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7 Apr 2017

Parson Sound “Parson Sound” 1967 Swedish underground Psych Rock Experimental, Prog Rock, Avantgarde Recorded 1967/68, released 2001












Parson Sound “Parson Sound” 1967 Swedish underground Psych Rock,Experimental,Prog Rock, avantgarde Recorded 1967/68, released 2001
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Recorded in 1967 but notably was not officially released until some years later. Looks to be the little-known Swedish psych / progressive band’s sole effort. Enjoyed this 2-CD more so than I had anticipated. Tracks that - definitely managed to pull me completely in the twenty-minute epic “From Tunis To India In Fullmoon On Testosterone”, the interstellar (so to speak) “A Glimpse Inside The Glyptotec”, the twenty-nine minute trippy “Skrubba” (almost worth the price of admission alone), the astounding “On How To Live” and “Blaslaten”. Didn’t realize it until later - but apparently, member(s) from this collective had later joined up with Trad Gras Och Stenar, although I can’t say that I’m too surprised. Some might consider this title to be ‘droney psych’. Recommended for fans of the previously mentioned Trad Gras Och Stenar, Algarnas Tradgard, some Can, Amon Duul II, some Gong and Blasket Brinner. Highly recommended…..ByMike Reed…………….

As precursors to International Harvester, Harvester, and Träd, Gräs & Stenar, Parson Sound are of historical importance to the Swedish underground experimental rock scene. These archival recordings date from 1966 to 1968, and except for part of “Sov Gott Rose-Marie,” which appeared on the International Harvester album of the same name, none of this has previously been released. This double-CD offers up over two hours of mind-bending music that draws on the Velvet Underground, West Coast psychedelic bands, and Terry Riley and 1960’s minimalism, as filtered through a Krautrock-like angst and with some Swedish folk influences thrown in. Most tracks are droning, lumbering raga-rock with moaning group vocals and a prominent electric cello, coming off something like early bootleg Velvet Underground trance jamming, with the band often locking into a single repetitive riff for 15 or 20 minutes. At five cuts per disc, most of the pieces are quite long, and most lack any song structure. No Stones or Yardbirds covers here either, though the first part of “Sov Gott Rose-Marie” does sport a “Wild Thing”/“Louie Louie” type riff, though hyped up and with strange chanting. For diversity there’s the track “On How to Live,” a weird acoustic folk instrumental with bird noises, and “Blastlaten,” with processed horns and flutes similar to Terry Riley in his Poppy Nogood phase. There is also an early solo piece by Parson founder Bo Anders Persson, “A Glimpse Inside the Glyptotec-66,” consisting of drones created by modified tape recorders and voice. Most of the CD was recorded professionally, either by the band or for Swedish radio, so the sound quality is very good for the era, matching that of Träd, Gräs’s Gardet 12.6.1970…… by Rolf Semprebon…………

The double-disc anthology Parson Sound (Subliminal, 2001) revealed an unreleased Swedish band of 1966-69, the Parson Sound (Ulla on vocals; Bo-Anders Persson on guitar, organ, flute, piano; Thomas Tidholm on saxophone and flute; Kjell Westling on saxophone; Torbjorn Abelli on bass; Arne Eriksson on cello; Urban Yman on violin; and finally Thomas Mera Gartz, Bengt Berger and Bjorn Fredholm on drums). Their main influences were minimalist composer Terry Riley, who at the time was inventing a musical aesthetic founded on repetition, and pop-art guru Andy Warhol, who, at the time, was experimenting with the droning music of the Velvet Underground. Parson Sound’s jams fused spaced-out acid-rock and Terry Riley’s trancey dervishes. They also experimented with tape manipulation a` la Fugs. (A Glimpse Inside the Glyptotec-66, 1966). 
They indulged in colossal cathartic/ecstatic orgies such as Tio Minuter, India and Sov Gott Rose-Marie, and challenged the concept of harmony in free-jazz noise-fests such as the 20-minute From Tunis to India in Fullmoon and One Quiet Afternoon. They stretched some jams to eternity, as in the 29-minute Skrubba. 
Bo Anders Persson later renamed the band (Gartz, Abelli, Tidholm, Ericsson, Yman) into the International Harvester, that released Sov Gott Rose-Marie (Love, 1968), a wild fusion of psychedelia, minimalism, raga, folk, jazz and sounds of nature, and the “folkier” Hemat (1970). The CD reissue of Sov includes the unreleased 24-minute Skordetider, recorded for an album that never materialized. 

