Lars Hollmer / Lars Hollmer's Looping Home Orchestra

Vendeltid

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On 1987's Vendeltid, Lars Hollmer emerges as a true bandleader, helming the Looping Home Orchestra quintet with its varied instrumentation including accordion, keyboards, bassoon, saxophone, flute, bass, drums, and glockenspiel. Here, the sonics take on the flavor of a Rock in Opposition band, particularly given the prominence of Sven Aarflot's bassoon, recalling Michel Berckmans' work with Von Zamla and Univers Zero, and perhaps Lindsay Cooper with Henry Cow. However, Hollmer is more willing to engage the listener with an accessibility missing from the Lovecraftian hell pit of UZ and the musical/political avant-gardisms of HC. If Sweden had an autobahn, "Spanska Trappan," with its steady rhythmic pound and power chords (and rock & roll bassoon!), would be a perfect soundtrack for downshifting and accelerating past those with more conventional '80s fare on their car tape decks, while "Utflykst Med Dameykel" maintains high energy and momentum but ups the creative ante with its polyrhythms, tight multi-layered arrangement, and compositional sense that knits everything seamlessly together. Flutes and bells dominate the jaunty neo-classical "Eyeliner," and "Through Glass" is both beautiful and eerie, with sustained keyboards, an unsettling theme, and a solitary bassoon seemingly providing a glimpse into an otherworldly realm. Other highlights include "Vendeltid" and "Misery," presenting moments of understatement and drama, balancing light and darkness, and standing as two of Hollmer's finest compositions of the decade. [Several selections from Vendeltid were later included in the 1993 single-CD Hollmer comp entitled Lars Hollmer 80-88 (later re-released as The Siberian Circus), and in 1998 Resource Records included the entire album in the very worthwhile two-CD set Tonöga/Från Natt Idag/Vendeltid, which included bonus tracks.]

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