Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bo Hansson: Lord of the Rings

Bo Hansson - Lord of the Rings

Sophie B. sent us this. The first and best-known of four instrumental albums recorded by the Swede Bo Hannson in the 1970's. Given her line of work, when listening to this evocative, spaced organ-driven prog record, we can't help but imagine not the raging hordes of Middle Earth armies or the picaresque tales of a friendly midget, as one might easily associate with such an album, but instead a visual accompaniment consisting of a long thin white path upon which equally long, thin and white feminine figures are striding in smart, classic outfits.

Bo Knows: Guitar
Hansson garnered recognition in the sixities as part of a duo, Hansson & Karlsson, who released three instrumental albums, eventually attracting American guitarist Jimi Hendrix, who recorded a cover of their composition, 'Tax Free'.

Bo Knows
: Trippy psych records inspired by classic works of fantastic literature
Lord of the Rings (Sagan Om Ringen) was recorded on an island off of Stockholm, on a borrowed 8-track recorder, the only one in Sweden at the time, in friend's summer home.

Bo Knows:
The Hammond Organ {El Orgel Hammondo}

The hammond organ, the real star of Hansson's record, was designed to imitate the function of a pipe organ's ranks of pipes in multiple registers by using additive synthesis of waveforms from harmonic series. Various functions of the Hammond derive from different harmonic combinations. For example, there is a button that says percussion, but this doesn't produce a drum sound. Instead, it refers to combination of second and third harmonic overtones, which produces a kind of jagged, distant, percussive tonal quality.

Here are two images of the Teleharmonium, a late 19th-century precursor of the Hammond from which the latter adopted its electro-mechanical tonewheel and likewise its principle of additive synthesis.

For more, time can be spent with this BBC documentary clip on the Hammond, in honor of its 70th birthday in 2006.

Stay tuned for next week for more on additive/subtractive synthesis and the harmonic series, featuring notes from Tony Conrad's recent lectures.

Today's entry is sponsored by O'nieals on the corner of Grand and Baxter in Lower Manhattan. O'nieals: home of the weekly saturday night Rowdy Cougar Meltdown (we ride for Cougar anthem 2007: Hips Don't Lie by Shakira)

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