Persson, Abelli and Gartz were also active in a more conventional rock quartet, Trad Gras Och Stenar (1969). This band, whose output was mostly collected on the live albums Djungelns Lag (1972 - ½ Special, 2003) and Mors Mors (1973), would resurrect 33 years later with Ajn Schvajn Draj (Silence, 2002) and then Hemlosa Katter (Homeless Cats) (Gashud, 2009)………..

PÄRSON SOUND: 3 LP BOX SET (Subliminal Sounds SWEDEN) Finally out on vinyl May 28! Deluxe triple LP box set. Limited edition of 1000 copies worldwide. Revised liner notes. A spectacular archival package of primitive drone and minimalist rock/trance/psych from the Swedish underground, one of the most memorable audio documents ever. The nucleus of the Swedish 1960’s-70s underground psych rock scene: the legendary Pärson Sound. This deluxe 3-LP box set presents the most remarkable Swedish underground band, known in a later incarnation and continuation as International Harvester and Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Trees, Grass and Stones), and features both intricate studio recordings and orgiastic live performances. Pärson Sound never released any records in their time and that is why a very few have heard about them at all. The recordings date from 1967/68 while the band explored unknown musical territory as well as inner- and outer space. In 1968 they were invited by Andy Warhol to play at the opening of his exhibition: 'Screens, Films, Boxes, Clouds and a Book’, at the museum of Modern Art in Stockholm and also opened for the Doors. Influenced by the musical concepts of Terry Riley, Pärson Sound worked at discovering and perfecting their own unique approach towards the mixing of rock and minimalism………………

2016 repress, spectacular archival package of primitive drone and minimalist rock/trance/psych from the Swedish underground – believe the hype as follows; one of the most memorable audio documents ever. After years of research, Subliminal Sounds is proud to present the nucleus of the Swedish 1960s-'70s underground psych rock scene: the legendary Pärson Sound. This deluxe 3LP box set presents the most remarkable Swedish underground band, known in a later incarnation and continuation as International Harvester and Träd, Gräs och Stenar (trans. “Trees, Grass and Stones”), and features both intricate studio recordings and orgiastic live performances. Pärson Sound never released any records in their time and that is why very few have heard about them at all. The recordings date from 1967-1968 while the band explored unknown musical territory as well as inner- and outer space. In 1968, they were invited by Andy Warhol to play at the opening of his exhibition: “Screens, Films, Boxes, Clouds and a Book” at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm and they also opened for The Doors. Influenced by the musical concepts of Terry Riley, Pärson Sound worked at discovering and perfecting their own unique approach towards the mixing of rock and minimalism, creating some of the most remarkable psych- trance-drone-pre-noise music-rock sounds ever recorded.
Pärson Sound’s music described contexts, interplay and organic growth and shaped a conception of the world in opposition to fragmentation, individual achievements and intellectual construction. This world was to be perceived as one body, a whole of inviolable parts. Their minimalist repetition with slight changes renders associations with slow growth, cyclic process, breathing, pulse, life, movement and machines. This persistent repetition also gives the listener an opportunity to discover the sounds, to meditate, to go into the music and join the same journey. Many times, one can discover a relationship with music of other cultures, and in comparison, the music of the Western world can feel cursory, unreliable – as a fear of entering deep into feeling. Pärson Sound’s compositions often consist of harsh structures – rhythm patterns with ostinato bass, a melodic figure which forms a base for improvisation. Other songs have a more thoroughly-elaborated structure that still leaves room for variation. The moment, the audience, the location formed their music. Their key phrase was “We, Here and Now!” and with time, the music came to have an increasingly religious or shamanistic streak, with more intensity, presence and warmth, striving for euphoria and ecstasy. The band’s psychedelic approach is so fresh and vital that it transcends time. Listen to it now! A 3LP with informative, revised liner notes in English and lots of photos……………..

