For this amazing reissue, the Tiliqua label puts on hold its obsession with vintage Japanese erotica and instead turns to the obscure psychedelics of Swedish artist Joakim Skogsberg. Dating back to 1972, Skogburg's long lost 'Jola Rota' LP originally only sold between 300 and 400 copies, and it's not terribly difficult to understand why. Tapping into the imagery of acid folk, the album's hippyish sleeve art is probably a bit misleading. In truth Jola Rota is a far more adventurous piece of work than its packaging suggests, comprising six extended compositions, usually focused on multitracked voice and the mantra-like, repetitive 'jolor' singing style indigenous to traditional Swedish music.
There's a looping melodic structure holding opener 'Jola Fran Ingbo' together, and it keeps you hooked thanks to its intensely mesmeric feel, Skogsberg's seemingly wordless chanting making you feel well and truly like you've just inadvertently joined a cult. 'Offer Rota' calls upon a greater array of sound sources, taking in percussion, clanging pianos, amorphous fuzz and trance-inducing basslines across an enveloping six minutes of droning manipulation. After the crazy-guy-humming-in-your-ear vibes of 'Fridens Liljor' the acidic lead guitar sounds of 'Besvarjelse Rota' comes as something of a relief, but it's not long before the sinister vocal utterances return, and by the close of nine-minute hypno-drone 'Jola Fran Stensate' you'll find yourself struck by an overwhelming desire to buy some magic beans from Skogsberg.
Finally, 'Jola Fran Leksand reintroduces an expanded range of instruments all kept in check by a regular percussive rhythm and a jumble of weird ceremonial sounds. Jola Rota is a particularly incomprehensible record, and it's certainly no mystery as to why it's been buried beneath the sands of time. It's to Tiliqua's immense credit that they've taken the time and trouble to present this album to a modern audience, who'll hopefully be more receptive to its considerable merits. Highly Recommended