Trail Rec.In The Labyrinth : One Trail to Heaven (S,1994-2011)****
I still remember very well the previous In The Labyrinth releases with lots of instruments being used, a musical fantasy that sounded like visiting the whole world as an exotic place, and the side project called Orient Squeezers with more Indian and psych associations of influences. Peter Lindahl compiled here some 60 minutes of material out of his three ITL releases, with new mixes, combinations of songs and a few unreleased tracks to form a new, well hanging together limited edition album. The sound is a bit more stuffed than before, almost too perfect so that it sounds a bit more dense and clean as a studio project, without spatial progresses of surprises. Returning ideas are the kind of middle eastern Ali Baba fantasies dominated by oud and tablas, finished off with keyboards and different (acoustic and electric) guitars (-I guess there are a few electric guitar passages added especially for this release-), and secondly, a few returning moments of songs with a progressive, almost symphonic and acoustic-based feel. The studio setting gives the exotic story-line that small association with those Dead Can Dance inspired bands, although Peter’s music has more story and melodic body in it, within the time frames. In The Labyrinth is a well-chosen name that gives the right association before imagining with the hearing process the unfolding world expressed with it. For this it is no surprise to know Peter is also a painter of such visions onto canvas.
In The Labyrinth is Peter Lindahl on vocals, background vocals, mellotron, viola da gamba, electric guitar, electric bass, saz, zither, Spanish, Western & twelve string guitars, mandolin, baroque travérs-flute, quena, recorders, samplers, synthesizers, piano, melodeon, darbouka, daf, percussion, sound effects & programming ; Håkan Almkvist on sitar, E-bow guitar, electric bass, tabla and sound effects.
Appearing more sporadically are :
Helena Selander on angelic voice improvisations and background vocals, Robert Eklund on arch lute on “Cities”, Mikael Gejel with sampler on “The garden of mysteries II” and flute on “Moorish Rhapsody”, Helena Jacobssen on background vocals on “Moorish Rhapsody”, Stefan Andersson on electric bass, accompanying guitar and slide guitar on “The Endless City”, Kristina Fuentes on background vocals on “Muscarin Madness”, Natali Knutzen on background vocals on “Cities”, Karin Langhard-Gejel on shared background vocals on “Monsoon”, Ulf Hansson on darbouka on “The garden of mysteries II” and Marcos Chagallo on violin on “Cities”.
Background biography on the musicians (compiled in cooperation with Peter Lindahl):
A bit more background on the musicians : Peter Lindahl around 1977-79 played quena flute in Coiron which was a Latin American band focused on performing music from Peru, Bolivia, Chili, etc. The band toured for a couple of years. The instrumentation comprised largely the traditional items of the Andes, meaning pan flutes, quena and tarka flutes, Spanish guitars, charrango, bombo (drum from Paraguay), a variety of percussion but also viola da gamba, violin and travérs flute, while they also sang in multi-layered harmonies. For a while they were becoming well known as far away as Germany but they never toured outside of Sweden. The band diminished after the band leader Gaston Willaman died about 10 years ago. Their final CD consisted merely of Gaston and a musician from Uruguay named Rickardo Collazo. During the 80s Peter busked around playing at smaller venues and at a few bigger establishments, then he took part in a trio called 'Ljungeld' (meaning lightning) which consisted of two of his oldest friends, and Stefan Ottman who along with Peter is responsible for the forthcoming In The Labyrinth album 'Samas antaral' which is still in the works. Ljungeld was mostly a 'live' act but they did make a considerable amount of demo recordings.
At the same time Peter was also engaged in a trio called 'Aladin's lampa' (Aladin's lantern) which in the early 90s evolved into Labyrint and then later In The Labyrinth. The line up for this band was an ever changing one, though some members remained consistent, that is Mikael Gejel, Ulf Hansson and Peter. One of the musicians who came and disappeared quite hastily was Stefan Andersson, with whom he had yet another side project in the late 90s writing and recording songs in the vein of Gothic rock with an inclination towards fantasy authors such as H P Lovecraft. One of the tracks on 'One trail to Heaven' is a recrafted, cut down version of one of their songs, once called 'Relic' but now renamed 'The endless city'. This duo, which they called Lovecraft never went out live but they made quite a few recordings.
Besides this Peter Lindahl has been working sporadically with lots of other musicians, mainly in his own studio, though nothing really serious. A few cassettes and CDs have been released on a smaller scale in Sweden and abroad where he either produced music for meditation and relaxation or just played the flute (with lots of echo) on a variiety of albums.
Håkan Almkvist has been part of many bands, to start with, Helmer mudd which was very much his own creation and had their seat in Uppsala north of Stockholm. In fact, he's always been active in that town, occasionally paying Stockholm a visit to participate in various festivals, often with a connection to India.
