Based on the tiny Swedish fishing island of Smogen, guitarist Staffan Harde created a wholly unique and wondrous approach to his instrument, documented assiduously on hand-made reel-to-reel tapes and this lone LP from 1972, which features Harde solo and with small groups. His accomplices included pianist Lars Sjösten, bassist Lars-Urban Helje, and the acclaimed percussionist Bengt Berger, one of Don Cherry's close associates. The music presented on this extremely rare record is unusually singular. With an unadorned guitar tone, simple and straightforward, and low action, Harde's slinky, spidery runs and knotty, weirdly shaped chords have a surprisingly fresh sound four decades after he recorded them, with heavy chromaticism and a defiant rhythmic freedom. Basically unknown since this lone release, which he thought would gain more traction than it did, Harde retreated to work in a bakery on the island. A testament to both his strangeness and his brilliance, the eponymous LP has never before been issued. Corbett vs. Dempsey worked with Harde's family and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, a huge Harde fan who lovingly produced the CD reissue for CvsD.
1. Substance I (2:53)
2. Incitement (4:18)
3. Bigaroon (2:49)
4. Substance II (10:52)
5. Cordial L (7:17)
6. Electrification (12:16)
Staffan Harde, guitar
Lars Sjösten, piano (3, 5, 6)
Lars-Urban Helje, bass (2, 3, 5), percussion (6)
Bengt Berger, drums, percussion (3, 6)
Track 1 recorded by Staffan Harde in Smögen, Sweden, November 12, 1971.
Track 4 recorded by Staffan Harde in Smögen, Sweden, February or March, 1968.
Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, recorded by Leif A. Johnsson, September 19, 1971, in Göteborg, Sweden.
Photography by Björn Lindelöw.
Original release, SJR (Svenska Jazzriksförbunded Records), 1972.
Remastered at Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago, 2015.
CD reissue designed by Sonnenzimmer.
Produced by Mats Gustafsson and John Corbett.
Special thanks to Maria Harde and Bo Harde.