Thursday, October 5, 2017

APPENDIX – Space Trip (Amigo, 1973)

International relevance: ***
Swedish vocals, instrumental

Founded in 1965, Amigo Records were one of the longest running independent labels in Sweden until the huge Bonnier media group bought them out in the early 00's, only to close down Amigo's business less than ten years later. The very minute Amigo Records were lost to the Bonnier conglomerate, so was the appeal of the original label. It was a bit sad to see that appeal go, once cultivated through an often refreshingly unpredictable catalogue of original releases (including anything and everything from theatrical plays to the world's #1 garage revivalists The Nomads). Amigo also had an impact as a distribution company, making a plethora of jazz, blues and folk releases available domestically.

”Space Trip” is a surprisingly little known Amigo album, released in 1973 by Appendix from Malmö. Revealing traces of both late 60's/early 70's Miles Davis and UK band If, it's most definitely a jazz rock but not quite a fusion effort. It's not a style I particularly fancy myself, but I have to admit that ”Space Trip” has a certain appeal. It is indeed more spacey than your average jazz rock album, the self-descriptive title track in particular, with echoed vocals and wah-wah keyboards. The melancholy of ”Autumn Song” coming through in singer Lars-Håkan Olsson's emotive voice suggests both Moody Blues and King Crimson, whereas ”Tetan” approaches free jazz.

Varied as it is, ”Space Trip” has a cohesive, reflective mood, instilled by a certain sense of tentativeness. Not that Appendix weren't self-confident because they were, but they had refreshingly small amounts of the bravado that would soon make Appendix's style largely outdated by the advent of the cocky full-on fusion bands. ”Space Trip” remains a bit of a curiousity, but a rather attractive one.

Saxophone player and flautist Helge Albin later became leader of Tolvan Big Band acknowledged for their work with Tommy Körberg (Solar Plexus, Made in Sweden et al) and Dave Liebman among others. Also in Tolvan Big Band was drummer Roy Wall. He Walso appears on several albums by other artists over the decades. Bass player Ted Persson and Hans Blom did some session work in the 70's.

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