Parson Sound – 1968

You know, there’s one thing I refuse to do. Outside of work and a very little bit at home, I refuse to put on headphones and shut myself from the sounds of the world around me. Its the uncontrolled sound of hums, rumbles, breezes, pling, plongs, foreign audio soundtracks, and every other random else thing that best prepares me for almost any music out there. The sound of today’s track of the day, Pärson Sound’s “Tio Minuter” (Ten Minutes) from their archival live recording album brings to my mind that feeling. Formed in Stockholm, this Swedish quintet led by guitarist Bo Anders Persson were one of the pioneering bands that introduced drone, modern classical (what a misnomer) composition, chance, and tape manipulations into rock music. Doing so they were the precursors to a lot of what we call post-rock, sludge metal, ambient and other kinds of “cyclical”-sounding music.

Live album cover.

Pärson Sound originally was conceived as a band to back up Terry Riley. The famous composer of the monumental In C, itself a musical treatise on modern minimalism, at that time had little to no money to actually play his composition. Rather than give up, he commissioned Bo Anders to round up a quintet of musicians from the Royal College of Music to perform his composition which he could backup by some funding he received from Andy Warhol (who was floored enough by the results to ask them to open for him during an art showing in Stockholm). After doing so, they discovered that they could apply a lot of those same principles to rock music, much like the Velvet Underground did to pop music in “Venus in Furs“.

Their live performances, where they created a maelstrom of sound from cellos, violins, organs, saxophones, electric guitar, drums, bass and assorted self-made sonic effects, were legendary. They never recorded studio albums and preferred to work onstage by chance. Each member had his own type of sonic imprint, so as the compositions evolved in length and scope certain aspects of the player taking the reigns would shift the tone of sound. Its all this controlled chaos play which would make their type of everywhere but invisible dark matter sound influential to other non-Scandinavian groups like the Krautrockers, Prog rockers, post-punker, droners, and fusion jazzers…but they themselves lost to history until someone rediscovered these live recordings and re-released them. The sound is revelatory though. You can leave the track of the day on in the background and slowly hear it lure you in, once you actually listen though, that’s all it takes for such a rare groove to reel you in…

Listen to Tio Minuter at Grooveshark.

Bonus track time, the sludgy heavenliness of India (Slight Return) from the same album…

Listen to India (Slight Return) at Grooveshark.