I can’t deny that this week has been devastatingly sad for those of who knew and loved Tim Smith’s music. The composer / songwriter / leader singer of Cardiacs was not only a huge inspiration to me and many others, but some of the biggest names in rock music too. He was largely ignored by the mainstream music press, but loved by everyone who came across him. He jumped on a comet and headed off to the Starry Skies this week aged 59, and we will never forget him.
Reading all the amazing tributes this week has left me somewhat of an emotional wreck, but it’s been the biggest privilege too, and the one thing I know for certain is that his music will always live on, and that those influenced by him will continue to shout his name from the rooftops. Noisy Swedish instrumental outfit Gösta Berlings Saga are one of those bands, and they released a new album today entitled Konkret Music,
My mind is already a little frazzled by all of this week, so to try to write about such a complex band and album is going to be somewhat impossible. I’ll keep it simple.
This is their 6th album and they’ve been around for the best (and worst) part of 2 decades, with their first album released in 2006 and a couple of live albums along the way. They’ve received recognition too in the form of being nominated for Swedish Rock / Metal album of the year, back in 2009 for "Detta Har Hänt’.
Konkret Music, as expected, is entirely instrumental and a glorious fusion of textures, sounds and ideas. Opening track ‘Släpad’ sets the tone, it’s pretty dark I guess, and it immediately spirals me off somewhere into space, with frazzled guitars briefly intervening. Vinsta Guldlocka is probably my favourite track, with fragments of tunes that blossom and peak through the array of instrumentals. ‘Close to Home’ is reflective and atmospheric, whilst title track Konkret Music is a thumping mix of complex tunes and rhythms - folk music perhaps for space aliens. I’m particularly drawn to the angular and then swirling ‘The Pugilist’, whilst ‘A Fucking Good Man’ kind of reminds me too much of one particularly ‘Fucking Good Man’ we’ve lost this week.
So, are they a progressive, cyberpunk, noise rock, synthwave, metal, post rock or psych band? The answer is definitely Yes. And who cares, because as Tim would say, it’s ‘‘just tunes innit’’. And whilst I guess it’s not for me to speculate, I’m pretty sure he’d have loved Konkret Music. I certainly do.
Nordic Music Review 8/10.
Find them on Instagram or Facebook, where they've written some lovely words themselves about Tim, as they were huge fans and travelled over to the UK to see Cardiacs at the Astoria in 2007. Tim had also messaged them to say that in particular he liked their 2011 released track Island, which you can find here. Traveling across land and sea to see Cardiacs is definitely worthy of 'laudation', and we're really glad you made it.