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Samla Mammas Manna: Kaka (CD, 50:43) 1999, GA 8638.AR
Musea Records
138 rue de Vallières,
57070 Metz, France

70’s Swedish avant-garde jazz-ers Samla Mammas Manna may not be accessible
enough to tickle everyone’s fancy. Some folks might think that they’re too
bizarre and unstructured. Some folks may be turned off by the off-key
chanting and yelling that peppers their releases. Some people won’t like the
heavy use of uncongenial instruments such as the marimba, bouzouki, veena,
and accordion. But, I’d be willing to bet that everyone would agree that
there’s no one out there quite like the quirky foursome.  SMM keep their
spirit alive with the 1999 release Kaka, a release on which they
definitely show that age may make one wiser, but doesn’t necessary make one
more conventional.  In other words, if you like verse-chorus-verse, stay far
away from this one!

Explaining SMM’s sound is a very challenging task indeed.  The best way I
could explain SMM and Kaka is “Frank Zappa meets Evil Clown music
meets Tiny Tim with a splash of Animal from “The Muppet Show” and Jim McKay
from “Wide World of Sports”.  Confused enough?  Then you’ve got the picture
perfectly – SMM offers on-the-edge, experimental avant-garde jazz that
includes wild up-tempo complex numbers, songs that consist of nothing but
Hasse Bruniusson’s (also of the Flower Kings) percussion and grunting and
yelling from the rest of the band, and the occasional break-in by a “play by
play” announcer explaining what’s going on in the record.  While the band
members are all incredible musicians (Coste Apetrea’s guitar playing is
almost worth the price of admission alone), what really comes through more
than anything else on Kaka is SMM’s very active sense of humor.  That
becomes apparent right off the bat as the first cut has a very “square”
sounding announcer introducing the band, but totally mutilating the band’s
name – finally giving up on trying to pronounce it.  On another track, the
announcer pops in to give a blow-by-blow description of an in-studio
argument that the band is having.  This cavalier attitude taken towards what
is very complex music gives the CD a light and “fun” feeling that is lacking
with other similar releases.  The pretension that is apparent with other
artists simply isn’t a factor here.

There are several standouts on Kaka: the second track “Lyckliga
Titanic” goes from free-form fusion to a cha-cha rhythm complete with
flamenco guitar playing from Apetrea that kept me glued to the stereo.
“Tredje Ikarien” could almost be considered a heavy metal song for the first
few minutes were it not for the mallet percussion and rag-time piano sound
that accompany the guitarist’s wailing.  And for those who like the more
bizarre aspect of SMM (namely vocal noodling), the track (and I’m NOT making
this name up) “Även oss får Tiden Åldras Spasmodkij Engelbert Humperdinck
Blues” sounds like a bunch of drunken and mentally insane Swedes shouting
out psuedo-opera complete with ominous keyboard sounds.  I almost expected
to hear “Number Nine… Number Nine… Number Nine…” – that’s the kind of vibe
the song (if you can call it a song) emotes.

Despite its quirks, I would highly recommend Kaka to those music
lovers with highly adventurous musical spirits.  If you dig Zappa and
similar acts, then you’ll probably get a kick out of Samla Mammas Manna.
The music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is fresh, eclectic, and
deep enough to demand the attention of a listener. Just don’t try to
pronounce the names of the songs…

More information the Samla Mammas Manna can be found at

- Michael Askounes (

Coste Apetrea: Guitar, Bouzouki, Veena, Voice
Hans Bruniusson: Drums, Percussion, Marimba, Voice
Lars Hollmer: Keyboards, Accordion, Melodica, Voice
Lars Krantz: Bass, Voice

1. Stämma Lite (0:29)
2. Lyckliga Titanic (5:12)
3. Oh Sa Masalana Jämfört Med Ålman River (2:03)
4. Första Ikarien (6:39)
5. Reptilgärna (2:16)
6. Satori (3:28)
7. Vegetariskt Impro, Svar Direkt (2:38)
8. Freselsens Café (8:14)
9. Tung Krupa Tejpraga Tra La La (2:36)
10. Andra Ikarien (3:33)
11. Även oss får Tiden Åldras Spasmodkij Engelbert Humperdinck Blues (5:12)
12. Hatman (2:28)
13. Tredje Ikarien (5:30)
14. OQ (0:19)


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