PÄRSON SOUND was born out of the fertile 60s cross-pollination of all types of traditional and contemporary musical forms invading every nook and cranny of the world. In this case it was Sweden. After The Beatles and other English bands were successfully delivering their own take on various sounds merging together to the new global audience, some musicians opted to create a deeper, darker and much freakier sound to focus on. PÄRSON SOUND which consisted of Bo Anders Persson (guitar), Thomas Tidholm (vocals, sax, flute), Arne Ericsson (cello), Urban Yuman (violin), Torbjörn Abelli (bass) and Thomas Mera Gartz (drums) who were hugely inspired by the minalmist vision of Terry Riley and took the whole mid-60s psychedelic scene to new levels giving them the oft touted title as the earliest pioneers of Krautrock which wouldn’t take off for another couple of years. This band has put out a most confusing track record of their offerings. While beginning as PÄRSON SOUND, they only recorded several demos and live performances under this band name. The tracks on this release range from the 1967-68 years but were never released until this eponymously tilted 2001 compilation hit the market. This is the prequel band to the following International Harvester, Harvester and finally Träd, Gräs & Stenar (of which Bo Anders Perrson, Torbjörn Abelli and Thomas Merz Gartz were the only constant members). 
Right from the beginning “Intro” it’s easy to tell that this band was pretty much ahead of its time. While contemporaries with The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, these guys really shot off into the trip-o-sphere and took psychedelic escapism to a frightening new level. While artists like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Yardbirds and Love were basically creating a new form of psychedelic rock or pop that was based on catchy rhythms and / or melodic developments, PÄRSON SOUND really was the real heavy psych deal eschewing anything catchy, kitschy and sing-along and instead offered hypnotic chimeric and sound equivalents of a mirage in the desert as the music delivers a steady beat and riff groove that slowly deviates from its intended course as if a sudden bout of sickness has distorted the listener’s perception and proffered a new distinct connection to reality. This is the real deal and delivered when all those aforementioned bands were trying to achieve such cosmic lengths, but in reality were only delivering mostly blues oriented catchy pop songs polished in a psychedelic coating. 

Everything about this album drips in cosmic unity bathing in a tripped out, psychedelic timelessness as if a shaman from centuries of time travel had intervened and injected the proper rainforest frog licking experience to the whole shebang. The music is powerful as it establishes a cosmic grooviness to the whole delivery system and then adds a fuzzed out guitar extravaganza that contributes alternating patterns in percussive and bass performances. Most of the tracks are long extended instrumental behemoths but there are vocals interspersed throughout the lengthy double album length. This is a double album. Part one on either CD or vinyl consists of lengthy psychedelic jams mixed with drone, minimalism and indo-raga to create long drawn out jams that slowly unfold themselves into slightly different compositions that are simultaneous hypnotic in effect as well as energetic bombastic affirmations to the mushroom gods that alter the perceptions of all entities engaging in the conscious perception of what is unfolding. 

Believe you me that no drugs are required to alter your consciousness with this one. It has the full effect sans any chemical altercations but i imagine that booster shots can only take this trip even further. Disc / vinyl side two starts off on a much lighter note. In fact the track “Sov Gott Rose-Marie” which is the album title of the International Harvester album that follows, begins sounding much like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana with a simple chord structure and surprisingly grunge oriented progression a full couple decades before such music would actually hit it big. The track is divided into three parts and after the energetic proto-grunge part it cedes into a very early Pink Floyd sounding part that creates a nice counterpart effect to “Pipers At Dawn’s Gate” with its psychedelic guitar riff meets the mellotron and grrrrrroooooviliscious beat which is steady and relaxing. Almost martini music meets acid blotters but creates a jarring juxtaposition of contrasts as it continues. The next track “Skrubba” is the longest track on the entire double album at 28:56 and basically delivers the utmost psychedelic freak out of the time. Although it is basically a repetitive bass line ad infinitum, it nonetheless has enough contrast in sounds and off-beat timings of things to give credence to the proto-prog badge that it frequently acquires. While the mood of the listener has to be in sync with the unfolding and time delivery of the whole thang, it is one of the most satisfying tracks for the hardcore tripper who is craving this sort of thang. This one has a bass line that also reinterprets the early Pink Floyd take on psychedelia only taking a much more hypnotic and repetitive approach to the table. 

