My Brother the Wind - Once There Was A Time 01Harmony pervades Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One. Not in the strictly musical sense, but in its idyllic unity between typically opposed characteristics. Time and space, old and new, science and nature. Sweden’s My Brother The Wind returns on this, their third record, to peacefully entrance and impart their wholly-improvised instrumental Space Rock on the rushed and pressured masses. Similar to former releases, but at times even more tranquil, it draws on Swedish prog-forerunners, Träd Gräs och Stenar, and other visionary progressive, psychedelic and space music bands such as Pink Floyd, Popol Vuh and Amon Düül. Fluctuating and progressing, Once There Was A Time… will transport you to another world where the sun, wind and rain all inter-weave overhead, and it is truly memorable for the way it will draw you out of your everyday life.

The greatest success of the record is the way in which it reconciles 60s and 70s rock and psychedelia with modernity in its production and retrospective outlook. The benefit of producing a 70s psychedelic rock record forty years later is the ability to incorporate a number of sounds and influences into one cohesive whole, and realize the project with superior recording and production techniques. When the improvised electric guitar noodling kicks in on “Into The Cosmic Halo” you think Pink Floyd. “Thomas Mera Gartz” is a slow, ambient ode to the Träd Gräs och Stenar drummer of the same name. “Prologue” and the title track recall the space music synthesizers and mellotron of Popol Vuh. The complex layering and progression of “Garden Of Delights” elicits Amon Düül. Despite drawing on many influences, assimilation is subtle, leaving a record like a intricate tapestry which has to be completely consumed, rather than a collection of vaguely-related songs.

More, the outstanding production contributes to the fusion of the old and new: though clearly influenced by former bands, newer technology ensures their textures are very organic and the mixing brilliantly balances these many textures and instruments used. Love Tholin deserves credit here, ensuring one can hear all aspects of the music and the nuances in tone. The layering on the title track of acoustic and electric guitars with other electronic instruments is noteworthy, each carrying equal weight and creating a beautiful soundscape. The bass is not just audible, but strong (particularly on the groovy “Epilogue”) and carries prominent melody on the title track.

My Brother the Wind - Once There Was A Time 02The complaints I have are relatively minor. Acting as a sort of centrepiece in its length and delivery of My Brother The Wind‘s ‘core’ style (by which I refer to their progressiveness and layering of multiple instruments), “Garden Of Delights” does drag over its opening six minutes. It repeats and meanders a little aimlessly, unlike the the rest of the record which feels focused and intentional despite its very nature of being an improvised studio jam. That said, it does pick up again – it could just do with a few minutes cut out towards the start. Additionally, “Epilogue,” while boasting a super groovy rhythm and bass-line, feels tacked on to the record which preceded it, and is especially anomalous since it is supposed to to be the conclusion of a great journey.

Nevertheless, Once There Was A Time… is a fantastic and mesmerizing record, successfully bringing a range of 60s and 70s influences to the modern day. Considering its improvised character, it is thankfully unpretentious and largely feels as if it’s positively progressing rather than pointlessly wandering. A fan of any genre can appreciate being transported away from this meaningless mortal coil, and I strongly recommend you let My Brother The Wind take you.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Free Electric Sound
Release dates: EU: 2014.10.06 | NA: 10.14.2014

  • Shawn Cypher

    The embedded music video reminds me of some of the ballads on the first couple I Mother Earth albums. (Yeah, I went way back.)

    • DrChocolate

      Woah, an I Mother Earth reference? That was unexpected but I totally hear what you’re hearing. Dig is one of those albums that I can’t quite explain it’s hold on me, but to this day, twenty years (holy shit) after I bought it, I still spin it on semi-regular basis.

      • Shawn Cypher

        Dig is such a great album, I’m glad someone knew what I was talking about! Scenery and Fish is also very good. I’m not quite sure which one I like more.

        I never got into their later albums, because I liked Edwin’s voice so much, and he left in 1997. He’s in a supe rgroup called Crash Karma, which, pretty much sounds like IME.

        • DrChocolate

          Dig’s always been my clear, run-away fave. Just couldn’t get into everything on S&F but I enjoyed parts. I sort of stopped following them around that time (despite still listening to Dig) so I knew nothing of Crash Karma, until now. Might have to dig that up.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Nice review, you got me interested. It’s certainly a beautiful sound their making. I definately feel a bit of Hawkwind love around the 9min mark as well. I wouldn’t be surprised though if these guys were just as influenced by Neil Young and Creedence as they were Floyd and Hawkwind.
    It seemed to me that the embedded song meandered (pleasantly at least) a bit over the first 6mins as well, probably not something to make a too much a habit of…
    If you like this I would heartily recommend checking out Australian band. ‘The Dirty Three’ they totally nail this kind of big sky, soundtrack psychedelic.

  • Synthetase

    These guys sound really interesting.

    However, pet hate: science and nature are not opposed. Science is the study of nature.

    Pedant out. ;)

    • Requiem

      This was literally my first thought, haha

  • Link D. LeonhⒶrt V.

    trippy! nom nom :) that video was awesomely vintage in a GOOD way!.