussion
- Petur Kristjansson / lead vocals

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Woman of Our Day (3:12)
2. The Mug (4:50)
3. Please Bend (4:47)
4. What’s Hidden There? (4:06)
5. Did You Find It? (2:08)
6. What Now You People Standing By (7:58)
7. Give Me Some Gas (5:12)
8. My Dummy (4:15)
9. Finido (3:44)


johnkatsmc5, welcome music..