Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lars Hollmer & Looping Home Orchestra - Door Floor Something Window (Live 1992-93) (1993-Sweden) [AvantProg] @320

Lars Hollmer, Swedish king of all things with keys, leads his ongoing, ever-evolving orchestra -- this time starring Fred Frith on guitar -- through a tour of Canada, Sweden, and Germany over two years, no doubt delighting all audiences along the way. Hollmer's music is an amalgam of folk music styles from all over the European region, from polka to klezmer, rock, jazz, and even classical music. Tossed in to the mix is carnival music and incidental film music. Perhaps no one tune is more indicative of "Hollmermusik" than the opening track here, recorded at the Victoriaville Festival and called "Karusellmusik." Accordions, Jean Derome's saxophones, and the twin guitars of Frith and longtime collaborator Eino Haapla create the whirling give-and-take of the carnival carousel as Hollmer's accordion carries a melody worthy of a carny in a comedic horror film. 

Further is the notion of Hollmer's insistence that his music, no matter how out to lunch, be
completely accessible for those who may be moved to dance by its pulsating rhythms and nostalgic melodies, even as it points directly into the future where the idea of "folk" music is quickly disappearing into the cross-cultural twilight of miscegenation. This is evident in the lovely vocal "Autumn Song," in which Hollmer's vocal sidles along Frith's shimmering guitar and Haapla's mandola with a concertina to bolster his lilting, frail voice. In its grain is the emotional toll of passage and memory, the knowledge of endings and their bittersweet reveries. This is followed by "Portaletyde," a cut-time dance tune that holds within it the polka and the waltz contained perfectly within the concertina and baritone saxophone.

Three repetitive lines call themselves into being along a melodic line that flows seamlessly from the previous number and pulls the listener into a "let's dance for tomorrow we die" mode of feeling, playing it through just enough times to make it plausible before launching into the operatic and episodic "Ett Tungt OK," a prog rock jam with crescendos that will knock you on your startled ass. Frith (on violin) and Haapla go head-to-head while Hollmer holds down the modal triads that serve as a melodic framework. There is drama, and then there is Hollmer's drama, full of pathos and dark emotion without resolution. The resolve doesn't come until the end of the record in a Fripp/Brian Eno move called "Timlig," where guitars, loops, and piano all meditate on the temporal nature of the riff, each one never quite ending as another takes its place.

Its droning feedback loops the only constant in a shifting mass of airy harmonies and dulcet tones and semi-quavers. A pianistic flourish takes the edge off the guitars temporarily, but this is a bone-cruncher of a finish. It's rock, experimental and otherwise, and you can dance to it if you know how to remove your backbone entirely. When the percussion enters the tune, the entire thing is awash in emotional chaos and somber processional grace. The baritone saxophone creates a melody out of thin air, staunchly striding ahead of the drones and feedback. It's a breathtaking, anthemic ending to a startling program.

01. Karusellmusik (3:28)
02. Utflykt Med Damcykel (5:13)
03. Franklat (2:59)
04. Quickstep (5:56)
05. Moloken (2:37)
06. Parallell Angostura (3:47)
07. Eyeliner (2:51)
08. Teatime (In Berlin) (4:37)
09. Höstvisa (Autumn Song) (5:04)
10. Portaletyde (3:23)
11. Ett Tungt Ok (4:52)
12. Zanzibar (2:55)
13. Plinga (6:55)
14. Finalvals (3:33)
15. Timlig (Temporal You Are) (5:08)

Lars Hollmer: Keyboards, Accordion, Melodica, Voice
Lars Krantz: Electric Bass, Electronic Drums [Midi Percussion], Glockenspiel
Eino Haapala: Electric Guitar, Mandola
Fred Frith: Electric Guitar, Violin
Jean Derome: Flute, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Olle Sundin: Piano, Percussion

Tracks 1 to 3, 5, 6 recorded live in Victoriaville (Canada), track 4 in Uppsala (Sweden), track 9 in Linköping (Sweden), track 7 in Moers (Germany), track 8 in Berlin (Germany), track 12 in Hannover (Germany) and tracks 10, 11, 13 to 15 in Ulm (Germany).
Edited and mixed in the Chickenhouse II, Summer 1993.
Final mix at Studio 270, Montréal.


Solo albums:
XII Sibiriska Cyklar (1981)
Vill Du Höra Mer (1982)
Från Natt Idag (1983)
Joggingcharleston Singel (1984)
Tonöga (1985)
Vendeltid (1987)
The Siberian Circus (compilation, 1992)
Vandelmässa (1993)
Andetag (1998)
Utsikter (2000)
Autokomp A(nd)more (2001)
SOLA: Lars Hollmer's Global Home Project (2002)
Viandra (2007)

With Samla Mammas Manna:
Samla Mammas Manna (1971)
Måltid (1973)
Klossa Knapitatet (1974)
Snorungarnas Symfoni (1975)
Kaka (1999)
Dear Mamma (2002)

With Zamla Mammaz Manna:
Schlagerns Mystik / För Äldre Nybegynnare (1978)
Familjesprickor (1980)

With von Zamla:
Zamlaranamma (1982)
No Make Up (1983)
1983 (1999, rec. live 1983)  

With Ramlösa Kvällar:
Ramlösa Kvällar (Nights Without Frames) (1977)

With Fem Söker En Skatt:
Fem Söker En Skatt (1995)

With Looping Home Orchestra:
Vendeltid (1987)
Door Floor Something Window (live, 1993)

With Accordion Tribe:
Accordion Tribe (live, 1998)
Sea of Reeds (2002)
Lunghorn Twist (2006)

With Fanfare Pourpour:
Karusell musik (2007)


  1. I thought I knew all of Lars Hollmer, including Ramlosa Kvallar, but I didn't know this! Thanks.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing all of the Lars Hollmer recordings. The information in the posts was very interesting as well; were some of the words your own?


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