Asbjřrnsen - Scented Gardens Of The Mind


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Iceland

Arnadottir, Bergdora

A female singer who merged folk with pop music. A rather ordinary album, so beware of the hype!

1EINTAK1977PRIVATE PRESS

Eik

The group played soft progressive rock influenced by Camel and Yes. Their sound was keyboard-oriented with some decent three-part vocal harmonies. Óskarsson later joined Ţursaflokkur.

1SPEGLUN1976STEINAR
2HRISLAN OG STRAMURINN1977STEINAR 017

ALBUM BY PARADIS:
A1PARADIS1976?

Hardardóttir, Sigrún

A female singer-songwriter in the style of Joni Mitchell. Her album has recently changed hands for almost 400 Euro. A fantastic price for a mediocre album with gospel influences, amateurish production and quasi-religious lyrics. I'll admit the album is very rare but you'll find plenty of better albums in the bargain bin. The 11 tracks lack originality, although the "shadow lady" has a reasonably good voice. She should not be confused with the far superior "magic lady", Mandy Morton.

1SHADOW LADY1976JUDAS JUD 003

Icecross

Their album has been legendary among collectors for years. It's a substantial Scandinavian heavy metal effort derived from Black Sabbath (20 years later this "black" approach resulted in black metal!). A good illustration is the ungodly "Jesus Freaks", with hilarious lyrics, such as the striking chorus line: "they believe in Jesus - we believe in us!". The usual Nordic melancholy is restricted to only one track, "A Sad Man's Story". All in all this is an album of overwhelming power with an underlying, uncomfortably penetrating coldness. The brilliant lead guitar player manages to steer away from the heavy rock cliches, particularly on "Solution" (where Einarson's discordant guitar visits King Crimson's frosty cousin). Obviously one for guitar lovers or those willing to delve into the more obscure history of heavy metal. Ásgeir Óskarsson later played in Eik and Ţursaflokkur.

1ICECROSS1972PRIVATE PRESS

BOOTLEG CD EXISTS ON TWILIGHT TONE (TT 026) RELEASED IN 1994.

AXEL EINARSSON SOLO:
A1ACTING LIKE A FOOL197?CBS

OMAR OSKARSSON SOLO:
B1MIDLE CLASS MAN1974A.A.

Jonas & Einar

A duo who played quiet folk-rock in a similar style to Jethro Tull's acoustic songs and the group Heron. Their album has shifted hands for incredible amounts recently, which is inexplicable as the musical content is rather ordinary pleasant but rather forgettable short songs.

1JÓNAS & EINAR1972EMI MOAK 26 (DK)

Lidid Eitt

A little known folk-rock group. Their album included a cover version of Dylan's "When The Ship Comes In" and they set Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Annabekke Lee" to music.

1TILL HVERS...?1975PARLOPHONE

Magnus & Johann

A duo playing quiet, Christian folk songs similar to Jonas & Einar and countless other folk duos of the era.

1MAGNUS & JOHANN1973SCORPION

Mánar

Mánar were one of the groups to follow the path of Trúbrot, but in my opinion Mánar's eponymous album surpassed any of the Trúbrot albums. On offer are 11 well-constructed songs covering a wide spectrum of Nordic feelings, offering a good share of powerful electric guitar as well as melancholic vocal retorts and confident Hammond organ. Some tracks are also closer to folk-rock with vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, and piano ("Litli Fuglinn"). These guys also mastered jazzy chord changes and knew how to add a novelty touch to each track. This is a classic album recommended to fans of Old Man & The Sea and Junipher Greene.

1MANAR1971STEINAR ?

Nattura

Owens, Sighvatsson and Garđarsson had previously all been members of Trúbrot. Their album was recorded in London in October 1972 and is extremely hard to locate nowadays! It's a flawless collection of progressive rock with a folky touch and delightful female vocals in English.

1MAGIC KEY1972PRIVATE PRESS

Óđmenn

The group recorded their monumental double album (which ranks along with Junipher Greene's Friendship and Burnin' Red Ivanhoe's M144) in Copenhagen with Ivar Rosenberg. The music sounds like an enthusiastic cross between Cream and The Beatles circa 1968, although with Nordic undertones. Although they normally used the standard vocals, electric guitars, bass and drums configuration, it's still refreshing. All tracks except one had Icelandic lyrics.

1ÓĐMENN (2LP)1970EMI MOCK 1016/17

RE-ISSUED ON CD BY SKIFAN (SCD-79) IN 1991.

JOHANN G. JOHANNSON SOLO:
A1MANNLIF1976SOLSPIL 003
A2HEILDARUTGAJA 70-791979SUN

A2 IS A 5LP BOX INCLUDING THE DOUBLE ÓDMENN ALBUM

Pelican

A post-Icecross band who played unimaginative rock of limited interest.

