Sunday, March 5, 2017
Anekdoten - Vemod. 1993 Sweden
CD issues: 1993 Virtalevy; 1994 Rock Symphony (Brazil); 1995 Arcangelo (Japan); 2003 Virtalevy; 2008 Arcangelo (Japan mini-LP);
LP reissues: 1996 Record Heaven (pic disc); 2011 Virtalevy; 2015 Virtalevy
I suppose if one is to review Vemod properly, they must mention it sounds like King Crimson’s Red, and then you can move on to your main point, if there even is one to move on to (don’t get me started on this Starcastle thing again…). Of course when Vemod was first released in 1993, the excitement level was very high for the new album. Anekdoten were the other band from Sweden that had all of us in a swoon at the time. Presumably I don’t need to divulge the name of that other group... Whatever the case, some of my friends were quick to declare Anekdoten as the better outfit. I never agreed with that, but basically we’re talking varying degrees of what a 5 star album is. In Gnosisland we would characterize the two as distinguishing between a 13 and a 14. And while King Crimson entered my mind on first impact, it wasn’t all encompassing. I don’t recall King Crimson having a Swedish folkloric underpinning for example. Vocalist Jan Erik Liljeström possesses a softer, more gentle tone than John Wetton’s matter of fact singing approach. There's cello instead of violin. The driving woody bass is more from the Yes school, and then there’s the mellotron. Bassoon tapes anyone? When guitarist Niklas Berg begins his riffing, and then OK yes, Larks' Tongues in Starless Red does come to mind. No doubt Anekdoten themselves will freely admit the influence, especially from a compositional structure perspective. Many modern bands are, and forever will be, influenced by the almighty King Fripp, just as King Crimson were influenced by the classical masters of the past. There’s so much on Vemod to digest, that simple comparisons aren’t going to do it justice. I’ve now owned this album going on 24 years (hard to believe isn’t it? Seems like it was new last week…). And I will say it still raises the hair on the back of my neck.
So you’re damn right it’s stood the test of time.
All the Japanese CD releases include the very important 10 minute 'Sad Rain' track which is as good, if not better, than anything else on the album. It was years later I upgraded to one. I bought the original CD immediately. This was one of the first albums where I made a conscious to not buy the LP instead (or both). Foolish move. Now the original LP on Colours has predictably become prohibitively expensive. I now - irrationally perhaps - want one. Later reissues won't do. The ever contradictory mind of the collector within against an otherwise rational economic mind. Sigh.