This bundle includes three Enhet for Fri Musik / Blod LPs recently reissued by Aguirre, namely "Dokument I", "Leendet Fran Helvetet" and "Knutna Näva".
Enhet for Fri Musik "Dokument I" (LP)
In dark times of geopolitical powerplay and war mongering, artistic counter attacks are often shaped as quests for openness and liberation. No troupe within the current musical underground embodies this urge like the Gothenburg sound dwellers of Enhet För Fri Musik. With spiritual roots in the candour of the 1960s free jazz and the raw aethestics of early 2000s free folk, Enhet started delving into different forms of (semi) improvised musical expression around 2015. ‘Fri Musik’ is a very apt generalisation of previous liberating endeavours in music history, since the Enhet does not approach the freedom trope from a genre bound perspective, they are as much folk as they are ambient or lofi cassette experiment. At times times they sound like an indigenous tribe from some undefined part of the world, then again like hazy mutterings from a long forgotten utopian hippy commune. In an interview with Keith Knox For Jazz Monthly in 1967 American jazz trumpeter Don Cherry noted: ‘’[E]veryone should be interested in trying to bring some kind of music that they have in their bodies out of them. That’s what music was here for. People used to fight over food, but they would get together and play music in their homes’. It might not come as a surprise that Cherry was settling in Sweden when he developed his ideas about organic music, a collective expression rather than a market driven cultural product.
Blod "Leendet Fran Helvetet" (LP)
It's been a true pleasure but also a rather chaotic experience to follow the progress of Blod from a close distance since the beginning. I have fond memories of receiving the odd cassettes from the early days, like the severely fucked up Unga Röster (later issued as an LP on Förlag För Fri Musik) and the awfully mesmerising Prat Om Depression recording. Returning to "Leendet Från Helvetet" for the first time for long a while, it's quite evident that the album marked a new phase in the troubled Blod universe. There's few traces left of the found tapes/audial voyeurism and brutish stop/rec editing that made up the first few releases, instead we are served with what is pretty much a proper album in a, sort of, traditional sense.
The record opens with a sole beat from a hand drum soon accompanied by a beautiful and very Blod-ish subtle melody from a glockenspiel but it only takes a few minutes before Gustaf's past as a free jazz aficionado is noticeable with the rather rough saxophone burst of 'Natten'. It's not until the title track that things kicks off for real though, most likely the first example of the sound and, maybe more so, very special feeling that I would say most people associate Blod with nowadays. To me, it's the sound of growing up in Sweden in the 80's; having two channels on the TV, eating brown food, rainy summers, taping commercial stuff on the radio, playing D&D in a purple tent in the garden. Memories of that certain bright light that can occur during the Scandinavian summers, those warm days when the skies are foggy. Long windswept grass and a very peculiar feeling of utter boredom.
Arguably, Blod has never sounded more Blod than on this track, this is the very essence of the man's work right here. The progamm continues on side B with the solemn piano piece 'Lust', another saxophone rager and then the flipside's centrepiece 'Tro, Hopp & Kärlek' which pretty much mirrors the title track in it's larger-than-life scope and pure beauty.
Blod "Knutna Näva" (LP)
Swedish progg is not to be confused with "prog" as in progressive rock music. When we are talking about progg, we are refering to the Swedish music movement influenced by the political climate of the late 60's, to some extent the hippie movement and in many cases also Swedish folk music. Music highly driven by an political agenda. Blod's Knutna Nävar, originally released in an edition of 150 copies on Förlag För Fri Musik in 2018 and later a small cassette run, is pretty much a lost progg classic from the 70's. This is not a case of copying a certain sound though, far from it, neither are ideas really rehashed nor does the album feel nostalgic in that sense. Rather it feels like if someone has read about the progg movement and all the records but never actually heard it, yet decided to do an album and somehow managed to succeed big time.
Further developing the sound palette and ambience initiated with parts of the Leendet Från Helvetet recording, the music feels slightly louder and more in your face. It's like it's more of everything. The melodies are immediate and it's quite impossible to resist the brash catchiness of it all. Albeit mentioning progg music and it's importance for this recording, the actual musical side of Knutna Nävar has in reality more in common with soundtrack/library music and Swedish composers like the late Björn Isfält when you attempt to break it down. The crude DIY approach and anything-goes mentality just adds an extra dimension to it all and ultimately places the music somewhere else. There's a rather blunt use of samples throughout the record (sources probably best to leave out, though you don't have to be a Einstein to figure these out), but then again this is made by the same guy that gave the world the ABBA album. Those samples have managed to become an integral part of the music through the few years that has passed and though well familiar with the records those snippets are now to me genuinely Blod and nothing else.