Much like Finland’s Svart Records, Swedish label Transubstans has a knack for discovering new homegrown talent. Theirs are acts whose earthy homages to the prog, folk and psych crosswinds of the early 70s are impeccably and unselfconsciously rendered, to the point where ‘retro’ is no longer a useful term. As much as Mälmo’s Agusa cite Colosseum and krautrockers Amon Düül II as influences – and you can throw in references to pastoral forebears such as Landberk and Fläsket Brinner too – the spirit that pervades Högtid is one of unfettered if unhurried exploration.
Airy, unencumbered prog from the Swedish hinterlands.
It’s tinged with nostalgia, but only in the sense that it’s fuelled by an open-ended yearning, finding a common spirit with contemporaries such as Finland’s equally organ-drenched Sammal and, on the dreamy carousel of Melodi Från St Knut, very English fayre such as Purson and Circulus.
But these are only starting points for a journey that is very much Agusa’s own. Each of the five tracks here carries its own unique imprint, from Ut Vår Hage’s roaming, summery psychedelia through the Eastern scales of Östan Om Sol, Västan Om Måne to the rolling Hammond-impregnated pulse of Stigen Genom Skogen.
Together, they all add up to a glorious whole whose co-ordinates are as accommodating as they are ephemeral.