Laughing Eye were not a band I had heard of before, so when Mathias over at the excellent Hoga Nord label asked me if I would be interested in introducing a track I was intrigued. This was further piqued when I found out that Laughing Eye is, in fact, the solo work of Hanna Östergren (drummer with Hills and Träd Gräs och Stenar). Then once I heard it I was fully on board.
‘Florian’ is from the eponymously titled debut album from Laughing Eye and, like the other tracks on that LP, it is very much located in the Swedish folk/ Progg tradition… as you would probably expect from someone who is in those two amazing bands. At first it sounds rather understated, but as is the way of these things, repeated listens result in it really getting into your consciousness… and from there on it begins to release a form of sonic energy which is more sustaining.
Actually it feels like a sort of ‘Swedish raga’ and when, half way through, Östergren takes it up a notch you really feel yourself going with it. As you would expect percussion is really to the fore whether that be drums, tabla or other forms… but it is more than that, and there is more than a hint of the signature sound that has made both Hills and Träd, Gräs ohh Stenar so popular.
Having heard the whole album, however, I can say that it all has this earthy yet slightly cosmic feel to it. This has the effect for me of setting the music in some sort of internal tension, from which emerges some real creativity.
This, then, is another significant release which takes some familiar themes in a series of directions and diversions. As a result it will be a welcome addition for anyone looking to expand their collection of Swedish folk/ psych music.
‘Laughing Eye’ is now available to pre-order from Hoga Nord here.
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