Lars Hollmer

Autokomp A(nd) More

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The 30-minute mini-CD Autokomp A(nd) More is rather like a brief tour of Lars Hollmer's Chickenhouse studio, with the Swedish composer/keyboardist providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of some secret ingredients used in music that showed up in "final" (or at least "evolved") form on subsequent discs, along with a few choice concoctions that never exited the kitchen at all. Listeners are treated to early versions of the steady-rocking and somewhat ominous "Spanska Trappan" (later on Vendeltid), the jaunty and insistent "Quickstep" (which later appeared in expanded form on Door Floor Something Window), and the dramatic chord progression and orchestral buildup on "Arp. Violin" (which had appeared in this form on the out of print In Poly Sons compilation Hardis Brut and would soon be heard in a full-band version on 2002's SOLA CD). Everything is multi-tracked by Lars, except for a vocal contribution from his ten-year-old son, Gabriel. The tracks jump around chronologically from 1982 to 1998, and Hollmer is unafraid of embracing the childlike ("Lyssna På Min Porta" is performed on a tiny Casio-type keyboard with an accelerating automated rhythm and Gabriel joining the fun) or the type of analog synthesizer tones that would subsequently fall out of favor with hipsters of the digital age ("Spanska Trappan" could have been a product of Kit Watkins circa Labyrinth, when Watkins was first stepping out as a solo artist and before he moved more emphatically into new age sounds). Of course, anything and everything within reach or earshot can contribute to Hollmer's sound palette, and so the Drumulator, Prophet bass, and electric keyboards are supplemented by accordion, melodica, harmonium, backwards tape, and a sampled chair, door, and hair comb. And the quirky instrumentation is in service to a diversity of fine music, such as the quintessentially Hollmer-esque upbeat folk-prog of "Småttombråttom"; "Elison," a Middle Eastern-flavored drone with abrupt heavy prog interjections; "Med. Pi. Get.," a dreamy and understated keyboard vignette; and the aforementioned compositions that would be revisited on classic Hollmer discs of the '80s, '90s, and 2000s (not to mention the occasional "violent keyboard improv" and something "just stupid in between" in order to keep things suitably off-center). Autokomp A(nd) More is obviously not a crucial Lars Hollmer release, but remains an entertaining gift for fans and a revealing look at Chickenhouse goings-on.

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