years ago, in 1981 I had the privilege to go live in Sweden for nearly
a year and while there I met, for the first time, musicians who I
revered back in the 70s including Kenny Håkansson, Lars
Hollmer and Peter Bryngelsson of the group Ragnarök. I
saw several live shows with Ragnarök including a couple in late
81 where they played nearly an albums worth of new music
that sadly was never recorded. Can you imagine that? Featuring Peter
Bryngelsson's ingenius music and guitar arrangements, Swedish art-rockers
Ragnarök recorded a number of unique and nearly indefinable progressive
Swedish instrumental rock albums that was actually inventing a new
type of electric rock and fusion that had never been heard before.
After a whole lot of waters beneath the bridge, 30 years later, Peter
Bryngelsson is back with a new solo CD called Wünderbaum.
With the deaths of both Pekka Pohjola and Lars Hollmer in late
2008, Bryngelsson remains one of the last great rock instrumental
composers and guitarists of the mid 70s heyday when the Swedish
progressive rock sound came into its own. Peter is supported by a
number of players here and on this 2011 CD pressing, the 13 track
Wunderbaum album is actually followed by another Bryngelsson
albumWinterhjärt, (Winterheart), which
was originally released on cassette (believe it or not kids)
way back in 1983, and which is a fascinating enough, though
rarely heard neo-prog ambient album from Bryngelsson. A most welcome
return, Winterheart perfectly serves as an imaginary soundtrack
to a nature or sci-fi documentary, although Bryngelssons trademark
guitar and compositional sound is quite prominent. Collectors and
audiophiles note: Winterheart was ingeniusly recorded, breaking
new ground for the era. This 70 minute double album on one CD from
Peter Bryngelsson provides a double dose of magical, mysterious music.
presents an interview
with PETER BRYNGELSSON
How did Ragnarök reform and what were some of the events that
led to the Ragnarök Path album being recorded?
Peter Bryngelsson: One fan wrote to me and wanted us all to write
our names on a T-shirt. The best way to do it was for us to meet and
then we started talking about a reunion. Another fan was a Swiss millionaire
and he was the guy that initiated the Path album and paid for
mwe3: Is there any current news on Ragnarök regarding new music
or even live appearances?
PB: Yes we are going to tour in Japan in November together with Wunderbaum.
mwe3: How soon after the Ragnarök Path album did you start
to plan the Wunderbaum album?
PB: It has been going on for several years but when I was visiting
my son in Tokyo I met a Japanese fan and he owned a record company
that wanted me to do this solo album.
mwe3: What does Wunderbaum mean when translated into English?
PB: It is the same as a "miracle tree." A wonderful plant.
But it is also the same as a very kitschy little plastic tree that
you buy to have in your car to take away bad odors.
mwe3: Can you say something about the other musicians working with
you on the Wunderbaum CD?
PB: The drummer is my old pal and drummer Mikael Svanevik. The strings
are played by some very talented theater music composers; Jonna Sandell
and Pelle Halvarsson. The contra bass player Bobby Ringstrom I have
been playing together with for the latest 10 years. Some of the others
are picked from older recordings.
mwe3: I remember you played an SG type guitar in Ragnarök early
on, so how has your choice in guitars and even interest in guitars
changed over the years?
PB: Nowadays I only use Chinese made guitars called Gould. On the
album it is one 335 and one Telecaster. The slides is one Weisenborn
and one square-necked dobro both made in China called Texas. The amps
are Hi Watt and the effects are mainly a Whammy Digiteck pedal and
the effects in the logic recording program. I mainly play all guitars
and an instrument called claviola. But also a lot of other stuff that
are at the moment needed.
mwe3: Theres definitely a strong Ragnarök type feel to
the Wunderbaum album. What was your musical mission
so to speak on Wunderbaum?
PB: I wanted to do a guitar album in the tradition of Peter Green
of Fleetwood Mac and also the old Ragnarök.
mwe3: The Wunderbaum CD is enhanced at the end of the CD
by the inclusion of the Winterheart EP from the 80s.
Can you say something of when you recorded Winterheart and
why you decided to include the EP of Winterheart on the Wunderbaum
CD? Who recorded with you on the Winterheart album and
can you reflect back in time on your musical thinking when you recorded
I found the old recordings and thought it was a pity that it only
came out on cassette. It was recorded 1983 after the death of my father
and released 1985. The musicians is except for me, Dan Jonsson and
Lars Liljegren from the former Ragnarök.
mwe3: What is the progressive music scene like in Sweden these days
and how do you feel the progressive rock and instrumental music scene
has changed in Sweden since the heyday of the first Ragnarök
album back in the seventies?
PB: These days it seems much more commercial and similar to the English
and American concepts of prog rather than the original
70s vision of eurock. I don´t know actually.
The interest for the old music is wide spread and I think it is a
wonderful thing that over eleven thousand people have gone on to you
tube to watch our old song Dagarnas Skum.
mwe3: Do you keep in contact with the earlier members of Ragnarök
and can you say something about what theyre doing now? What
if anything is Anders Lind of Silence Records doing these days?
PB: I meet Anders Lind now and then and he is mostly working as a
teacher. Since the beginning of Ragnarök in 1972 till now there
has been over 30 people playing in the band so naturally I am in contact
with only some of them. The part that are dead or are imprisoned I
have no contact with but the main players have been in constant communication.
mwe3: I see you have a number of the original Ragnarök albums
on CD available from your web site. Are those actual CDs or CDRs from
the original masters and will there ever be official remasters of
the early Ragnarök catalog by Silence Records?
PB: It is only CDRs and I don´t know about Silence plans but
there is a company in Japan that plans to release the whole back catalog.
mwe3: Also is there unreleased music from you, Ragnarök or other
groups youve worked with that is possible for future CD reissue?
PB: There is a huge amount of music that is unreleased since we are
all recording music for film and theater each year that would be able
mwe3: Do you have any remembrances or recollections of recording and
releasing the two Triangulus albums back in the mid 80s and
are those albums still in print?
PB: There is a lot of memories but no plans for further release.
mwe3: Can you reflect on the reaction in Sweden to the deaths of Bo
Hansson in 2010 and Lars Hollmer, Thomas Almqvist and also Pekka Pohjola
back in 2008?
It is not only these guys from the old scene that died but also Thorbjörn
Abbeli from Träd, Gräs och Stenar and Kjell Westling from
Arbete och Fritid and my Triangulus album and earlier Rolf Scherrer
from Kebenekaijse. It is a pity and it reminds you of being old and
mwe3: What are you currently listening to these days, old and new
PB: Sadly I listen to a lot of old stuff. Ike and Tina Turner, the
mwe3: Can you say something about your future plans and any interests
regarding future solo and group album releases and also upcoming projects?
PB: The most exciting project is my music for symphony Orchestra,
Arabian musicians and my group Urban Turban.
Thanks to Peter Bryngelsson @ www.PeterBryngelsson.com