In Sweden, you had many different underground psychedelic and prog acts in the 1970s like Älgarnas Trädgård, Samla Mammas Manna, Kebnekaise, Bo Hansson, and so much more. Around 1967, one of the biggest and most important name in minimalist music, Terry Riley came to Sweden and Persson got to see the guy and was inspired by his works. Persson founded Pärson Sound, which by 1968 became International Harvester with drummer Thomas Gartz, vocalist and horn player Thomas Tidholm, bassist Torbjörn Abelli, cellist Arne Eriksson, and fiddle player Urban Yman. Sov Gott Rose-Marie was recorded in 1968, but was not released until the spring of 1969. The original LP was not released in Sweden, but in neighboring Finland on that country's Love Records (where you can find releases by Wigwam, Jukka Gustavson, Jukka Tolonen, Tasavalan Presidenti, Finnforest, etc.). Silence Records in Sweden did eventually reissue this album in 1984 (on LP, since CDs were still in their infancy then), and then once again in 2001 on CD, with one extended bonus cut.
The first half of Sov Gott Rose-Marie consistes of 11 rather short pieces, none of them even approaching the four minute range. These pieces often tend to be repetitive, but never gets boring. The album starts off rather startling with "Dies Irae" which is basically a loud horn. "I Villande Skogen" sounds like some people singing during a late night campfire, pretty much background stuff there. "There is No Other Place" sounds like how Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd might have sounded like if they were more of a garage band (this piece tended heavily to guitars and absolutely no keyboards are used - in fact there are no keybaords used on this album at all). "The Runcorn Report on Western Report" is a nice, laid-back piece with ambient background sounds. This sure reminds me a whole lot of Can's Future Days even though this was several years before that album ever came out! "Statsministern" is a short, silly piece showing the band's sense of humor here. "Ho Chi Minh" is basically the band chanting the Vietnamese's communist leader's name over and over again against a backdrop of percussion. Then they give us another pleasant, laid-back number with "It's Only Love". Again repetition plays in this song, but it works very well. "Klocken är Mycket Nu" is basically the band chanting "Klocken" over and over against a psychedelic backdrop. "Ut Till Vänster" is a short, Nordic-influnced melody played on sax. "Sommarläten" reminds me of Bo Hansson circa Lord of the Rings, but without the organ, with guitar dominating. The second album consists of two wonderful, extended pieces, with "I Mourn You" and "How to Survive". Given both pieces are over 10 minutes long, it really allowed the band to stretch out, and things really get adventurous. With "I Mourn You", there's a lot of chanting of the line "I Mourn You", while the band goes in to a lengthy, and wonderful jam. "How to Survive" is the band's idea of an Indian raga without the sitar, sarod, harmonium, etc., but instead the cello being used in its place. Lots of wonderful percussion too. There's a strong minimalist feel to the piece as well, no surprise given Riley was one of Bo Anders Persson's influence. The CD also came with an extended bonus cut with "Skördetider", which almost made it on Sov Gott Rose-Marie instead of "I Mourn You" and "How to Survive". Mainly it's an extended psych jam, although it gets a bit too repetitive in certain spots, so it was definately better the band used "I Mourn You" and "How to Survive" in place of that cut on the original LP. Still it's a fascinating piece. International Harvester proves that psychedelia was not always the Strawberry Alarm Clock or The Lemon Pipers. Nowhere do you find themes of "love is the answer to all the world's ills", "flowers and beads" and "canyons of your mind" here. You can never mistake what International Harvester did with "Green Tambourine", that's for sure. It's a truly wonderful album, and one of the more creative and inventive psych albums I've heard. After Sov Gott Rose-Marie, the band released Hemåt (in which the band was simply known as Harvester), and then Bo Anders Persson went and formed Träd, Gräs och Stenar. Anyway, Sov Gott Rose-Marie is truly an obscure gem of psychedelia that worth seeking out. A must have.