The rest of the album follows suit with taking the Syd Barret Pink Floyd-isms beyond the albums that they released only to create wild and bizarre escapist passages into another world. Just to be very clear, this is basically minimally melodic in nature and very repetitive in that regard. The majestic magnitude of PÄRSON SOUND is how they embellish the simplicity of it all. The music unfolds in simple measures as would any music of the day but each measure creates a subtle difference enhances the magnitude of the experience ever so slightly after each passing increment of time. The production is quite conducive to the psychedelic experience and although this is not music that a sane person would experience on a daily basis, this is quite the heady wild psychedelic experience everyone wishes that all those 60s so-called psych bands would have produced. This is the real deal-ee-bop and it was created in the actual time, not as a wish-i’d-been-there-and-done-that pipe dream. Personally i really love this album although it does require the proper mindset to totally enjoy and comprehend. However, when the mood strikes, this is the real deal and what a deal it is. Sweden has emerged as one of the leaders of progressive music but many do not realize that this has been true ever since the beginning of the prog scene all the way back in the 60s, even before Germany caught wind and took the bull by the horn and usurped the whole psychedelic scene with their version of Krautrock. Excellent album that should be experienced by every psychedelic music lover who is serious about the PSYCHEDELIC part of the equation and also a big bonafide feel good moment for anyone interested in early noise rock that would eventually lead to bands such as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and all the drone metal bands like Boris, Jesu, Earth, Nadja and beyond??…..by siLLy puPPy ………

Hard to imagine that this albums was written in 1967. Implicitly it prefigures krautrock’s druggy eccentricities and the most spacey side of progressive rock. The band integrates in a very authentic and personal way different inspirations from acid folk, eastern tinged improvisations, “droning” minimal hypnosis and “kosmische” instrumentals. All compositions feature trance like effects incorporated in mesmerizing and “primitive” jam sessions. It also include “stoned” vocals. This underground musical travel is an interstellar transport that clearly invokes trance like state. Far away more innovative and avant gardist than the “pseudo” pre-spacey rock circle led by the Pink Floyd. In the vast domain of psychedelic “free” rock and in comparison to Parson Sound, the Pink Floyd are “miniatures”. “Parson Sound” is a mind blowing, “apocalyptic” and pioneering effort. A must have for fans of the radical and heavy psych Algarnas Tradgard and Trad Gras Och Stenar. It’s time to re-define correctly and with a better justice the genesis of psychedelic space music………by philippe ……………

