Sunday, October 24, 2004
Grisen Skriker's EP
Silence Records, 1979
Looks are deceiving and when I received this (via mail order) based on hearing a decent cut from this band on a compilation I was taken aback by the cover photo and thought that the tune I heard ("Dansa" on World Class Punk) was done by someone else. It segued a drooly Barry White-style intro into a spitting '77 style rant. It was pretty unlikely there would be two groups named Grisen Skriker, though, since the name translates into "the pig is screaming" and it was unlikely this was a common phrase even in the hinterlands of Sweden.
So, I liked about three songs from the EP with the two more punk/noise songs on the second side (the "black side") getting the most play. "Sextisfem", which appears on another compilation and a live version can be heard on the band's online jukebox (link below), is an LA-style cross between The Descendents and Fear but without alot of the self-conscious silliness of the former and the faux-hell-bent leather posing of the latter. It also features a kazoo. "Tenk Om" (and I'm writing these titles without all the umlauts) moves a Johnny Rotten style singing with a rough sounding Sisters of Mercy bass line and faux-Lugosi choruses. I liked the gritty guitar riff that opens up the piece and then lightens up once the song is revealed as being a bit tongue in cheek.
After so many years, though its this song called "Moglig Svamp" (second song on the first side) that I now like the best. Starting with a very soft guitar riff and then building in an acoustic strum and bass line. Then some clipped tinny vocals and a soothing "ahhhh" breaks into the chorus of a screechy guitar, some weird deep vocal counterpoint. The calm riff returns. After a little bit of almost Garcia-ish guitar noodling that goes back and forth the song gets very quiet again and returns to the "verse" via a lengthy bridge that builds up the tension. I would have downmixed the guitar a little bit in this second verse but it still works. And we're back into the spooky verse. hmmm... what's that doing on a "punk" record? Well, in any case it worked then and its even better sounding now. It also makes a nice addition to any Halloween mix CD.
And just for the record, I have no idea what they are singing about as I can't understand Swedish. However, it doesn't really seem to matter. The vocals become an instrument in themselves (especially in Moglig Svamp) and the song sets a mood instead.
One digitalization note: On the quiet parts of Svamp, I tried to reduce the hum but it sounded too artificial so I left it in - hope you all can live with that.
"Moglig Svamp" - Grisen Skriker (4.6 Mb, 132 kbps VBR)
"Tank Om" - Grisen Skriker (4.6 Mb, 192 kbps)
Silence Records is Grisen Skriker's label. An independent label formed by two hippies in 1970 to showcase Bo Hanson's prog-rock stylings, it seeks out the best of Swedish independent music from punk to rap to dub. Well worth a browse through their website although most of their samples are either online jukeboxes (requires RealPlayer, alas) or RealMedia files. It's hard to tell from the website whether this record is still available. It's listed in their catalog but apparently they don't sell on-line or through mailorder. In any case, I did an exhaustive search through the major vendors and couldn't find hide nor hair of them.
Fun fact: This EP was the first one recorded in Silence's commune-in-the-woods studio. The band even donned workboots and hardhats and helped build it.
Grisen Striker's website uses pictures from this first EP. It's entirely in Swedish and requires a "Flash" player but if you click on the Folkmusik link, it brings up an online jukebox that features a cut from a live performance. You have to click the little curlie-cue on the right to see the songs list. "Dansa" and "Sextisfem" are recommended listens. The band appears to still play together - you can see the inevitable effects of age by clicking on the "bilder" link to see pictures.