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Arbete Och Fritid (1973)


Szwedzki zespół Arbete Och Fritid został powołany do życia w Uppsali w 1969 roku. Ich muzyka oparta była głównie na znakomitej improwizacji, mieszającej ze sobą we frapującym stylu elementy muzyki folkowej, awangardy, jazz-rocka oraz psychodelii. Niektóre utwory pisali sami, w większości jednak twórczość ich bazowała na tradycyjnych melodiach ludowych, które interpretowali na swój wyjątkowy i pełen zaskakujących pomysłów sposób. Grupa istniała do 1981 roku i na przestrzeni tych ponad dziesięciu lat wydała siedem albumów oraz zagrała mnóstwo koncertów, do dziś pozostaje inspiracją dla wielu twórców z kręgów szeroko pojętego progresywnego folku i nie tylko.


Founded 1969 in Uppsala, Sweden, Arbete och Fritid (“work and spare-time”), played a unique kind of progressive 70’s folk, inspired mainly by jazz, rock, psychedelic and traditional Swedish tunes. Although they did compose some music of their own, most of their output was interpretations or improvisations on traditional folk tunes.

The band had several line-ups up before they disbanded in 1981; Bosse Skoglund, Tord Bengtsson, Roland Keijser, Torsten Eckerman, Ove Karlsson (who later would go on to form Nya ljudbolaget), and Tord Bengtsson who later joined Hellzephyrs poporkester and have also appeared in the Bitter Funeral Beer Band. In 1971 the poet Rolf Lundqvist joined and the group released it’s first album “Slottsbergets Hambo & Andra Valser” (“castle hill’s hambo & other waltzes”) in 1972. In 1975, Thomas Mera Gartz, who previously had played with Träd, gräs & stenar, also joined the group. 

The world of '70s Swedish left-field music holds many amazing gems, and Arbete Och Fritid ranks among the best ones. This album was recorded and released in Sweden in 1973. The 2003 CD reissue on Music Network's MNW imprint adds 20 minutes of bonus material in the form of a single piece recorded by the Swedish National Radio in 1972. At this point in time, the group consisted of Tord Bengtsson, Torsten Eckerman, Bosse Skoglund, lyricist Roland Keijser, and leader/artistic mastermind Ove Karlsson. Add Bernt Berger and Kjell Westling for the session from 1972. This album showcases a profound fusion of Nordic folk, psychedelic/progressive rock, and avant-garde music. You never know what to expect next. A saxophone solo can evoke Albert Ayler (in "Ostpusten -- Västpusten"), a violin/cello duet section at the end of "Petrokemi det Kan Man Inte Bada I" brings a contemporary classical touch, while other cuts share interests with the likes of Alan Stivell, the Samla Mammas Manna, and You-era Gong. The first half of the album (side one on the original LP) consists mostly of rock-ified and freaked-out renditions of folk tunes, Nordic but also a Turkish one ("Elâzig-Dans"). Festive, they boil just enough to be innovative and wild without losing the listener. Side two is more challenging, with some style-hopping within a single track. The bonus "Ostpusten -- Västpusten" alternates between inspired space rock episodes and free jazz breaks, with a mock-Western finale -- the group pulls it out like a new Dutch swing outfit (think ICP Orchestra or Clusone Trio). Sound quality is not fantastic (some signal overload when saxophones and trumpet hit it), but this album has a lot to offer. (François Couture)

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