The most important achievement of Håkan's (apart from playing with In The Labyrinth) is in Peter’s opinion Orient squeezers which incorporates such musicians as Hans Bruniusson (once the drummer of Samla mammas manna) although it is basically a one-man-band-thing with Håkan doing everything himself from playing the sitar to creating arrangements with sampled, oriental percussion-loops, synthesizers, electric guitar, bass and sound effects. This summer he went out 'live' with this concept by bringing together a number of musicians from Uppsala and one even from India who plays tabla. Three CDs by Orient squeezers have been released so far on his own label in co-junction with Record heaven while one 'live' album is being prepared for release eventually.
In the 90s Håkan was very much engaged in another one of his creations, Ensemble Nimbus. Hans Bruniusson played drums there as is often the case with Håkan's projects. They released three CD albums on an international scale and have yet another album in the works somewhere.
Also Håkan had a project in the vein of experimental ambient music called 'Tweendeck 2'. The other member of this duo was Lars Ek on clarinet, while Håkan took care of all the sampled sounds and percussion.
Helena Selander has never really gone out public with her talent, apart from singing in ITL, but has sporadically recorded both her own music and others' compositions in Peter's studio during these past 20 years. Besides In The Labyrinth her interests lie in country, Irish and Spanish music but she has also contributed to several of Peter Lindahl’s albums aimed for meditation and relaxation, from which the last song of 'One trail to heaven' has been extracted and subsequently cut down from over 20 to 5½ minutes.
Robert Eklund has a classical background, playing a wide variety of lutes but also celtic harp, ukelele, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, keyboards, etc and is also a proficient singer. For a year or so Peter and Robert were both engaged in a quartet named 'Sefardia' together with a female vocalist from Uppsala and Miriam Oldenburg who played the accordion.
Mikael Gejel had a trio together with Stefan Ottman and Peter in the mid 70s which they called Karlavagnen (i. e. Ursa major). They performed here and there in Stockholm and were known to use an unorthodox setting for their 'live' acts where they varied between instruments like sitar, tabla, recorders, quena flute, acoustic guitars, melodeon, jews harp, acoustic guitars and vocals. 'Karlavagnen' and 'Aladdins lampa' set the base for what much later would evolve into In the labyrinth.
Other acts of Mikael are: Vilmejds lekare (late 60s - early 70s), Drakhjärta (with, among others, Karin langhard-Gejel, this band having been active in more recent years), but also in those already mentioned, Karlavagnen and Aladdins lampa.
Helena Jacobssen has been vocalist in quite a few rock bands though Peter can’t recall what they're called since it's not the kind of music he would go by. For a while in the mid 90s she, Stefan Ottman and Peter had some things going on the side but this was just for fun. Today Helena lives with Mikael Gejel with whom she has a lot of common interests, like healing, ancient spirituality and higher teachings playing on the old masters.
Stefan Andersson has already been mentioned in the text about Aladdins lampa (Aladdin's lantern) in the Peter Lindahl section. He plays both electric guitar, bass, percussion and sings in Lovecraft while in Aladinn's lantern he kept mostly to his electric guitar.
Kristina Fuentes was only engaged in two different songs on the third ITL album, Dryad. During the 90s she was involved as a singer in her brother's ethnical Latin-American band called Soledad and before that during a couple of years in the Chilean band Rucali which regularly performed all over Sweden and which cut two of their albums with Peter as their recording engineer. Brother Alejandro's band Soledad was also engineerd by Peter in the 90s.
Natali Knutzen was part of a band called Cassiopea and also Beabella, which still appears to be active. One of the In The Labyrinth's violin players Marcos Chagallo used to be part of the afore mentioned group too.
Karin Langhard-Gejel See notes about Aladdins lampa!
She was a part of the early line up of ITL but vanished in 1994 after a few years of activity.
Ulf Hansson Same with Ulf, or Darbouka-Ulf as they used to call him. He disappeared without a trace after around 1995 or 96. Before putting together Aladdins lampa with Mikael Gejel and Peter in 1980 he used to play with several other musicians and bands often leaning on Balkan traditions.
Marcos Chagallo played the violin on many tracks yet to be released by ITL and on a few which did see the light of day as inclusions on various CD compilations, like 'Cities' (Mellow records), The black plague (Gew gaw) and 'Rökstenen' (Musea). He was active with ITL mainly around 2004 - 2009. He was also once part of one of Natali Knutzen's bands, for which Peter made a demo about 6 years ago.
Marcos's predecessors on violin with ITL were Micke Lövroth and to some degree Kirk Chilton, who also played with Håkan's band Ensemble nimbus, but they did not participate on any of the tracks belonging to 'One trail to heaven'.