Gösta Berlings Saga – Glue Works

Named after a famous 19th century Swedish novel, the story of a defrocked church minister with added sword and sorcery, this band has a lineage that one can trace back through Anekdoten, the recently reformed Änglagård, and older influences such as Hansson & Karlsson, the ubiquitous King Crimson, and Van Der Graaf Generator. In fact Änglagård’s Mattias Olsson is involved here on production duties and contributes “additional hidden and lost sounds”.

Any entirely instrumental band has to be able to keep the listener’s attention with many intricate twists and turns, or go the other way and create a trance-like ambience. Gösta Berlings Saga, not unsurprisingly given their influences, go for the former approach, and highly successful it is too. I’ve listened to this album quite a few times before attacking the keyboard, and each time I hear something I missed previously.

The first thing I notice is a powerful organic sound propelled by Gabriel’s bass and Alexander’s driving back beat on the opening piece, the cryptically named 354. The tune marches along, embellished by some nice piano flourishes from David before becoming darker and pulling you round in a very fast orbit. There’s even a musical saw interlude before the crunching finale. An impressive start.

Instrumental bands can call their songs anything they like, and there are some great titles here. Icosahedron is “..a regular polyhedron with 20 identical equilateral triangular faces, 30 edges and 12 vertices” – and who am I to argue! Gliese 581g is a planet orbiting Gliese 581 in the constellation of Libra, and is reckoned to be an Earth-like planet with a good chance of supporting life. Where do they find these titles?!

Icosahedron with Einar’s crashing chords puts me in mind of one of the instrumental passages from The Strangler’s Meninblack album, but with added cojones. More musical saw and waltzing cello gives a chamber music feel to Island, the first longer piece on the album. The theme is taken over by bass and drum, you can feel the build up. The spirit of Änglagård is very much in evidence on this great piece of stomping waltz music from another galaxy.

Geosignal has a glam rock beat overlaid with some trumpet and more crashing Stranglers-like chords. A surprising but fun deviation.

Soterargarten 1 reprises a title from the last album, where it was listed as Soterargarten 3, and the band’s myspace site has Soterargarten 2 for streaming. It’s all a bit confusing! Anyway, after a mournful trumpet intro a huge marching bass/drums riff establishes a theme, and it lurches along like Iron Man in a rage. Then it stops, and a quiet reflective piano led section later joined by trumpet and cello builds to a gentle climax, lulling the listener after the carnage that has gone before. Wonderful stuff. You’ll have buy the thing to find out more!

I don’t usually go for track by track descriptions (ok, I haven’t described every song here, but five out of seven is good going for me!) , as personally I find reviews that give an overall impression far more helpful, but this has sucked me in, in a good way I hasten add, but I’ll stop now, having hopefully teased you just enough to investigate further.

Track listing:

1. 354 (5:54)

2. Icosahedron (3:12)

3. Island (12:58)

4. Gliese 581g (5:53)

5. Waves (2:55)

6. Geosignal (2:22)

7. Soterargartan 1 (12:51)


* Einar Baldursson – guitars

* David Lundberg – keyboards

* Alexander Skepp – drums and percussion

* Gabriel Hermansson – bass

Additional musicians:

* Mattias Olsson – additional hidden and lost sounds

* Fredrik Carlzon – French horn, trumpet

* Cecilia Linne – cello

* Leo Svensson – musical saw

* Ulf Akerstedt – bass tuba, bass trumpet, contrabass trumpet, bass harmonica


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