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Archive for the ‘Hans Herbjørnsrud’ Category

  karlove5SOUNDTRACK: RAGA ROCKERS-“Slakt” [“Slaughter”] (1988), “Hun er Fri” [“She is Free”] (1988) and “Noen å hate” [“Someone to hate”] (1990).

ragaKarl Ove mentions many bands in his books.  Raga Rockers appeared twice in this one.  I can’t find a ton about them online, because they never really made it beyond Norway, but the Google translated version of their website says:

Raga Rockers is an ingenious rock ‘n roll band that has existed since 1982.

Today the band consists of: Michael Krohn (vocals, lyrics), Hugo Alvar Stein (keyboards / guitar), Eivind Staxrud (guitar), Arne Sæther (keys), Livio Aiello (bass) and Jan Kristiansen (drums).

The band came out of the punk community in the early eighties, but became such a “poppy” large parts of the Norwegian people have founded acquaintance with them.  Songs like “She is free” and “Someone to hate” is almost singalong classics! Their greatest triumph came perhaps in 1999 when they played for thousands of ecstatic Norwegians at the yellow stage at Roskilde Festival. (Reviews of the show by Dagbladet (which Karl Ove wrote for) and Dagsavisen–both are in English.

Despite their punk roots and the rather violent song titles, the songs are almost poppy–heavy guitars but simple chords and a singer who doesn’t sound angry at all.  In fact, if I didn’t read about their punk roots, I’d swear these songs are kinda goofy.

“Slakt” is a simple song, opening with a 4/4 drum and splashes of guitar.  The middle is a bluesy riff with a chorus of “ah ha ha”  The lead singer’s voice is mostly kind of deep–not quite what I expected from the heavy guitars.

“Hun Er Fri” is quite different from the others songs.  It’s only 90 seconds long and features a piano.  The chords are still simple the piano may be playing single notes in fact).  The lyrics are pretty much nonstop and kind of fast.  It seems like a silly pop trifle and I can see why it’s popular among their fans.  The first time I listened to it, I was surprised it ended when it did.  This bootleg live version is certainly fun.

rocknrollThese two songs came from their 1988 album Forbudte følelser [Prohibited feelings]

“Noen å hate” has a bit more of a metal sound, but is essentially the same kind of heavy rock with simple chord progressions.  There’s a good solo at the end.  A black metal band called Vreid has done a cover of this song (which really only sounds different because the Vreid singer is more growly).

This song comes from their 1990 album Rock n’ Roll Party.

And yes, they are still around.  They took a hiatus in the 2000s but came back with three albums 2007’s Übermensch, 2010’s Shit Happens and 2013’s Faktor X.

[READ: May 1, 2016] My Struggle Book Five

karlove 5ukI realized as I read this fifth book that I should have been keeping a vague sense of the timeline of these books.  Specifically, because he opens this book with this: “The fourteen years I lived in Bergen from 1988 to 2002 are long gone.”  So if he was born in 1968, this book covers roughly ages 19-33.

So my general outline for the other volumes:
Book Five: 1988-2002 (19-33)
Book Four: 1987 (18)
Book Three: 1968-1981  (1-13)
Book Two: 2008 (40) (with flashbacks to meeting his second wife in 2003 or so)
Book One: 2008 (40) (with flashbacks to his father’s death in 1998 or so)

What era could Book Six possibly be about?

We’ll find out next year in what is said to be the 1,200 page final volume.

So as I mentioned above, Karl Ove talks about the fourteen years he lived in Bergen.  And it made me laugh that he says:

The fourteen years I lived in Bergen, from 1988 to 2002, are long gone, no traces of them are left, other than as incidents a few people might remember, a flash of recollection here, a flash of recollection there, and of course whatever exists in my own memory of that time.  But there is surprisingly little.

And then he proceeds to write 600+ pages about that time. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: SONSEED-“Jesus is a Friend of Mine” (1983).

My friend Nick sent me a link to this song.  And he said that it would  have been the theme song to his radio show back in college.  (We went to a Jesuit school, so it could be taken seriously as well).  Of course, knowing him, he absolutely would have played it as his intro music.

Anyhow, I listened to it and enjoyed the video in the spirit of gentle mockery that it was sent.  But I found myself listening to it quit a lot and I have concluded that I now enjoy it irony-free.  And how can that be?

Well, first off, Christian rock generally sucks.  In addition to many other reasons, it’s often played with a style that is inappropriate to the message.   And Gawd, forget the bombast of arena Christian rock bands (who shall remain nameless).

What I like about this song is that a) the musicians are really good. It’s a live song (I assume–they wouldn’t lip synch on  Christian TV show would they?) and they are tight.  Also, the music (ska!) is upbeat, just like the message.  Finally, while lyrically not very clever (most of the lyrics are pretty laughable), they are sincere and not aiming too high.

And, I hate to say, it’s catchy as hell (although I suppose you have to like ska to like it).

Evidently, I’m not the only one to be transfixed by this strange group (and, it seems I’m at least two years late to the party, as there is already a great deal of chatter (and even controversy) about this video).  So, let me be the umpteenth person to post it on his blog.

[READ: September 2, 2010] McSweeney’s 35

This new issue shocked me because I noticed that it was printed in Canada, not Iceland. I’m not sure when this switch occurred, but I feel somewhat saddened for the Icelandic press!

The cover is a (softcover) foldout (with two flaps).  The front shows two people crossing a street, but even more shocking than the Canada thing is the cover itself…something I didn’t notice until I left it out in the car.  The black of the cover (see above) is actually heat sensitive.  When it gets warm, it reveals a secret underworld to the picture.  Very very cool!  I was really confused when I picked up the book and it was no longer black but green with fishes swimming around, and I couldn’t imagine why I ever thought it was black.  Pretty sneaky, sis.

This issue features a newly revised letter column (although “letter” is a subjective term here).  There are four longer stories, and the rest of the book has two sections.  The first is comprised of an awesome photo series of lunch bags (which I will attempt to emulate for my kids when they begin school).  The second is “a Portfolio of Stories from Norway.”  The Norwegian Stories are great, and really show the strength of literature coming from the country. (more…)

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