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A1 - Fyrkantig böjelse (11:23)
A2 - Öppen för stängda dörrar (8:03)
B1 - Män med medel (10:10)
B2 - Eftertankens blanka krankhet (11:24)
Kungens Män from Stockholm, Sweden has been around as a musical unit since 2012. The roots as friends go way back though. Noises, impulses, fuck ups and improvised jams have been recorded since day one and some of them have been put out on record. This is the first one on Riot Season Records.
While the previous album Fuzz på svenska on the German label Adansonia Records was somewhat jazzy and pretty introverted, this new one CHEF is more rock and to the point, but still in the exploring, heady way typical of Kungens Män. Oh, CHEF doesn’t have anything to do with cooking - it means boss or chief in Swedish.
The inspiration comes from the drone, the rattle of the loose screw, the circuit failure of the effects, the phatness of the moog and from the very diverse wiring of a bunch of middle aged Swedish freaks. Kungens Män never plan the next musical move - it presents itself. Sometimes the costume sewn is really ugly, but somehow there’s always room for the sublime as you turn it inside out.
CHEF is the most effective Kungens Män album yet. Four pieces, one LP. Four different moods, the Kungens Män sound distilled. Dive in, walk around, start over again. It never stops.
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You never quite know what to expect with Kungens Män, which makes each album release something of an event for fans. Purveyors of some of the best psych available on this fair world, they never stand still long enough for boredom to catch up with them. Progressively searching for different ways to present their music, they often explore multiple avenues on the same album.
After the excellent Fuzz Pa Svenska, which was firmly rooted in free-form jazz excursions, it’s a somewhat down to earth approach taken with new album Chef. That’s not to say there is anything straightforward about it though, and what we do get over the course of four tracks is some rather excellent deep space rock mixed with dubby explorations.
‘Fyrkantig böjelse’ opens proceedings in a suitably metronomic way, ushering in an exemplary definition of how krautrock should be played out. It takes all the classic tropes and redefines it in only the way that Kungens Män know how. Full of ominous synths, searching guitars, and the funky rhythm, it pulls you forward on its path whilst keeping all options open as to where it is going to end.
Second track ‘Öppen för stängda dörrar” is a much dubbier affair which explores the space between the music. A slow beat unfurls over a continuous guitar but it’s the bursts of spaced out synth noises which offer something much more alien. Offering no kind of structure whatsoever, its pure weirdness pulls you in and keeps you interested. As it reaches its climax, it almost feels like the air around you is going to explode, such is the presence of the music.
If ‘Öppen för stängda dörrar’ doesn’t quite explode, you may well be checking your surroundings after ‘Män med medeln’, which positively tears a new hole in the time/space continuum. Charging out of the pits, it doesn’t let up for 9 minutes of pure unadulterated riffs. Of course, being Kungens Män, there is a high degree of intelligence about this, and every moment is perfectly placed for maximum effect. It’s a scorching reminder of how good the band are, when they fire on all cylinders.
Finally ‘Eftertankens blanka krankhet’ is a considered move into hypnotic territory, as it slowly caresses your mind with its repeated motif. Over the top, the instruments vie for attention, but never in an obtrusive, and as the track progresses, they create a colourful accompaniment over the hypnotising thread.
Once again Kungens Män have delivered an album which is satisfying on so many levels. From pure psychedelic freak out, to exploratory ramblings, and all imbued with a sense of communal priority to create together a work of immense intelligence, Chef is an album which begs for continued listens and deep immersion. That it is so accessible too, makes that genius shine through even more so. Superb
ECHOES AND DUST
Kungens Män hail from Stockholm, Sweden and have been around as a musical unit since 2012 so the press release tells me, which is a very good thing as I had never heard of them before.
This to be honest is not the type of music I normally sit at home and devour but this is in fact very good indeed. An LP of four long improvised instrumental tracks, the first track ‘Fyrkantig Böjelse’ is a fine eleven minute piece of sonic jazz rock – imagine late 60’s Santana, The Velvets and Sonic Youth jamming over the drum beat of Jaki Liebezeit from Can: and yes it is as good as it sounds.
The second track ‘Öppen För Stängda Dörrar’ at just over the eight minute mark, being the shortest track on the LP, takes us on a gentler ride. More synth dominated, I can imagine it being used in one of those wonderful
80’s horror movies, as it has a John Carpenter feel to it, and again is a quite stunning piece of music. ‘Män Med Medel’ follows this; a ten-minute plus track of fuzzed up psych rock, the kind of track you can imagine
soundtracking Julian Cope dressed in leather simulating having sex with the floor to. The final track ‘Eftertanke Blanka Krankheit’ takes us back to the underground, the Velvet Underground, and could well be my favourite of the four; the three guitars intertwine beautifully as the bass and drums keep a hypnotic slow groove of a beat.
All Hawkwind fans need hear this, or even better, own it. So fantastic in fact that if I grew wings and could fly I would have this track playing on my mp3 player as I dive-bombed the less worthy below.
This really is a hell of an album and I would recommend it to all space rock aficionados.
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