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(44:55, Transubstans Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. I Grevens tid 12:03 2. Pa Gron Kvist 6:06 3. I Afton Trans 12:54 4. Dimland 13:52 LINEUP: Sebastian Wallander – guitars Ola Eriksson – keyboards Dave Janney – bass Kaufman – drums
Prolusion. BLANDBLADEN, or Bland Bladen (the band uses both forms of writing for the band name), was formed late in 2001 in Sweden. After three active years, the band decided to take a pause, a year after recording their debut album "I Grevens Fid". The band members went on to other groups meanwhile, first and foremost Kaabel and Oresund Space Collective. In 2006 the band members that joined Kaabel decided to revive Bland Bladen again, and while working on new material their debut album from 2003 has now been re-released on Transubstans Records.
Analysis. Bland Bladen – Among the Leaves: just what kind of leaves they are thinking about one can wonder, when listening to their musical output. After all, psychedelic improvisational space rock is one of the genres of music that is commonly associated with leaves of a kind that doesn't grow on trees, and which indeed isn't commonly found in Swedish nature. The music will probably appeal to many kinds of leaf users, though. With cues from the Hawkwind school of improvisational space jams, and slight leanings towards Ozric Tentacles in style, Blandbladen performs four distinctly '70s sounding pieces here, perhaps with slightly more firm planning than what is usual in the world of improvisational psychedelic rock, however. The bass guitar is a solid foundation on all tunes here, with the exception of a few lush, mellow segments. Deep, rumbling and often at a faster pace than the other instruments, it creates a strong and dark groove upon which the rest of the instruments can improvise. Synthesizers and guitars are the main improvisational instruments, taking turns in dominating the various segments of the performances. Most often both instruments will be utilized at the same time with one instrument being given a dominant role while the other provides textures in the form of either underscoring the other, harmonizing or by adding sound fragments. Drums and percussion are mainly used to set the pace from what I can hear, but in the mellow passages, especially, percussion seems to get a slightly expanded role in adding atmospheric moods as well as pace setting. In style the tunes here come across as well-structured improvisations. With only two instruments given dominating improvisational roles it is easy to follow the music, and the songs often get a groove going for some time while the improvisations slowly evolve. The improvisations aren't totally free-flowing either, as slight breaks are inserted when there's a major change in the progression. This makes the songs slightly more predictable, but it suits the style Blandbladen explores decidedly well. Somehow this slight element of predictability makes it easier to appreciate the chaotic and improvisational elements, at least for me. And with interesting themes and melodies explored, this adds up to an impressive and at times fascinating debut album.
Conclusion. If psychedelic space rock is your thing, this is a release that needs to be checked out, in particular if you are fond of ‘70s-sounding performances in this style. As the improvisations in these songs come across as slightly more accessible in terms of complexity than what is common with this kind of music, this should also be an excellent release to check out for people curious about this particular style.
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