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At Last! The new edition of this milestone release, the collected text-sound compositions of Åke Hodell, in what would have been his 100th birthday year. Åke Hodell (April 30, 1919 - July 29, 2000, Stockholm, Sweden) was a Swedish fighter pilot, poet, author, text-sound composer, and artist. Hodell was trained as a fighter pilot, but after a crash during practice July 17, 1941, he had to spend the next few years in hospital. This became a turning point and he became a dedicated antimilitarist. In his books, Hodell experiments with what he calls elektronismer, while he on stage and in radio in the early 60's works with text-sound composition. During this period he is also active at Pistolteatern in Stockholm. He also created publisher Kerberos.
For more than 85 years, the Swedish association, Fylkingen, has shown an astounding commitment to the territories of avant-garde and experimental sound practice, bridging music and the contexts of fine-art, offering particular focus electroacoustic music, happenings, musical theatres, and text-sound compositions. It a shining emblem in our world. While it is impossible to pick favourites among its label’s sprawling and ambitious catalog, their 3 CD box set Verbal Brainwash and Other Works — which collects the remarkable sound-text works of Åke Hodell — is among the most coveted. Originally issued in 2000, it and after spending years out of print, we are thrilled to announce its return to the world, celebrating what would have been the artist’s 100th year.
Åke Hodell, who passed away in the same year as Verbal Brainwash and Other Works first appeared, was a Swedish experimental text-sound composer and writer who deployed his compositions to voice political dissent. His work, while displaying close alignment with the electroacoustic and avant-garde musical movements, can, through its ethics and aesthetics, be understood to possess a closer association with Fluxus. Shaped by his experiences in the Second World War, his text-sound compositions, often produced in collaboration with the Swedish Broadcasting commission, veered toward the topical, addressing everything from global militarism, racism within the governments of Rhodesia, to the disappearance of the Black Panther, Eldridge Cleaver, sculpting a body of work which is at once creatively thrilling, while pursuing the potential of art to change the world for the greater good. Unfortunately, until Fylkingen’s compilation, the majority of the artist’s efforts remained unissued - having been created in the moment and seemingly slipped away, offering an overwhelming amount of historical importance and weight to what Verbal Brainwash and Other Works.
Stretching across 3 full length CDs, Verbal Brainwash and Other Works spans Hodell’s output from 1963 to 1977 and offers an astounding immersion into the artist’s construction of a conceptual bridge of the realms of radio drama and avant-garde text-sound, while doubling as a living example of the most vital period in the history of the Music Department of the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation (Sveriges Radio, SR). It’s a thrilling ride of colliding voices and sounds, which, while challenging and often mind-bending, is both incredibly ahead of its time and accessible - an alternate vision and realisation of those themes which occupied so much of the 20th Century avant-garde. It is the culmination of sound and ideas, as few have ever achieved, and far too few have heard.
This is truly as good it gets. We can’t express, after 18 years, how happy we are to have this one back in our hands. A vision of the noble and important work which records labels do, in this case defying the temporality of the medium for which so many of these works were made, allowing the seminal voice of Hodell to transition into the future and continue to give. There is no way to recommend this one enough. Completely essential on every count.