1UPPTEKNIR1974PRIVATE PRESS
2UTIL FLUGA1975PRIVATE PRESS

Rio Trijo

They recorded a folk album. The "Jónas" in question is the one who made an album with Einar.

1VID, GUNNI OCH JÓNAS1971PARLOPHONE 24

Spilverk Pjádanna

One of the Icelandic folk-rock groups. I have only heard their album Island, which is surprisingly good for 1979.

1SPILVERK PJÁDANNA1975EGG 10
2NORD AUSTURHLIDIN - SUD VESTURHLIDIN1976PRIVATE PRESS
3STURLA1977PRIVATE PRESS
4ISLAND1979STEINAR 007

MORE ALBUMS MIGHT EXIST!

Svanfridur

This group made one of the sensationally good Icelandic albums, perhaps the best of them all! Svanfridur played the archetypical (for 1972 that is!) mixture of heavy progressive rock ("What Now You People Standing By") and Nordic folk (the tide track). They wrote fabulous songs with vocal harmonies and inventive use of violin and Moog synthesizers.

1WHAT'S HIDDEN THERE?1972PRIVATE PRESS

RE-ISSUED ON CD BY BACKGROUND (HBG 123/8) IN 1995.

Ţorsaflokkur (Hinn Íslenzki Ţursaflokkur)

Those looking for something peculiar from the locality should look no further! Ţursaflokkur simply invented their own version of progressive rock based on Icelandic folk songs from past centuries. The first album is a masterpiece every collector should own, no matter what their personal preferences are. In common with Gryphon, Ţursaflokkur used the bassoon abundantly, often combined with electric guitars and piano. Their arrangements were always complex, often featuring elements of symphonic chamber rock in the vein of Gentle Giant (in English their name meant "The Icelandic Flock Of Giants"). The group obviously had a sense of rough Norse humour, often recreating the absurd moment when the vikings start to sing in Monty Python's legendary "Spam" sketch. The follow-up Ţursabit tuned down the abnormalities with a dash of Genesis thrown into the previous mixture. This is also a very worthwhile album. A Hlomleikum was an energetic live album which even flirted with punk rock!

1HINN ISLENZKI ŢURSAFLOKKUR1978STEINAR
2ŢURSABIT1979STEINAR
3A HLJOMLEIKUM1980PHONGRAM

Trúbrot

Trúbrot were born when members of Hljómar (Owens, Júliusson and Ţórđarson) and Flowers (Sighvatsson and Hákonarson) decided to form a 'super group' in 1969. Their first album appeared the same year - a collection of late sixties pop songs (male and female vocals) with orchestral arrangements (on some tracks) and a kind of Bacharach-like aura (due to the frequent use of jazz chords). They did Icelandic versions of José Feliciano's "Rain", Lennon-McCartney's "I'll Be Back" and Holland-Dozier-Holland's "My World Is Empty Without You". More ambitious is their pop version of an extract from Richard Wagner's opera "Tannhäuser" and their own tongue-in-cheek pop opera "Afgangar" (9:00). The album was recorded in Trident Studios, London. It was strongly influenced by British pop music. Perhaps the tracks with a hint of hippie folk with vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, flute and percussion are the most memorable. It is not a bad album within its field.

Undir Áhrifum (1970) was recorded in Denmark by a revamped version of Trúbrot. All the material was written by the group this time, but mostly with English lyrics. Among the 8 songs were some fantastic imitations of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ("In The Country" and "Everything's Allright"). Slightly more progressive tendencies were detectable on the great closing track "Stjörnuryk" (7.28).

...Lifun (1971) was their pop opera with interconnected tracks displaying influences from The Move, Led Zeppelin and Keith Emerson (but also still Beatles and CSN&Y). The album came in a hexagonal cover and was their most accomplished work, recorded with Gerry Boys in London.

Mandala (1972) was a simpler work and a return to basic, well-crafted pop songs.

1TRÚBROT1969STEINAR SPCMA 27
2UNDIR ÁHRIFUM1970PARLOPHONE MOAK 23 (DK)
3....LIFUN1971GEIMSTEINN GS 150
4MANDALA1972PRIVATE PRESS TR1 (DK)
??HRIF1974A.A.

1 RE-ISSUED ON CD IN 1992 BY STEINAR (SPCMA 27) WTH 6 BONUS TRACKS.
2 RE-ISSUED ON CD IN 1992 BY STEINAR (MOAKCD 23).
3 RE-ISSUED ON CD IN 1991 BY GElMSTEINN (GS150).

Various Artists

.FOLK & POP1971EMI

FEATURING ASAR, MANAR, NYBIT AND SOLSKIN


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