Today, April 7, 2018, I got Mail from Per-Arne Hognert in Sweden. The parcel included a very nice letter with thanks for having him on the 2018 Friends of Stilletid compilation, and two cassettes he did, under the pseudonyms Odd Sabbath and Oddskabbcatz. I am mostly familiar with the Oddskabbzatz project, so I decided to listen to “Oddest Bits” by Odd Sabbath first, and write my first impressions here.
Side A starts out with “Dolig Låt”, which wouldn't sound out of place in a 90’s MS-DOS computer game. Very different than I had assumed from the cover art, I thought this might have been progressive rock with a silly edge, but I dig it! It is in many ways a rock tune done electronically. "Dolig Låt" is followed by “Morgondagg”. And having been to Sweden often, I can almost see the forests and smell the pine needles and moose-droppings when listening to this. Not quite a dark ambient-piece since it is in no way gloomy or dark but it does bring that genre to mind. Third track “Sepepop” and fourth track “Vilda Bullarn” has a whole nother feel to it. "Sepepop" is almost a circus organ-type track, and "Vilde Bullarn" sounds like electronic spaghetti western music. So far this cassette has been very varied and interesting considering the limitations it sounds like was involved. Sounds a bit like a Sega Mega drive (Genesis to Americans) but unlike game music it has defined endings and doesn't loop forever. Then “Heavy Hever” and “Sumprotsröta” come in and shake things up even further. Almost sounding like Iron Butterfly through a bucket of socks and bit-crushing, which is a sentence I never foresaw I would ever use. But I love it!
“Klockwerk” is a very staccatoed piece with a driving piston-like quality, and with “Arpthin” we are back to a bit of a dark ambient-sound, this time a bit darker and dronier, but wait! Suddenly a very 80’s feel appears with a Juno-sounding lead and turns it into something completely different. I have a feeling Per-Arne was visualizing his way through this cassette somehow. It is all like a very descriptive passage in a book. There are mental images involved. Then the “Towelie Song “comes on with sound-clips of the South Park character Towelie talking about Towels. And Crystal Meth. And Crack. And concluding Side A is "Röka Brännässlör" which has some very confusing and cool pitch changes that almost sound like tempo changes. I don’t know if I can explain it any better than that, but after listening to Side A my expectations are very high for side B. Great work, P-A!
Side B begins with “Östadslivs” which returns to the digital Iron Butterfly-type sound, and I was expecting “Clear Blue Skies” to do that too, for some reason, but I was surprised with a more relaxed track in the vein of Destructure out of Colorado and the ambient works of Laugh And Peace from Japan. Then Follows “Chillarn i Bullarn” with a heavy feverish feel, and “Dream of me” is almost a weird electronic take on a rock ballad. Even bringing Pantera's “Cemetery Gates” to mind. And it is always interesting to hear a certain type of music done in new and strange ways. Track B5 “Vadå?” And B6 “ Gåing Home To Bullarn” Stays in the rock vein but going for that 60’s feel again, ending up sounding like the computerized version of Disraeli Gears by Cream. Which for sure is a new kind of music to me. They need to make a new radio station for “Computerized Cream”. “Det Djupe Blå” which translates to “The Deep Blue” starts out with the sounds of the sea. Waves and seagulls slowly introduce the hypnotic synthguitar-riff and drums, accompanied by a pad-like synth, and Vocoder-like keys a la Kraftwerk's “Spacelab” and even a bit of Glockenspiel echoing out into human voices talking about doing all their shopping at department stores. “Det Djupe Blå” might be my favorite track on this entire cassette. “Boogie i Bullarn” is next,and that one sounds like a hal-bal (hoedown) to me in a way, which is a good thing in Græsted! Wish they played more PA at halbals. The Penultimate track “Ogräsblues” has PA playing the blues harp and mumbling in Swedish in a gravelly voice. I should know what the lyrics are, Danish and Swedish being so similar. Unfortunately I can’t tell, since it's mumbled, but I think it is on purpose. It is the “Towelie song” of side B in its own way. And last but not least “Vadårä” has a dreamy 80’s pop feel to it, concluding the album in style!
All in all this is probably my favourite P-A cassette that I own. And truly also “The oddest bits” of his music, that I have heard.
For more interesting sounds by Per-Arne I recommend his cassette albums 2 day & 2 Morrow, Nightmare Park and On the Subject of Death and that which lies Beyond as Arne Weise; RAHAPAJA the CD-R he did with Hal McGee, the creator of this website, and my fellow Electronic Cottage columnists Jay Peele and Rafael González; and last but not least, Triumph of Death by Oddskabbcatz, which is entirely created with a 90’s Soundblaster sound card and Per-Arne's voice.
Five billion stars out of however many are in the universe!
P-A on Bandcamp