TRAD, GRAS OCH STENAR 9 Titles
They are from Sweden, they are pioneers of DIY culture, they jammed with force and purpose for 40 minutes back when "legendary" SF groups or German krautrock bands were still struggling to get out of the upper single digits with dignity; they traveled with organic food they grew themselves, and cooked for everyone they played to; they made their own instruments, amplifiers, and PAs. And they are still going strong, touring the world including Europe, North America, Japan, and Russia.

The way this band works has always been incredibly simple: they show up, set up on some floor or field, start up the generators and instruments, then begin to collectively tune themselves into the sphere we now know as transcendental psychedelic rock music. After that first meditative or explosive (or both) and lengthy jam, they take off again, often influenced by ancient Swedish folk songs, yet leave the melody behind after a few verses and travel beyond time and space. It's a little like the life formulas of Ornette Coleman or The Velvet Underground -- you know the beginning and the end, but what exists between those two points is what makes life worth living: the magical improvised unknown.

The band grew seamlessly from two previous groups that pretty much consisted of the same personnel; first Persson Sound (Pärson Sound), then International Harvester. International Harvester/Harvester released two albums at the time, 1968-'69, whereas we who weren't there had to wait until the 2000s to hear Pärson Sound, when Subliminal Sounds published their previously unreleased recordings. A quick overview of the history of these groups:

It begins with Bo Anders Persson, who in '65 or so had been making electroacoustic music in academic settings, for a time, having the pleasure of being tutored by Terry Riley. Then Bo Anders also fell in love with rock and roll, via the Dylans and the Stones. He realized its communal, participatory potential. It was the beginning of the late 1960s after all -- the world could still be changed for the better and everyone could take part. "Community" and "Come Together" seemed like possible solutions, not just empty slogans. Bo Anders understood quickly that rock music was less elitist and more democratic than the avant-garde. But you could play rock music in a different way, right? So long as there's a steady eternal beat, anything should be possible.

Under the name Persson Sound, Bo Anders and cohorts created a few art-circuit musical "happenings," involving innovative tape-manipulation and drones, but over time, with the addition of bass (Torbjörn Abelli), and drums (Thomas Mera Gartz), something revolutionary happened. This was '66-'67, before "Dark Star" or "Sister Ray" existed, before Amon Düül, Can, Neu!, or Faust were ever heard from. Persson Sound created a new form of rock music. Persson Sound was not only first but also the best at this game.

Add more people to Persson Sound, plus the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations of the day, multiply by folk music, and you get International Harvester, whose two albums are classics in a multitude of genres. Within the two Harvester records lie several clues and hidden hints of what is to come when Träd, Gräs och Stenar is formed in 1969: stripped-down riffs, minus tape manipulation, and with the barest-boned drones, created not by oscillators, but by the most deadly musical combination known to our kind: guitars, bass, and drums.

TGS toured Scandinavia frequently, and played a part in organizing the first so-called Gärdet festivals that came to have an enormous influence on the alternative music movement in Sweden. They released four albums and became part of many other musical constellations. In 1972, after existing for only about three years -- a surprisingly short time considering the band's reputation and influence on contemporary and future music -- TGS took a long break from its general operation. Mostly because some of the members decided to move far from Stockholm and experiment with organic gardening, among other things.

It wasn't until the mid-1990s that the band got back to business again in full force with all the original band members, excluding only Arne Eriksson. They began touring further than ever before, to Europe, Russia, the USA, and Japan, where they found wildly appreciative audiences. Then Bo Anders Persson retired to his house in the countryside and the band gained a new member, the guitarist Reine Fiske (Dungen, The Amazing). In 2010, Torbjörn Abelli unexpectedly passed away in the aftermath of a borrelia infection. Sigge Krantz joined the band and took over on bass, but just when TGS were getting up to speed again after the loss of Abelli, Thomas Mera Gartz passed away very suddenly from an unusual streptococcal infection in the spring of 2012.

A crippling time followed. The band felt haunted by evil forces, which painted life in depressing colors. But slowly a hope was born that despite everything it was possible to continue to make music. There is a strong and vibrant musical and human spirit in TGS, driving them to continue to manage in their own way. Trees, Grass and Stones still make their own timeless music with roots in the soil and branches stretching high into the clear air.

Eight years after their last record, 2009's Hemlösa Katter (Homeless Cats), we get the new album: Tack för Kaffet (Thanks for the Coffee). It has been growing at its own pace over many years and forms something of a farewell show for the old Träd, Gräs och Stenar, with all the old and new members -- Bo Anders Persson, Torbjörn Abelli, Thomas Mera Gartz, Jakob Sjöholm, Sigge Krantz, and Reine Fiske -- playing and contributing. The sounds were captured on tape in their music workshop out in in the countryside, and consist of the band's hallmark mind-melting free improvisations. Perhaps there's a form of melancholy over some of the album, reflecting the painful and sudden losses of Abelli and Gartz, but Tack för Kaffet is also colored by a light, crazy mood. Everything was recorded live, so there is no embellishment or touching up, just as life can be when the feeling has control. A manifestation of improvised, timelessly organic music and free creation. Real life!
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
2LP
SUBL 118LP
$28.50 IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
CD
SUBL 119CD
$11.50 IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
2LP
SUBL 075LP
$29.00 IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
CD
G 2009CD
$17.00 IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
2LP
SUBL 032LP
$27.50 IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
DVD
G 2007DVD
$25.50 IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
CD
SRSCD 4758CD
$14.50 IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
CD
SRSCD 3602CD
$14.50 NOT IN STOCK
Artist
Title
Format
Label
Catalog #
CD
TIL 001CD
$15.00 IN STOCK