I've thought a lot about why these albums from the seventies were so good, so incomparable and unique, when side-to-side you listen to earlier and later artistic periods. Of course some people will disagree right off the bat. I think it boils down to exposure, the musicians from that time grew up educated in classical music, almost invariably, and often knew jazz very well. The early environment was so different from what young musicians today grew up with. Then, when rock came around, it was still new and there was a willingness to play with it that is absent today except in the progressive scene itself, which is old enough that nowadays a musician doing this style is really just imitating past masters. Rarely do we hear them combine all three streams, jazz, rock, and classical into one harmonious whole. There is a demographic explanation too which I think should not be dismissed, this was the peak creative years of the infamous baby boomers. In fact I think at the time, the average age over the entire globe was in the 20s -- it was a young world back then (compared to late 30s to 40s in the western world now.) I think demographics at least explains why there has never been a band as popular and creative as the beatles. Then my friends the peak oil people will say that the seventies were the height of energy availability per capita and overall well-being.
Well it's obvious what I'm leading up to here: on a basis of folk rock and folk music from northern europe, the musicians, which include the famous Mats Vinding on bass, incorporate a lot of jazz elements, and some classical, baroque compositions. There is nothing awkward about the melding, which is why I think this album is fantastic. A couple of tracks feature some gorgeous electric piano, one in particular starting with a strange melody in F minor transitions a couple of times before, in the middle part, turning into a 70s soundtrack sound in D major, complete with spacey female voice wordlessly singing lalala (think rosemary's baby or emmanuelle). Several tracks start acoustic and turn electric in a wonderful way.
"The concept behind their album was to give a new twist to traditional Nordic folk songs from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland. All 11 tracks are tastefully arranged instrumentals (with acoustic and electric guitars to the fore) with strong jazz influences, almost like Björn J:son Lindh's records stripped of the flute (which really is inconceivable). Not really progressive music, nevertheless displaying hummable melodies and supreme instrumental competence. (S.G.M.)"
I disagree with the last remark, if this isn't progressive I don't know what is. It may be the writer was put off by the baroque and folk basis, but the songs sure get pretty ingenious and interesting.
Please enjoy this little example of pure seventies beauty. Any comments (negative or positive) regarding what I've written are appreciated!
I Min Ungdom Det Gladde Mig...