Autumn Breeze: På Radio 1978
For many years Autumn Breeze has been a one-album group. That is no longer the case. The band has not reformed, but new material has been unearthed. Too often this means demos of already released material, or outtakes. “På Radio 1978” is actually something quite different. In 1978 the band did a live performance in a radio studio, and played nothing from their only studio album, “Höstbris.”
I look at this as the other Autumn Breeze album that could have been. There are some tracks that appear on the other new “Demo Tapes” release, but this is the set that easily could have made a proper studio release. That possibility is also discussed during the interview portion of the album. Unfortunately the recording studio and record company were already in financial trouble. Even though CBS was interested in Autumn Breeze, the band was worn out, so they broke up.
This may not be a “proper” recording, but it stands up very well. “På Radio” also has a much different feel than “Höstbris.” There is no doubt it’s the same band, but there is a heightened energy. Sure, this would be expected with a live performance. However, the material is also a big factor. On “Höstbris” the key was subtlety. Here it is passionate jamming. I am not using that term loosely. They actually adopted more of jam band aesthetic. It is the same instrumentation and blending of styles, but they definitely took the top down and swung it.
What also makes this album different from similar recordings is the structure. The tracks are laid out conceptually. “Overture” is just that. It is an overview of what is to come. The beginning is a bit abrupt, lacking an intro. It was probably cut this way as a lead in to the radio show. The next track is the interview, followed by a tight flow of musical tracks, and ending with the spoken “Epilog.”
The music is catchy, compelling, at times spacey, and often flat out rocks. There is less progginess than on “Höstbris,” but it is not missed. Whether it’s was a jangly jam, as on “Evil Light,” or a slow blues/jazz workout, as on “Ta Mig Med,” the band was right on point. The sweet spot was found, and all the music comes right from that moment.
Since the interview is in Swedish, I asked Jan Warnqvist for a little help. Most of what was discussed can be found in the bio on the Autumn Breeze site, but he did clue me in a couple of the more interesting items. The band was adamant about expressing the vocals being one instrument amongst all the others. This is evident in Birgitta Nilsson’s tendency toward jazz styling. The best comment was concerning Swedish dance music and Punk (remember, this was the late 70’s). They said that those genres of music were worse than Swedish Class II beer, in which everything good was extracted. Ha!
Where it took another look for the aforementioned album to reveal its charms, “På Radio 1978” grabbed me right away. In many ways I prefer it. The artful essence of the studio work is very enjoyable, but this seems to be the band up close and personal, having a good time. Since Autumn Breeze never did get back in the studio, this is the second album. Unlike many “lost recording” offerings, it works as well as something that could have been released at that time. Definitely check this album out. It truly 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 – eyboards