A name has been decided on for the new Benny Anderssons Orkester album, due for release in June 2011. It will be called O klang och jubeltid – an English translation is O time of sound and rejoicing.
Aftonbladet had access to a recording session at Benny’s brand new Riksmixningsverket (RMV) recording studio on Skeppsholmen, Stockholm.
As well as recording their thoughts on the day’s session, the publication also took some fantastic pictures which you can view by clicking on the montage below.
I have written to Aftonbladet seeking permission to translate the article and reproduce the images, with full credit given to reporter Jens Peterson and ace photographer Björn Lindahl but am still awaiting a response.
I’m hoping they don’t mind too much but now that the article is over a week old, I decided to publish it for the promotion of the project. Here is a summary of the article.
Blood, sweat and laughter
Music can be built from joy. The joy should have patience. When Benny Anderssons Orkester is recording their new album, it builds bit by bit.
Benny Andersson sings. He sings all the time. No, not in the microphone.
Benny Andersson sings to indicate how to do it. He sings through arrangements that Göran Arnberg has printed for the three instrumentalists.
He goes into the booth and sings through strings parts with Orsa Spelmän.
He replicates the rhythm “zacka hummar-dack-a-chack” to indicate where the guitar is scheduled to come in.
Benny Andersson sings out.
The faces behind the voices of Benny Anderssons Orkester are sitting in a corner and studying the notes they received. Tommy Körberg and Helen Sjöholm are not quite satisfied with the song, they added.
“Why we hear so much is because we can’t be our voices,” says Tommy Körberg and frowns.
Six songs have been recorded.
In the morning, two songs are recorded with the entire band playing. In three days, they put down six songs at Benny Andersson’s new studio RMV. All at once. It is best that way. The whole orchestra all at the same time, the way BAO sounds on stage.
“It’s like a family,” says Helen Sjöholm. “Fun to be with and to record all together. We are usually able to use some of the song performed in the first take.”
But a few lines she should do again. There, she is not alone. There are many small pieces of material considered and discarded.
It is not yet clear which songs will wind up on the record.
“I am worried that there are too many ballads,” says Benny Andersson. The older one gets, the slower the songs move.
O klang and jubeltid is the name of the album – to be released in early June. In the preceding month, there will be a single.
“Everything is visible when you are naked”, sings Helen Sjöholm.
The song sounds very BAO, and driven by Calle Jakobsson’s bass tuba. The difficult tuba line is advancing up the musical scale and is reminiscent of one of the archipelago boats that are visible through the studio window. Out there it begins to resemble our creation. The music sounds like summer.
They add more wind instruments.
“Hello! Stop. Something sounds wrong.
– That! You shouldn’t do that,” says Benny Andersson.
Many ears listen intensely. Hearing sharp as a microscope. They go through arrangements, change a phrase, remove a note.
“We’ll try it and see how it sounds. Do not write it on the notation in ink”, says Benny.
“I’ll write it with blood!” cries Pälle Grebacken.
They play through it once more.
Still not right. New arrangements are tested out.
Benny and arranger Göran Arnberg together discuss new sounds.
The laws of the music dictate that that every single fragment of sound is like a seasoning, seeing how it fits into the whole.
The simmer of audio is everywhere.
Kalle Moraeus shows Tommy Körberg funny things on his iPhone. He talks about links to quirky clips from his Facebook page. They look like a pair of school kids!
The two laugh themselves red in the face at their iPhone finds and have so much fun that it’s a worry for their health!
Perra Moraeus will add alto saxophone to the song “Kära syster”.
Kära syster is a song about the women who many men fall for. A sister song to “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, in which the singer appeals to another woman not to take her man.
Kära syster (Dear Sister) is quite new, but it sounds as if it has been around for a long time. It is a track that’s easy to dance to, and will attract the top couples onto the floor and beneath the coloured lights on this summer’s tour.
It is ten years since the first BAO record appeared. Ten years since they first played for a dancing audience at Skansen.
Helen Sjöholm sings on Kära syster. The new album also has some duets, and on the song O klang and jubeltid most of BAO lends a voice.
Tommy Körberg also gets to stretch his vocal cords.
I have an old Jussi-dänga to sing, Tantis serenad, he said. And Jag hör en sång. The lyric is incredible.
Not just the lyric. The song with the working title Jag hör en sång sounds like a new classic from Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and has a sober and dignified solo on bass tuba in the middle.
It was recorded in one take with Tommy Körberg singing along to everyone. He wants to fix his vocals a bit, but … no, it sounds too good.
“You’ll be pestering me a long time to change that”, says Benny Andersson and pats Tommy Körberg.
Kärs syster may need a bit more ‘dressing’. Perra Moraeus finishes his piece of the puzzle.
“Yes sir. It was just right,” said Benny Andersson.
But the song is not quite finished yet. Brass and strings can be improved on.
It went to hell right away, is heard with a heavy sigh from within the studio.
The tone in the studio is rough, well, crude. The kind of rude jokes you tell people you like and are familiar with.
“Calle Jakobsson – you can get out of the studio now”, says Benny Andersson. “We should not have any trombone now. And we will have no trombone. You should not be playing.”
Calle Jakobsson enters the control room and pretends to be upset.
“It’s like ‘Robinson’. One contestant by one contestant, we remove ourselves from the studio,” he says. Pure farewell symphony.
The hunt for the wrong note continues.
“There is something strange somewhere,” said Benny Andersson. “I do wonder if it’s not me.”
He decides to record again.
Kära syster has three key changes. Moraeus may try adding on guitar, mandolin and ukulele. The chords on the ukulele take a while for him to find.
“It sounds like someone who can do better,” said Benny Andersson.
“I’m probably wrong” says Moraeus.
Finally, they realise that during a multi-instrumental chord, one chord is being played that is not the same as anyone else is playing in the song.
“Now I realise why,” says Moraeus.
His pieces are set right. Everything is ready.
Benny is sitting at the console and moves the sliders while the song plays through. He highlights instrument by instrument, adds on effect by effect and builds a more complete sound and it well, sounds amazing from the large speakers.
He looks into the now empty dark studio. Listening, concentrating. A working day is over. Another song is finished.
Article by Jens Peterson. Rough translation, not to be relied upon (!) by icethesite.
Thank you to Niclas Ericsson.
This is BAO:
- Benny Andersson, piano, accordion, ukulele, music, producer
- Göran Arnberg, keyboards
- Janne Bengtson, flute
- Jogga (Jan-Anders) Ernlund, bass
- Pär Grebacken, saxophone and clarinet
- Leif Göras, violin
- Nicke (Nils-Erik) Göthe, violin
- Calle Jakobsson, tuba
- Tommy Körberg, vocals
- Leif Lindvall, trumpet
- Kalle Moraeus, everything
- Olle Moraeus, violin
- Perra (Per-Erik) Moraeus, violin, alto saxophone
- Lars Rudolfsson, accordion
- Helen Sjöholm, vocals
- Jörgen Stenberg, drums.