Agusa Premiere “Bortom Hemom” from New Self-Titled LP

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Swedish progressive rockers Agusa will release their third self-titled album on Oct. 27 via The Laser’s Edge. What might informally be called Tre or Agusa Tre follows two years behind the preceding Agusa Två (review here) and brings five new tracks highlighting the pastoralism that the Malmö-based five-piece bring to their work. Without being overly lush or coated in effects, or losing themselves in indulgent attitudes, Agusa‘s instrumental compositions bask in a folkish traditionalism that nonetheless is all the more a standout for its complexity. Arrangements of guitar from Mikael Ödesjö, play out in consideration of the organ work of Jonas Barge (since replaced by Jeppe Juul) and Jenny Puertas‘ flute, while the inventive basslines of Tobias Petterson and drums/percussion — there’s plenty of both — from Tim Wallander course alongside with resonant nuance and groove. At least when the rhythm section isn’t actually driving the charge, that is. Much of the time on cuts like centerpiece “Den Fortrollade Skogen” (“the fortified forest”) and “Sagor Fran Saaris,” that’s exactly how it plays out.

Either way they go at any given moment, it only makes Agusa Tre — again, an informal title at least so far as I know; I’m just using it so no one thinks I’m talking about a different self-titled — all the more dynamic. Even as they head toward a cosmos on “Sagor från Saaris” (“stories from Saari”) that seems so distant from the ground they started on with opener “Landet Längesen” (“country lands,” appropriately enough), the rolling hillsides of which shine green and bright under a huge, yellow and full northern sun. The build in that leadoff and longest inclusion (immediate points for that) resonates no less than the song’s vocal-less hook, the whole band uniting around a gently flowing roll — the river, if we want to keep to the image already set — and moving gracefully into “Sorgenfri,” which takes its name from a neighborhood in Malmö.

Why does that matter? It matters because with Ödesjö‘s strumming guitar line and the bouncing flute from PuertasAgusa evoke a sense of place without the need agusa agusa trefor their audience to ever have actually been there. Barge‘s organ moves into a forward role in the second half of the five-minute cut, topping a subtle shuffle that finds Wallander washing out his cymbals even as he drives a straight-ahead charge that somehow still manages to swing. The turns are so tight that it’s almost a shame when “Sorgenfri” is over, or at least it would be if “Den Fortrollade Skogen” didn’t allow for a solid two minutes of digestion before embarking on its own eight-minute unfurling, a classically triumphant melody in the flute and keys matching step with the bass, drums and clean-toned guitar once more to reground the audience. As noted, “Sagor från Saaris” is more psychedelic, but also more subdued in all but Wallander‘s hi-hat and the prominence of the low end, which as the flute and guitar jazz-out kosmiche-style has a chance to shine before the final movement begins and brings a worthy apex, still holding out some noise on a long fade into closer “Bertom Hemom” (“beyond homeward”), the gorgeousness of which underscores the humility at heart in Agusa‘s approach on the whole.

To wit, it moves, it careens, it grooves — it has a complex and striking presentation of the elements at play, as shown when the electric guitar lead layer works its way in circa the three-minute mark amid the prior acoustic foundation and how aligned it becomes with Barge on organ and the overarching rhythm. This is the stuff of spinning heads — of repeat on repeat on repeat listens — and yet Agusa make it come through with such a naturalist warmth that one feels like they’re back in that open field again, like it’s the folk music of some unknown people who never existed or did and were otherwise too hippie-awesome to want to stick around on this square-despite-its-roundness planet and got back in their mothership in search of cooler terrain. After what one could argue is the crescendo of “Bertom Herom,” the flute and drums take hold and offer a stripped-down take on the rhythm as the foundation for the guitar and bass and organ to rejoin the fold, tying the song back to its start before the final measures crash out and somebody — one of them, I don’t know who it is — lets out a well-earned exhale. “Woof.” As if anything else needed to be said.

Agusa Tre‘s specific kind of immersion and hypnosis may or may not be for everybody, but for those willing to take it with an open mind on its own level, it’s quite simply going to be a release that offers satisfaction long after 2017 is over. I’m thrilled today to be able to host the premiere of “Bertom Hemom” ahead of the album coming out. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by a quick quote from Ödesjö about its making and more from the PR wire.

I sincerely hope you enjoy:

Mikael Ödesjö on “Bortom Hemom”:

“Bortom Hemom” translates roughly as “Beyond Homeward” and consists of two sections joined together by a bridge. The first part is in 7/4 and the second in 3/4. Perhaps our most “progressive” effort this far. Enjoy!

Agusa was recorded and mixed by Viktor Rinneby and mastered by Grammy-winning engineer Bob Katz, and completed with art by Danilo Stankovic and design by Peter Wallgren.

Laser’s Edge will release Agusa on digital, CD, and LP on October 27th. Find CD and LP preorders at Amazon HERE and digital preorders at Bandcamp HERE. This will be celebrated with release shows in Sweden and Denmark, after which the band will head east to play their first gigs on Russian soil.

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One Response to “Agusa Premiere “Bortom Hemom” from New Self-Titled LP”

  1. […] on over to Obelisk to stream “Bortom […]

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