All of your favorites, in one place.
**edition of 300** "Discovering the Förlag För Fri Musik label and the associated acts has to me been one of the major highlights of the last few years. I've been lucky enough to have taken part in events and acquaintances some people could only dream of, but for me it has always been about the music. Yeah, I got to know Albert Ayler in the autumn of '66 when we shared a cab in Stockholm. I somehow lured myself into the crew around International Harvester and their early stage, not really socializing much but would still found myself half asleep on the floor while Sov Gott Rose-Marie was being recorded. Was it the same week I somehow ended up in charge of the café at the Zodiak Free Arts Lab in Berlin? Possibly. It’s all in my biography. On my many travels I've been floored, spoiled and overwhelmed. Lester Bangs owes me $27 and an excuse. During my stint in the UK, I was at the first The Jesus & Mary Chain show and a few years later drank myself through an dark period of schmucks staring at their ugly shoes while awkwardly playing their guitars through endless chains of effect units. My life has been good and rich of fantastic encounters. Some terrible ones too. Towards the late 90's my life-long passion kind of ended. Not because I was getting older really. No, I rather blame the lack of interesting sounds. The lack of interesting artists. My passion drained, I stopped going to shows, I stopped buying records. I remained friends with plenty of people but a whole era of my life just seemed to be over. I emerged myself into literature and cinema for the following 15 years, and my listening habits were mainly focused on private pressed 80's heavy metal from USA during this period.
Fast forward to early 2015. My oldest daughter knocks on the door to my home office and throws a copy of the Enhet För Fri Musik cassette Inom Dig, Inom Mig in my lap. Listen to this, will you. Right up your alley, blah blah. The usual exaggerations in another tiresome attempt to wind up the old man. A fucking cassette, how cute. This one however... Wow! Mind blown. That something. Memories of a lifetime flashing by. A feeling of something else, finally. I poured down the last drops of my Scotch, took my bicycle down to Music Lovers, the store where my daughter supposedly had obtained this particular little gem, just to found out more about this band. Which I didn't, but that's another story. I must've listened to the cassette about 20 times a day for at least a month. It was like seeing photos of Les Rallizes Denudes for the first time, but the photos being music instead. It was like seeing Träd, Gräs & Stenar at Gärdet in 1970, but this time not having sex with my girlfriends’ brother behind the scene. It was like my first exposure to Jandek (never been a fan, but you know what I mean). Trying to figure out more gave me the same feeling as sending well-concealed francs for some LLN cassettes to a friggin' castle in southern France, just hoping for the best. Or receiving the very first jiffy with via-USA Japan-imported noise cassettes from Ron Lessard. Just as if no time had passed at all, I shortly found myself fully immersed in a musical universe again, this time the Gothenburg underground. It turned out that the cassette was only the beginning and that the two following LPs, one released by themselves and one on an Italian label, were not only much better but both minor masterpieces in their own right. So yeah, I just did what I had to do and soon enough could address myself a "writer" again and even being paid for that.
I managed to hustle down an unmastered advance tape of the upcoming Det Finns Ett Hjärta Som För Dig album from the band after a few weeks of weird negotiating which could be described as walking into a wall headfirst over and over. From my many years as a music writer I'm used to the other way around, bands and labels basically begging you to accept their promotion copies and lame-ass one sheets. But Enhet För Fri Musik, it was like they knew they had something big on their hands even though they obviously didn't realize it themselves. Every question was received with suspicion. Like, what do you want? Really, what do you want? The mentioned advance tape had a life itself it seemed, like a jinxed holy grail it mysteriously disappeared from my bag the same night I received it to early the next morning be found by my neighbour outside my door. I had the pleasure to meet the whole band (that's Hugo Randulv, Sofie Herner, Gustaf Dicksson, Dan Johansson and Matthias Andersson) a couple of weeks ago. In all honesty I can't really decide if it really was a pleasure, but an interesting gathering no matter what. Prepared with 20 questions, my ambition was to get a piece done for a Norweigan publication, a text focusing entirely on this new album and the peculiar aura around the whole collective. They choose the time and place, a bar some 30 minutes from the city centre which the taxi driver had a hard time locating at all. I arrived in a timely fashion but no one there of course except for a lady in her 70's firmly placed in front of a Jack Vegas machine. After 20 minutes all of them emerged from the kitchen behind the bar, all heavily into a discussion about some Christmas album. I spent about 5 hours with the band, but managed to get 0 answers to my well thought-out questions. Nothing to use at all, actually (if you don’t count the answer to my #14, Q: “Does a great combined record collection help when making an album together?”, A: “Yes.”). Nice people and all, but Hugos' constant yapping about the best Sarah Records compilations and the similar rants on whatever-band-you-never-heard-of from New Zeeland from Matthias got a bit tedious after a while. Every attempt to steer the conversation at least somewhere near the masterpiece that is Det Finns Ett Hjärta Som För Dig resulted in more beers plus jokes and references I didn't get.
What I did get, however, and that’s solely from letting this album become an integral part of my life and not so much from my few conversations with the band members, is that this is one of the most wonderful albums I’ve ever heard from Sweden. People will try hard to figure this one out in the future. A comment on a welfare system collapsing? Just a glimpse into the creators’ childhood memories of rainy summers cut-jumping back and forth to scenes of cases of 3.5% beer smashed on the concrete behind the Sibylla, neverending confirmation camps, virginities forever lost and trimmed mopeds disappearing in the morning fog? The letting go’s and the joys and the sorrows of it all. Who knows with these cats, what I have on my now much treasured tape is not necessarily even what will be on the actual album. For whatever its worth, I’m thankful for my brief encounter with this band and my only wish right now is that they one day will perform live. "
Efraim F. Ponteus, May 1st 2017