Monday, October 8, 2012

KONTINUERLIG DRIFT – Kontinuerlig Drift (Trixie, 1977)

International relevance: ***
Swedish vocals/Instrumental

This band came to life in the early 70's as Hela Havet Stormar, but it wasn't until 1977 they got an album together. Members were from different places but as Kontinuerlig Drig they were based in Uppsala. The album however was recorded in Gävle. Drummer was Tomo Wihma who had been in Panta Rei. But if anyone hopes for Kontinuerlig Drift to be a band of similar musical precision as Panta Rei, you approach the album with the wrong expections. I've no idea as regards the leisure habits of this seven-piece, but the album certainly sounds nicely stoned. Some people claim it's a jazz rock album, but mind you, it takes more than one saxophone and an electric piano to create anything close to the jazz concept. Kontinuerlig Drift has more in common with Arbete & Fritid, Träd Gräs Och Stenar and two chord kraut jamming. Tobias Petterson informs us that they used to keep jamming on the same idea for an hour in an Amon Düül fashion, and the music on the album is indeed pretty open-ended at times. Some of it sounds decidedly impromptu, and Petterson actually slags it by saying it leaves much to be desired. Well, the playing isn't spot on, and it has its fair share of sour notes, but if you get along with Träd, Gräs Och Stenar (who's never learned to play properly during their entire career of 45 years), I can't see why you would have any troubles getting into Kontinuerlig Drift.

It's quite atypical for a 1977 album, instrumentally somewhere along the lines of early Arbete & Fritid and a style quite far from the sounds of the day, even in progg. They're a quite drone happy bunch, and that really comes to the fore in folkish numbers such as the wonderful ”Liksom en herdinna” and the guitar fuelled ”Linas Lek/Gånglåt från vettet”. They mix instrumentals with vocal tracks; the latter often with a pronounced dislike for American politics. Opening track ”Terroristen” is still chillingly accurate; a quick translation of the first verse reads:”Some that kill one or two people are called terrorists, but if you kill millions in foreign territories, you get called a patriot and a great man”.

The weakest track is ”Svarta dagar, svarta nätter” which sounds like a sloppy Jorma Kaukonen blues with a drunken Papa John Creach on violin. Thankfully, the blues is restricted to this one pointless track. Most of ”Kontinuerlig Drift” plays in the druggy drone zone. Despite the sometimes insufficient instrumental skills of some of the players, it's an album that keeps you listening and draws you back time and time again. It's a much more psychedelic album than many albums passed on as such. It's unfortunately also very rare; a mere 300 copies were pressed by the band and it's highly unlikely that they were ever distrubuted nationwide, let alone internationally. A lot of people would argue against it being essential, but it's certainly not an album I'd like to live without.

The somewhat Rick Griffin inspired album art was made by Ola Claesson (who died in 2009). Claesson also designed a Stockholm restaurant!

Several members went on to join the less interesting Turmans Band, Piano player Alf Arvidsson has recorded various 45's with several bands. He was also in Mora Träsk, Mobben and Gudibrallan. He's now an ethonology professor, having for instance classes in music ethnotlogy.. Tomo Vihma and his brother Cary died many years ago. 

Linas lek/Gånglåt från vettet 

Indianens blod

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