Anekdoten is a Swedish progressive rock band with a long history. For those in the United States, though, they might be a bit of a mystery. Frankly, I thought they were strictly a modern prog outfit – so imagine my surprise to find out they’ve been around a long time. The truth is, these guys are good – and closer to old school space rock than to neo-prog, but they have a tendency to get a bit “samey.” Still, the music is quite enjoyable and there’s isn’t any metal in the mix to scare away the prog purists. This is a two disc compilation and would make a fine introduction to the band’s music.
Track by Track Review
Ricochet The opening on this reminds me a bit of Hall of the Mountain Grill era Hawkwind or Oresund Space Collective. They drop it back to a verse section that has bits of 1980’s pop rock along with something like Psychedelic Furs. As they carry on they soar back up into space rock territory. The keyboard solo section reminds me a lot of The Doors.
Great Unknown This one begins more hard rocking, but shifts out to more spacey prog rock as they continue. It’s a strong tune that’s more purely prog rock than the opening number was. There’s definite psychedelia woven into this mix, too. It gets pretty powerful as it carries on. They turn it towards more hard rocking territory at times, too as the guitar and keys seems to debate on which should be dominant.
From Within They alternate here between a hard rocking segment that’s more modern sounding and some mellower music that is similar to the stuff we heard in the previous one. This is almost like combining Hawkwind with Dream Theater and seeing what you get. It’s quite a cool piece of music.
In For a Ride Here we have a killer hard edged space rock number that has some Hawkwind and other elements in the matrix that makes up its sound. I like this one a lot. I can even make out some Yes on this.
War Is Over The music that starts this reminds me of the acoustic guitar driven ballads from Emerson, Lake and Palmer. As they work this to the song proper, the space rock, psychedelia we’ve heard in previous cuts is back, but tinged with folk music. This is intimately connected to the other music, but yet it’s also forging some new stylistic ground. It’s a standout track and I really am rather enamored with it. The closing instrumental segment has some seriously intricate acoustic guitar work.
Monolith This reminds me of a more progressive rock oriented take on the psychedelic side of Cream. It’s a cool tune, and perhaps more closely attuned to the earlier sections of the set. I can really hear Jack Bruce on the vocals here. This becomes quite a hard rocking and energetic space rock based extravaganza later.
Sky About to Rain While continuing a lot of the musical themes we’ve heard to this point, this is a harder rocking number and perhaps falls both closer to Hawkwind (especially early Hawkwind) and yet pure old school prog, too. This segues straight into the next number.
Every Step I Take Coming out of the crescendo that ended the last piece, this instrumental drops back to a ballad-like format for a time and then is brought back up into inspiring and powerful space rock motifs as they carry forward.
Groundbound There’s a bit more of a modern sound to this and at times it feels like bands like Radiohead. This has some lush and quite tasty keyboard work, but also some rather cacophonous segments. It’s a strong cut and a bit of a change from a formula that’s beginning to get a little old. We get some killer noisy guitar on this.
Gravity This starts moody and a bit like Porcupine Tree. As it grows it shifts out into more typical space rock for a while. I can hear Hawkwind at times on this, but then again, Radiohead also makes an appearance or two. This is sort of one part modern progressive rock, one part space rock and one part jam band music.
When I Turn Pretty and lush, this is a keyboard dominated track. It’s fairly sedate and slow moving.
Sad Rain A powerful progressive rock arrangement serves as the introduction here. This grows for a while, but then they drop it way down to a stripped back balladic motif to carry. This grows for a while and they bring it up with a motif that at first reminds me of early King Crimson. Then it moves out to more melodic space rock textures. They drop it way back down after a time and then work it back up in a folk prog fashion. Much of this reminds me of something from King Crimson’s debut disc. At over ten minutes in length, this is the most lengthy composition so far. It’s also the most dynamic and diverse and a true highlight of the set, working through a number of interesting changes. It manages to surprise at times, but never fails to entertain and thrill.
Wheel This starts off much harder edged, but again I’m reminded of King Crimson. There’s also a definite jazz air to this. They take us out into psychedelia later, but then bring us into an almost RIO-like section and then more Crimson-like elements ensue, this becoming a bit dissonant and also taking us into Red territory. From there it turns jazzy. This modulates to more Crimson oriented sounds, but then shifts out to weirdness. We a few more variants before they close it out.
Old Man & The Sea Starting in Crimsoid fury they shift this out towards more melodic music later and begin another intriguing musical journey from there. We get another Crimson-like section later that begins with a fiery, off-kilter guitar solo. They work through a number of alterations on this segment and it eventually takes us to a reprise of the earlier modes for the next vocal movement.
Nueleus (demo) Starting with some serious Crimsonian raging, this shifts eventually to mellower motifs for the vocals. After a while this is powered back out and they take us through a series of changes and alterations. This gets quite chaotic and noisy at times and it’s amazing that, despite all the changes and craziness, this piece weighs in at less than six minutes in length.
Book of Hours Starting on percussion and then building gradually up with psychedelic weirdness, this is quite cool and a bit of a change. It grows quite organically for a time until it bursts out into Crimsonian weirdness and then the line of changes remind me of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. From there, though, they drop it down for a folky, psychedelic like vocal journey. We are taken back out into the psychotic chaotic sounds later, though. There’s one more vocal segment before they are done with us.
This Far from the Sky This song resembles the previous one in terms of general layout. Crimsonian fury is interpolated with mellow vocal sections. Mind you, neither sound is precisely the same as the earlier cut, but the overall pattern is the same. There’s a cool swirling section later in the track that I like a lot. There’s some serious Red era Crimson-like material at points here, too.
30 Pieces A bouncy sort of modern prog sound makes this up. I love the lush keyboard sounds we get on some of the sections. There’s a segment later in the cut that reminds me of modern Rush. Still further down the road there’s a pretty jam that ends abruptly to give a new rather balladic motif to end it.
Prince of the Ocean Slow moving and slowly evolving, this is a pretty, albeit dark piece of music. It’s got a lot of Porcupine Tree in its sound.