In 1968 Andy Warhol invited an experimental rock group to open for his exhibition “Screens, Films, Boxes, Clouds and a Book.” at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. Warhol had always shown a keen aptitude for identifying musically forward-thinking artists (cf. The Velvet Underground), and when he chose Parson Sound to perform its avant-rock compositions as a prelude to his show it was no different. Formed in 1966 by Bo Anders Persson, a student of music at the Royal Academy Hall who had become disillusioned by the sterile tenor of his academic environment and who decided to form a group that would fuse minimal structures of classical music to a rock idiom and combine all this with an emphasis on euphoric states in live performance. By 1968 Parson Sound had already achieved a notoriety in Swedish circles as a compelling avant force and as such became an apt choice for Warhol’s filmic art exhibition. 
Parson Sound was created in 1966 after Persson attended a performance of Terry Riley’s minimal masterpiece “In C,” an event that changed the course of his life and by extension the Swedish underground music scene of the time. They are a group who sonically share the sensibilities of early kraut rock pioneers like Amon Duul and Kraftwerk but are relatively unknown outside collector enclaves due to the rarity and primitive nature of the recordings. Although historically they were just as innovative as Can or Faust with their focus firmly ensconced on the free and heavy exploration of sonic possibilities, their music failed to reach the masses in much the same way as they never got the chance to record in a proper studio. In this sense, they share the same terrain that is occupied by Les Rallizes Denudes, a Japanese psychedelic super group whose music is also very hard to find (the only recordings available are of their live performances). But this does not diminish the brute force and majesty of the music these pioneers created . Instead it raises their estimation in potential. If a band was so good that they become cult figures just around sub-par recordings of their live performances one can only imagine what could have happened had they ever been able to engage a proper studio. 
In placing Parson Sound along a historical map, one must realize that the music they were making was two full years ahead of the bands that they most resemble, namely Amon Duul and Ash Ra Tempel. I credit the prescient nature of their sound to the way in which drone and minimalism played a part in the architectural framing of their song structures. Repetition and circular form are used as either numbing or awakening devices, and underscore the mechanics of departure and arrival within the lexicon of their musical typography. This is psychedelic rock, but it firmly eschews all the blues or American derived musical idioms that many bands who are associated with the psych moniker tend to exhibit. The geography that Parson Sound inhabits is more in line with modern classical music (Riley, Reich, Stockhausen) and with the tonal structure of the ethnic music of India and Southeast Asia, such as raga or gamelan. As someone who exhausted the seminal Nuggets compilations during his teens, and who for a long time was exposed to psych via bands like the Electric Prunes and 13th Floor Elevators, listening to Parson Sound for the first time was a revelatory experience.
“From Tunis To India in Full Moon (on testosterone),” a track that spans 20 minutes and whose amplified cello ostinato serves as a backdrop for a voyage into harsh soundscapes replete with thundering drums and winding violin and flute passages; this piece is an accurate barometer of what a listener can expect from their music. The term “grower” is used usually to describe an album or piece of music that promises to reveal subtle and hidden aural pleasures over time and in the case of Parson Sound, this is the only way to approach their music — as it tallies with the process whereby the music came into itself.
Critics have noted the shamanistic streak in the music of Parson Sound and it’s an assessment I tend to agree with. The improvisatory and communal, almost incantatory, approach to musical experience along with the focus on exploring the outer reaches of the psyche via a spiritual response to sound and the immediate environment definitely shares a resonance with the shamanistic/orgiastic/Delphic states that have been documented throughout history. The phrase “We, Here, Now” was a key manifesto of Parson Sound’s ethos; as they were obstinate that the performance, the location, and the moment was to dictate the direction of the music and nothing else. These elements of the group were fabric to the zeitgeist of the 60’s but they were also impelled forward by the contributions of poet/vocalist Thomas Tidholm, a member whose influence was palpable in its more esoteric affectations. “Tio Minuter,” is a song that has one one of the most darkly arresting breakdowns in rock music, full of lowly slung bass and a caterpillar drum loop that gives way to the Tidholm effect. As the breakdown creeps towards the end Tidholm’s harmonized poetic chants wrap themselves around the sound as opposed to over it, it is a device that deploys voice and word as an associative synergistic force that deepens the tone of the piece by thickening and expanding the texture of its pulse.
Overall, the music that has been documented with the original Parson Sound members is of very high quality and loses none of its verve over different tracks. Members of the original group went on to form highly influential Swedish offshoots like International Harvester or Trad Gras Och Stenar, all incredible bands that amped up the musicality of the initial tendencies that exist in those early recordings. The reputed Swedish label Subliminal Sounds has just issued a limited edition complete package which includes all these highly coveted recordings into a 3LP boxset. First encountering this music over 10 years ago, it still sounds fresh to the ears — unlike many of the psych bands from that era. Perhaps it is their insistence on a universal sonic language or on the enlivened musical states that has kept their sound vital. Either way, it is a piece of music history not be missed……by Oscar Paul Medina……………..

- Bo Anders Persson / guitar, vocals 
- Torbjörn Abelli / bass 
- Thomas Mera Gartz / drums, vocals 
- Arne Ericsson / cello, piano 
- Thomas Tidholm / saxophone, vocals 
- Jakob Sjöholm / guitar, vocals 
- Urban Yman / violin

01. Intro (0:53) 
02. Tio minuter (10:29) 
03. From Tunis to India in Fullmoon on Testosterone (20:29) 
04. India (Slight Return) (13:06) 
05. A Glimpse Inside the Glyptotec -66 (6:01) 
06. One Quiet Afternoon (in the King’s garden) (10:32) 
07. Sov gott Rose-Marie (13:18) 
08. Skrubba (28:56) 
09. Milano (7:57) 
10. On How to Live (7:26) 
11. Blåslåten (5:41) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..