Autumn Breeze: Höstbris
Back in 2007 I wrote a review of “Höstbris” for Progressive Archives. My primary motivation was the absence of any review at all for this album. My opinion wasn’t negative, but neither was it very complimentary. I also believe I was listing to a lot of very edgy material then, so something more subdued would have had a harder time capturing my interest. Odds are that I didn’t really give Autumn Breeze a fair assessment.
Not too long ago Jan Warnqvist got in touch with me, and asked if I was interested in reviewing Autumn Breeze music. Not having been too excited in the first place, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. However, there were two new packages of previously unreleased material (reviews to follow), and Jan was also nice enough to provide me with copies of everything. Because of this I gave Swedish progressive band Autumn Breeze another look, and I’m glad I did.
As I said in my original review, there is nothing groundbreaking about “Höstbris.” It is also not going to jump out and grab you right away. The charm is in how subtly unique the music is, and exactly what I let pass me by previously. This is definitely prog, but the grandeur is somewhat subdued and accessible. This may be the reason it is so easy to overlook what does make this so special. It is so relaxed that the odd blending of styles could be completely missed.
The band managed to fuse jangly guitars, new wave synths, and an almost disco funk groove in “Suite.” The title track has some Kraftwerk-esque keyboards mixed with more traditional symphonic prog sensibilities. “Finalen” has a strong folk feel. “Um Mani Pademe Hum” bears no resemblance to the Buddhist chant, but is more of a space rocker. “UPA” is funk a la prog. “Den Stora Visionen” has an appealing jazz foundation. Through it all there is ample use of flute, harpsichord sounds, fuzz guitar, acoustic guitar, and a hint of psychedelia.
Unfortunately I panned the vocals in my first review. Now I see Birgitta Nilsson’s style as adding to the overall charm. Her singing is actually more in line with the alternative styles of the time. Once again, understated, so you have to look for it. The almost off key wavering is just one more unique quality added to the mix.
With these kind of descriptions, it might seem as if this album is either very dense, or a jumbled mess. Neither of which is true. ” Höstbris” is mainly a very pleasant listening experience. The grooves are very easy to get into, and everything is done with a light touch. I especially enjoy it while driving. Check it out. This really is a lost gem.
Birgitta Nilsson – vocals
Gert Nilisson – guitar
Gert Magnusson – flute
Kenneth Halvarsson – bass, clarinette, saxophone
Lennart Olsson – drums, percussion
Jan-Anders Warnqvist – keyboards