Band Website: www.facebook.com/agusaband
Label: Transubstans Records
Label Website: www.transubstans.com
Release Date: 2014
Sitting on the fence is usually seen as a bad thing; however when it comes to music straddling the fence can actually be a good thing, all the more so when the musical fences you are straddling are psychedelic and progressive rock. Such is a case with the new Swedish band, Agusa. The band’s line-up at the time they recorded Hogtid was: Tobias Pettersson (bass), Mikael Ödesjö (guitar), Dag Strömkvist (drums) and Jonas Berge (Hammond Organ). Their Facebook page indicates since the recording, they have a new drummer, Tim Wallander. Agusa’s music is most certainly what many would describe as Prog Rock, but there is no denying the psychedelic influences.
Hogtid features five compositions, a total of forty-four minutes of music and strangely it has a distinct Scandinavian feel to it. I say strange because you wouldn’t expect to hear that in instrumental music, but there is a certain feel to the way the music is played and the instruments used. Keyboards listed show only the Hammond Organ which provides the band a very distinct flavor. The fact that it’s panned repeatedly from left to right through much of “Melodi Fran St Knut” [7:54] displays their psychedelic sensibility. The songs are mostly instrumental and mostly on the longish side; anywhere from seven to fourteen minutes in fact. Each song consists of a number of core melodic themes that are run through and then either dispensed with or returned to after some experimental, spacey, droning musical excursions. There are plenty of long rambling musical excursions where each member has the opportunity to display their craft. Nothing here is overly angular; in fact it’s all quite musically melodic. So while the structure and arrangements are drawn from the Prog world, much of the guitar and organ soloing tends to reflect the genre’s earlier psych origins. Together it fits very well.
Some might call this Retro-Prog because of its late sixties vibe, others may call it Krautrock because of the spacey extended solos, but whatever label you want to put on it, it’s well-played and certainly interesting to listen to. Agusa have a good thing going here and prog fans would do well to check them out. The music on Hogtid is a nice blend of psychedelic influences and progressive rock that would make a great addition to your prog CD collection.