Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lars Hollmer - Utsikter (Sweden 2000) [AvantProg] @320K

As the calendar moved from 1999 to 2000, the world looked forward to a new millennium and Lars Hollmer continued as he had for the past three decades — gathering with his musician friends at the Chickenhouse to make music that stands outside of time's passing fads. The result was another fine CD, Utsikter, the 11th disc to be released on Hollmer's KRAX label.
Sonically, Utsikter is one of the Swedish keyboardist/composer's lighter efforts, often tending more toward folk and even neo-classical chamber music flavors rather than prog rock, with his accordion and melodica featured more prominently in the mix than electronic keyboards.
The album also has more of a "band" feel than Hollmer's preceding solo CD, Andetag,
recalling elements of the Looping Home Orchestra's Vendelted in its multi-instrumental arrangements, and perhaps foreshadowing Hollmer's next group, SOLA, although without SOLA's electric rock and even fusion edge.
Many longstanding
Hollmer collaborators are important contributors to the overall sound, including several — bassoonist/oboist Michel Berckmans, violinist Santiago Jimenez, and bassist Wolfgang Salomon — who appeared on Andetag but play on a larger number of tracks here. The music is of consistently high quality throughout, beginning with the waltzing "Augustins Tema," whose theme first appeared in Hollmer's "Augustin Lesage," a 17-minute multi-tracked suite that closed out the Hardis Bruts various-artists compilation (dedicated to "raw art") on the In-Poly-Sons label.
The comparatively sprightly and detailed
arrangement here features prominent violin, bassoon, recorder, and accordion; with its evocative melodies and rhythms skirting the edge between classical romanticism and sprightly European folk, this tune would prove lovely even when revisited again by the duo of Hollmer and violinist Yuriko Mukoujima on 2003's mini-CD Live and More, but the Utsikter version remains definitive thus far. Hollmer permits himself a few moments to cut loose on the melodica over a bubbling groove in the middle section of "Denglad," but as is often the case with him, most of the CD is thoroughly composed.
intro to "Ambler" is anthemic in its writing yet understated in its delivery — Hollmer at his most quietly powerful — but the tune then segues into an upbeat dance rhythm in a fashion that might surprise only those unfamiliar with this composer's many left turns. "Lädereld" ambles along the trail in 5/4 cowboy mode, echoing Lasse's earlier "Starlep Signs" (minus the yodeling!), while the 7/8 "Südaf" improves on the rougher yet still appealing version first heard on the Vandelmässa CD (and also performed beautifully, complete with a wordless vocal part by Maria Kalaniemi, on the Accordion Tribe CD Sea of Reeds). It should be noted that Utsikter has no "drummer" per se (which may have been the impetus for a jokey track like "Drums, mm...," featuring Hollmer earnestly explaining the positive features of the skins over his decidedly arrhythmic electronic drum bashing). Yet Utsikter is often highly percussive, drawing comparison to Zamlaranamma by the original Von Zamla quartet, which also featured percussion instruments but no one sitting behind a conventional kit.
In fact, "Voilapük" — which first appeared on the Volapük album Polyglot in 2000 with a guest appearance by Hollmer — sounds like a Von Zamla rendition with its bassoon and accordion embellishments, its bed of insistent rattling percussion, and a driving 7/8 meter on the vamp. At the CD's conclusion, "Brev" is chamber music of delicate and wistful eauty, with an underlying two-note motif trailing off in search of resolution it never finds, and the brief title track has a feeling akin to a traditional Celtic air, with a beautiful unison oboe and accordion melody over Hollmer's orchestral keyboard backing. "Utsiker" segues into the final accordion/vocal lullaby "Nån Kanske Vet" ("Someone May Know"), as Hollmer once again demonstrates that writing and performing music of innocence, warmth, and charm is entirely consistent with artistic maturity. Only the immature would feel themselves too mature to enjoy Utsikter's gentle conclusion.
-by Dave Lynch-

01. Augustins Tema (4:06)       
02. Nåt (2:34)       
03. Drums..MM. (1:22)       
04. Denglad (3:21)       
05. Skum (3:00)       
06. Ambler (5:01)       
07. Lädereld (Leather Fire) (2:45)       
08. Nu Räcker Det (It's Enough Now) (1:19)       
09. Lelle Katta (Home Made Holiday) (2:18)       
10. Choleric in Geneva (Live) (0:56)       
11. Voilapük (3:02)       
12. Lat Minut (Lazy Minute) (1:05)       
13. Südaf II (3:53)       
14. Dron (4:28)       
15. Brev (Letter) (5:28)       
16. In Limbo (1:41)       
17. Utsikter...Nån Kanske Vet (Views...Someone May Know) (3:51)

Lars Hollmer: Guitar, Piano, Accordion, Drums, Keyboards, Programming, Whistle (Human), Melodica, Electronic Drums, Mandola, Choir, Chorus, Voices, Piano (Electric), Harmonium, Cymbals, Percussion
Coste Apetrea: Mastering, Six String Banjo
Wolfgang Salomon: Bass, Guitar, Bass (Electric), Bass (Acoustic)
Santiago Jimenez: Mandolin, Violin, Cajon
Matti Andersson: Flute
Michel Berckmans: Percussion, Voices, Gong, Horn (English), Bells, Recorder, Oboe, Bassoon
Kalle Eriksson: Trumpet
Rinda Strand-Hollmer: Choir, Chorus
Alva Strand-Hollmer: Choir, Chorus  


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)


Ratings by outbrain