The Encyclopedia of Swedish Progressive Music 1967-1979

From Psychedelic Experiments to Political Propaganda

Tobias Petterson


It all began with an interest in hi-fi. I built my own stereo when I was a teenager and whenever a new Beatles album came out friends would gather at my place to listen. Although I was more into the jazz scene - Bill Evans and John Coltrane - the psychedelic music of the flower power years changed that.

In 1967 I began importing records from America for several reasons. It took the record shops in Stockholm ages to receive new music, not to mention the overall quality of the American albums with better pressings and heavier album jackets. Favorites from this period were The Doors, The Fugs, The Mothers Of Invention and Country Joe & The Fish. Country Joe’s début Electric Music For The Mind And Body was especially breathtaking.

At the time I worked for Ljudåtergivning [Sound Reproduction], a company that specialized in customizing sound and public-address systems for four-chan-nel electronic music performances. That’s how I befriended Bo-Anders Persson and we then recorded International Harvester, the album released on the Finnish label Love Records. That experience inspired us to start the Decibel Studio. We recorded and released two albums on the Decibel label by the bands reincarnated from International Harvester, namely Harvester and Träd, Gräs Och Stenar.

In late 1969, Bo Hansson gave me his demos based on Lord Of The Rings. I immediately wanted to record this beautiful music with him, as I had known him since he was with Hansson & Karlsson. At that time the impending counterculture revolution in Sweden spawned bands like Gunder Hägg and Harvester, that heralded in experimental tradition in the face of the mainstream, completely in contrast to the then current music scene.

Some friends of mine and I wanted to be part of that, so we set up the Silence Records label to record bands and artists we liked. The general thought was that if you had something to express - even if you weren’t a great musician - you could record on Silence. Our unofficial motto in those days was "have an opinion rather than only be able to play". This was most definitely not only in terms of lyrics. Several bands of the Movement communicated without verbalizing, letting the music talk for itself.

The social climate of the era allowed many interesting acts to record music. If I am forced to list favorites, I would have to say Bo Hansson, Träd Gräs Och Stenar, Samla Mammas Manna and Kebnekajse. However, it is difficult to only name a few. Many acts had their own unique qualities and expressions.

By 1977 we had begun to build the Silence studio far away in the forest of Koppom. It was completed in the fall of 1979 but, unfortunately, the Movement was fading by that time. New music and cultural articulation were already taking place in Swedish society. This also created change in Silence’s direction, as we had to go with the flow and adapt to the new situation. But our roots will always be a part of us, and the Movement will forever be in our hearts.

That is why it is a pleasure to have the information, the history and the spirit of the time documented in this book.

Anders Lind