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Zamla Mammaz Manna
Schlagerns Mystik/För Äldre Nybegynnare
Silence (SRSCD 3610)
Lars Hollmer, electric piano, Korg polyphonic, Hohner-symphonic grand piano, Farfisaorgan, accordion, vocal;
Hans Bruniusson, drums, xylophone, chimes, vibraphone, pinochet, radio, vocal;
Eino Haapala, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vibraphone, vocal;
Lars Krantz, electric bass, double-bass, acoustic guitar, trumpet, vocal
1. At Ragunda — 1:37
2. Seasonsong — 3:48
3. Proffesion is the Amateur's Glue — 2:20
4. Buttonless — 2:15
5. Not Margareta — 3:47
6. Little Karin — 4:15
7. Asphaltsong — 1:52
8. Joosan Lost — 0:25
9. The Fate — 17:00
disc 1 time: 37:19
1. Watchmaker 1 — 3:40
2. Watchmaker 2 — 2:29
3. The Funktrap — 2:45
4. Short Inheritance — 1:53
5. The Modern — 6:20
6. Temporal You Are — 2:32
7. Harness in Memorandum — 11:30
8. To the Oval Meter — 3:46
9. Do You Think You Like Me? — 5:15
disc 2 time: 40:10
total time 77:29
This is a set of two albums — one studio, and one of live improvisations, and the band's first under the new Zamla Mammaz Manna moniker. Although traditional folk elements had always made their place in Zamla's music, never had they been so pronounced as on the first disc of this set. The title of the disc translates to The Mystery of Popular Music, and the music is something of an intricate Swedish folk buffet, and also near to children's music. The tunes are highly melodic, and the instrumentation is largely traditional, with accordian, xylophone, acoustic guitar, and various odd percussion. Later, Lars Hollmer would win the Swedish equivalent of a Grammy award, and it is apparent that he and his bandmates have a deeply rooted, though highly unique, sense of their native musical culture. Light, often funny, and rather charming.
The second disc, translated as For Older Beginners, is a different story altogether. The music is taken from various concert recordings (1976-77), and is made entirely of group's improvisations. These guys played without a net every night, and the level of imagination and communication here is staggering. Not for everyone, but if you like this kind of stuff, it doesn't get much better.
"Not Margareta" is an accordian-led song, seemingly about a mischievous little girl, but actually about an outcast prostitute. This tune epitomizes the childlike qualities of the band, at the same time demonstrating their mastery of folk arrangements. Listen once, and find yourself humming this at the oddest times.
"The Fate" is an instrumental on the first disc; this tune is the only real indication of Zamla's proggy past. It clocks in at 17 minutes, but is not as long as it seems...honest. Actually, the music is simpler than the twisted fusoid workouts of earlier albums, and what really stretches it out is the spacey mid-section improv, which is arguably their best on record.
The second disc begins with "Watchmaker", pts. 1&2. Group improv, Zamla style. Various pings, pitter patter, and slight pops make themselves known, wordless chatter, a scream or two, some percussive wallop, guitar noise, and somehow it all makes sense...at least for the time being. At the end, all the clocks start to chime and cuckoo, and it makes you wonder whether or not everything was planned. Of course not, and that's why this really is for 'older beginners'.
review by Dominique Leone