Berits Halsband - s/t. 1975 Sweden

Berits Halsband - s/t. 1975 Forsaljud

Originally published June 10, 2009. I'm bumping to the current date  to celebrate what I consider the most important reissue of 2015, and from our good friends in Greece no less! Oh - and Ken - I forgive you. LOL.

CD reissue: 2015 MusicBazz (Greece)

LP reissue: 2015 MusicBazz (Greece)

The initial review was published in Gnosis on August 28, 2007. I've since rewritten a portion of it, and that's what you see below.

Berits Halsband were an obscure band from the small coastal town of Hudiksvall, in central Sweden. Their relative isolation allowed the group an artistic freedom that ultimately created one of the greatest progressive jazz rock albums... ever.

In the mid 1970s, Sweden was harboring a handful of jazz bands looking to push the envelope beyond the usual bebop standards or electric noodling. These groups were very much influenced by the North American freaky fusion of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. Collectives such as Ibis, Ablution, Egba, Kornet, and Archimedes Badkar were bringing that same kind of kinetic creativity up to Scandinavia. And one has to figure those long, dark winters played a role in creating hallucinations even among the most puritan of Lutherans wandering about in their show shoes.

This was the creative environment that Berits Halsband were operating in.  Their artistic contribution to the scene, and most distinctive mark as it were, would be the musical crossover to the indigenous Scandinavian folklore of the local wooden dance hall. Berits Halsband's brand of progressive music wasn't dished up through the Zappa blender (like the popular Samla Mammas Manna for example), but rather more of an introspective art school approach. As with other large scale ensembles, the 8 piece Berits Halsband makes full use of its entire membership in unique ways. To underscore this point, consider the prominent use of trumpet, which is often filtered and heavily effected through a wah wah pedal. Their second lead instrument of choice is the lovely flute, often in unison with the trumpet, or as a peaceful solo alternative. And while Side 1 sounds like the best soundtrack to your dream Stockholm vacation, side 2 takes us closer to home, near the Arctic Circle, for some serious deep funk grooves. And here we find some added ring modulated electric piano combined with amazing fuzz electric guitar soloing. All this layered on top of a trance-like bass and a very busy percussion section. While the musical ingredients are familiar, the end result is entirely Berits Halsband - one of a kind.

In conclusion, Berits Halband's sole album is a strange bedfellow meeting of 1974 electric era Miles Davis, combined with the Swedish ethnic rock of Kebnekaise, and the psychedelic pyrotechnics of Flasket Brinner. Yes... it’s that good.


Originals are quite scarce, and one I chanced on well over a decade ago (2003 to be precise). It was from there that we got the ball rolling on the awareness of how great an album this is! The CD reissue (scans #3 and #4) is fantastic. Comes in a very sturdy mini-LP, with superb liner notes, and great sound. I presume the LP reissue is awesome as well. Don't sleep on this one!

5 comments:

  1. hi ,i´ve often travel in your blog ,for one of the best blogs ever so i decide ask you about a record called GET YOUR TEETH INTO THIS from the band called MONGREL ,i had a tape dated from circa 74-75 and i don´t ever heard about it since internet appeared,so would please try to find it with your turkish contacts,it is a progressive one great album lost in time ,cheers

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  2. According to Gnosis, the Mongrel appears to be from England circa 1973. I'd never heard of it, until you mentioned it here. I'll check with my contacts. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. I just re-read this comment. I finally did hear the Mongrel album a couple of years after this, and it's terrible! LOL

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  3. Hi! I can totally agree with your Review of Berit's Halsband.I grew up in A suburb west of Stockholm, and my nextdoor neighbour was Olof Söderberg, guitarist in Berit's! Two of the others Göran Frost and Sven (forgot his last name), lived just down the road. I saw them play live and they were Always brilliant. Unfortunately my copy of the vinyl got lost somewhere along the way....Jens

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    1. Thank you Jens for sharing this information! I have great news for you, MusicBazz will be reissuing this album on CD very shortly!

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