IN THE LABYRINTH – SAMAS ANTARAL
In The Labyrinth is a Swedish band consisting of the multi-instrumentalists Peter Lindahl, Stefan Ottman and Håkan Almkvist who all play many special instruments, as well as singer Helena Selander. They are assisted by various guest musicians. Innovative, experimental but also melodic is how Lindahl describes their music. I can relate to this.
In the period between 1996 and 2002 they made three albums and in 2011, the compilation One Trail To Heaven (reviewed in iO Pages 106). The recordings on Samas Antaral are also not new because they were made between 1973 ande 2017,the main bulk in 1993 - 1994. The album is based on a story by Stefan Ottman and former band member Mikael Gejel. The music of In The Labyrinth is a beautiful mix of instrumental proggy music, Eastern as well as Celtic sounds. The fans of Gandalf and Mike Oldfield but also Dead Can Dance should listen to this. That the recordings are not new, we hear in the opening song Glindar because there we are presented with synthesizer sounds and a sample of a shakuhachi flute that were widely used in the eighties. This changes into a beautiful folky melody in the title piece with lots of flute, acoustic guitar and mandolin. The music is largely instrumental but The Raven Prince and The Road From Raudalin are beautifully sung, prog-like pieces. Lindahl takes care of the vocals.
The album has many atmospheres from the East and Middle East. Vormakk Of The Marshlands, Gar Skuorras and The Fall Of Tombuk - with sitar - are examples of this.
There are also quiet moments, for example in Undimon (In The Deep), Elk Warriors, The Heart Of The World, which almost sounds like chamber music and also in Balindargoth, in which Lindahl plays Mellotron. Then there are moments with refined acoustic guitar, as in Perrisendrach.
In The Labyrinth makes varied and quite unique music that, unfortunately, you don't get to hear so much of these days.
IN THE LABYRINTH – SAMAS ANTARAL
A very engaging, moody, world-beat extravaganza
What can you say about a record that's taken twenty-fice years to see the light of day? That is what we have here with Samas Antaral, an album that started life as far back as 1973. This is a concept album of twenty compostions that amount to just about seventy-six minutes of music interlaced with a few vocal tracks and some heroic narration. It is a musical retelling of a story written by Stefan Ottman and Mikael Gejel in the 80s and then published as a series in a fantasy magazine called 'Drömskrinet'. With that in mind each of these songs or musical pieces takes its thematic cues from the intent of the story creating a kind of soundtrack or cinematic experience through which we come to appreciate the Lord of the Rings styled saga. As on previous In the Labyrinth releases it is Peter Lindahl who is the mastermind and prime music mover. Musically Samas Antaral is kind of all over the map in terms of musical influences. There's a little folk-rock, some psychedelic influences, lots of ethnic and world-beat compositions and then some dramatic more symphonic segments. All these different musical inspirations go to conveying the story. Musical comparisons for my ears would be a lot of Mike Oldfield and Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds. It's the type of disc I found you had to spend time to fully appreciate. In fact, the perfect listening for me was in the car during a long drive. It made some great traveling music. Very engaging and satisfying.
Written by Jerry Lucky for The Progressive Rockfiles
In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this “well-hidden-but-patiently-waiting- to-be-discovered” band from Stockholm, Sweden. Peter Lindahl – main man – formed a band called Aladdin’s Lantern, back in 1980, a band clearly influenced by Middle Eastern music. During the 90s they had switched from being a part-time live act to becoming a band more or less confined to the studio environment. Around ’93 the name Aladdin’s Lantern was swapped for Labyrinth and in ’94 to In The Labyrinth, which was essentially a way to avoid the risk of being confused with the heavy rock band Labyrinth. They released 3 CD albums, “The Garden Of Mysteries” (1996, Ad Perpetuam Memoriam), “Walking On Clouds” (1999, Record Heaven) and “Dryad” (2002, Record Heaven). I was first introduced to In The Labyrinth by Trail Records’ CD compilation “One Trail To Heaven” released in 2011. Unfortunately, since then, the band hadn’t released anything, but they’re finally back with a grandiose stunning concept album! “Samas Antaral” is their 5th album, released by Transubstans records, a subdivision of Record Heaven (unfortunately only on CD format). The album is built on a self-titled saga, once written by Stefan Ottman and former In The Labyrinth member Mikael Gejel and was adopted later on by Stefan and Peter. The songs were recorded mainly around 1993-1994 (parallel to the recordings for their first album). But there are also a few tracks or parts of tracks with a recording date back to the faraway 1973 and 1974! Of course, there are a few “pieces” that had been added more recently. So, we’re talking about an album that started back in 1973 and completed in 2018!
“Samas Antaral” tells the
story of an island that
sometime will rise up from the sea… And at this point, I will tell no
the story because I do not want to spoil the fun of listening with
and anticipation. I caught myself waiting patiently for the “narrator”
the continuing flow of this mystical musical journey so I can hear what
happened next to The Raven Prince, or to The Eagle Dreamer or to
fairytale is divided into 20 musical pieces ticking from 1:49 to
most of the songs here are instrumental. The scenery, depending on the
the story, is mystical, other times emerges a medieval feeling,
or sad, scary or adventurous. Folklore traditional music mixed with
Eastern, blending Baroque styles with pinches of Renaissance music and
Greek rebetiko music! All these, under a rather cinematic approach.
to “Samas Antaral” is like dreaming with your eyes open! Tripping into
Parallel Universe! Enchanting!
