LP with 4 page insert
Numbered edition of 500
Cover taken from the original LP
LARS-GUNNAR BODIN - Den heter ingenting, den heter nog 'seans II' (15:57) mp3
LARS-GUNNAR BODIN - Cadenza III (6:55)
BENGT EMIL JOHNSON - Slapkoppel; äventyr på vägen (13:54) mp3
JOHNSON/BODIN - Vietnam (7:26) mp3
total time 44:12
Originally created as a 6 part radio series in 1965, and released in 1966 by Sveriges Radio. This is the first LP recording by either of these composers. Recorded at EMS (Elektron Musik Studion), the newly established studio facility at Swedish Radio. This pioneering work did not easily fit in any category that existed at the time. Inspired by the work of Öyvind Fahlström (who was a pioneer of concrete poetry along with the Lettrists and Futurists), a few young Swedish artists began exploring new text based experiments. The only other artist releasing records of similar soundworks at this early time in Sweden was Åke Hodell who had released two 7” singles.
These Swedish sound poets differ in style from their other European counterparts mainly due to their easy access to the high quality facilities available at EMS, with its own in house engineers and sophisticated studio equipment. Given the close relationship at that time between EMS and the national Swedish radio station, their works often have a strong narrative (radio art) quality. Semikolon is one such work.
By 1967, Bodin and Johnson had together finally agreed upon a term for this particular style of sound poetry; text-sound composition. This term was then taken up by other Swedish artists working in the same field including Hodell and Sten Hanson, and soon became internationally recognised. The following year Bodin and Johnson in association with Fylkingen inaugurated the first annual festival of text-sound composition. This international festival, and the commissions it gave rise to, became a major part of the work at Fylkingen and EMS. The festival ran for 10 years. 7 LPs from the early years were released by Sveriges Radio and more recently Fylkingen have compiled the series as a 5CD set.
Naturally, both artists were included in the festivals, but they also created a large body of work which appeared on many of the essential anthologies of European sound poetry at the time, including the OU Revue and Klankteksten (released by the Stedelijk Museum in 1970 to accompany their exhibition of concrete poetry), as well as other international compilations. Both artists have also worked in the area of pure electro-acoustic composition, and these works are also mostly available on compilations.
This record though, is a collaboration rather than a compilation and retains a timeless contemporary feel that is shared with other radio art projects like the Hörspiel Heute series released by Luchterhand in the 70s. This new vinyl edition of the original LP adds an extra 7 minute composition by Bodin, also taken from the original Semikolon radio series.
Originally a six-part 1965 radio broadcast commissioned by Swedish Radio, then issued in an edited form in 1966, few will have ever come across or heard this rarity before. Brought back to life by Paradigm in an extended form, this fine vinyl pressing (with hip insert) offers listeners an excursion deep into the Swedish avant-garde; a meeting of language, musique concrete and technical improvisation.
The artists approached the broadcasts using only material and tools that were at the station (such as SFX, noise, tape machines, mics, themselves), so unpredictability and familiarity meet in a surprising fashion. Patience is required to absorb and stay with these occasionally abrasive recordings, but this is rewarded by a series of cohesive clashes in sound that shouldn’t really work – but do. Some of the sonic juxtapositions are quite magical, proving that a restricted musical palette is often the mother of audio gold. Jonny Trunk
The wise ones among you may recognize Bodin from his superb Clouds LP and Johnson from his excellent contribution to the God-like OU boxset. Here they are together for a series of compositions done for Swedish radio in 1966. From the OU connection, one may expect Sound Poetry, and while there is a lot of male and female reading in Swedish and some of it is highly modified with effects, Semikolan seems much more a record of Modernist composition. The thing that really strikes me about these pieces is that although there is certainly a critique and Negative aspect to the music, it also displays that exciting and curious optimism that a lot of Modernist music had in the 50s and 60s. Composers still had an idea that their compositions, no matter how bizarre, could have a positive effect on public discourse. This idea is completely dead these days, but I still like to think it is possible. Look where it has gotten me! At any rate, I can not imagine anyone not loving this LP. The possibility of actual freedom was not lost on these two. Hats off and glasses up to Clive Graham for this great reissue. My life is honestly better with this in the house. Scott Foust
Whispery zippers, dripping water, quiet voices, gun patter, thunderstorms, & crickets aired on Swedish radio in the mid 60s. Bodin was interested in programatically increasing awareness of avant garde music in Sweden, and ran the amazing Fylkingen group from 1969-72, plus the Stockholm Electronic Music Studio during the 80s. Bengt Emil Johnson was crossing over from printed poetry at the time of this record, but had started to present it on radio & easily met Bodin halfway. Quiet as a soft sweater, with lots of text, and though there are abrupt cuts everywhere, the people talking over each other, machines whirring, little tin cups rattling, & so on always feel cozy & friendly.