“Glindar” (S Ottman)
“Samas Antaral” (P Lindahl/ S Ottman/ M
“The Raven Prince” (P Lindahl/
“Vormakk of the Marshlands” (P
“Gar Skuorras” (P Lindahl)
“Jambekko” (P Lindahl/ S
“Nargal” (P Lindahl/ S Ottman)
“Undimon (In the Deep)” (P
Lindahl/ S Ottman) A part of a
recording called ‘Atlantis’, made by Peter in 1974, was copied and
to form the midsection of this song. It serves as a backdrop for
recitation, which was added more recently. For the rest of it, the
is built up mainly around mellotrons, synthesizers, a concord of viola
gambas and the voice of Helena Selander. "The Eagle Dreamer” (S Ottman)
"The Eagle Dreamer” (S Ottman)
“Return of the Hermit” (P
Lindahl/ S Ottman)
“Elk Warriors” (P Lindahl/ S
“Perrisendrach” (S Ottman)
“Samirala” (P Lindahl)
“The Road from Raudalinn” (P Lindahl/
“Gates of Cornat” (P
“The Fall of Tombuk” (P
Lindahl/ S Ottman)
“Balindargoth” (P Lindahl/ S
“Gormoth’s Dance” (S Ottman)
“Logrila” (P Lindahl/ S Ottman)
Peter Lindahl: Vocals, choir
& chanting, electric
guitar, 6 & 12 string guitar, mandolin, Turkish saz, electric bass
& synth bass, mellotron, baroque traverse, quena, recorders,
shawm, keyboards, church organ, melodion, percussion, viola da gamba,
guitar, zither & sound effects.
Stefan Ottman: Narration, choir & chanting, acoustic 6 string guitar, acoustic & electrified 12 string guitar, recorders, kazoo & keyboard.
Håkan Almkvist: Sitar,
E-Bow guitar, electric bass &
Helena Selander: Angelic voice &
Robert Eklund: Pedal guitar, archlute, Celtic
Styrbjörn Bergelt: Willow flute (on
Elkwarriors), Stefan Lakatos: Trimba
(on Samirala), Marcos Chagallo: Violin, Micke Lövroth: Violin, Fereidon Nadimi: Daf,
Miriam Oldenburg: Accordion, Carlos Yoyi: Bb Trumpet (on Samirala)
TimeLord Michalis for Time machine
IN THE LABYRINTH – SAMAS ANTARAL
In the late 1990s and onwards Swedish world music/progressive outfit In The Labyrinth released three albums of marvellous music, founded in the main on the playing and writing of Peter Lindahl. The Garden Of Mysteries, Walking On Clouds and Dryad walked a fine line between prog and world music, but rooted in the imagination of Lindahl all three albums conjured up marvellous sonic imaginings: lyrical, sophisticated, exotic. Much later, in 2011, a compilation showing the breadth and depth of Lindahl’s music was released on the eastward-looking Trail Records (One Trail To Heaven), but since then nothing has been heard from the Swedish multi-instrumentalist – until now. Transubstans Records have released a brand new disk, Samas Antaral, which consists of seventy minutes of intricate, beautifully played and recorded songs. As before, the artwork is special too, created by Lindahl himself.
Although most of the songs here were recorded in the early 1990s (as with The Garden of Mysteries), some tracks date from twenty years earlier, while some sections were added more recently. Samas Antaral is in fact a concept album, a saga written by Stefan Ottman and Mikael Gejel in the 1980s and published in a magazine called Drömskrinet – hints of magic and fantasy abound. The music reflects the atmosphere of this story, and in twenty separate sections follows the saga.
The music opens with light synths and a shakuhachi sample
before heading off
into traditional ITL territory – exotic keyboards, beautiful
and a sensation of exploring new lands. There
are hints here of such artists as
Phil Thornton. The title track brings in a narration (from the
mentioned above) before a loping, strident rhythm begins, and heavier
instrumentation. As ever, it’s all beautifully played and produced –
has excellent ears. The Raven Prince is more of an eastern sounding
Jambekko is a vibrant waltztime folk piece, again beautifully played on
ethnic instruments that Lindahl uses to such good effect. This piece is
little like the ‘folk’ pieces in the films Time Bandits and Dark
Later in the album Return Of The Hermit is a beautiful guitar-based piece, with a lovely melody and descending chord sequence. This piece, along with many others, show one of Lindahl’s particular skills, that of orchestration. Elk Warriors is a flute and synth-based interlude before, later still, one of the longer cuts arrives, Samirala, whose woozy melody, taken up by a choir then transferred to other instruments, is a real beauty. The South American instrumentation makes it especially gorgeous – definitely an album highlight. Gates Of Cornat is an acoustic tune with thrumming harpsichord in the background and a Celtic hint in the playing. Three short closing tracks all merge narration, keyboards, melody and sonic beauty – a fitting end to a marvellous journey.
Fans of In The Labyrinth will no doubt love this album, which
shows off all
the many skills of Peter Lindahl. The orchestration and production is
particularly high quality, while the melodies all float marvellously
superb playing. A real stunner of an album, in fact, which all fans of
progressive music should check out, even if they’re not fans of the
In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral
Progressive Rock from Sweden, with classical and oriental overtones, finally completed and released after 25 years!
I go through
the music and I have a feeling that
can justify my premonition
that up in the frozen north where human existence is interlocked with
and angst, things take place in order to activate the cells of the
so suddenly, instead of an exodus from hibernation in spring, this
occur in the winter's fall.
evolution of Lindahl's album and how it
came to be is symptomatic in the way that it all became very time
regards to several decades required to complete and release it for the
and well exceeding the expected time limit. For twenty-five years he
(sporadically) worked on Samas Antaral, which is his fifth album with
In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral
Peter Lindahl is the brainchild behind this essentially instrumental project dating back to nearly 25 years ago. This album, the fifth by the group, even comprises a few tracks recorded as early as 1973!
Peter worked on it with his good friend Stefan Ottman while building on a saga written in the 80s dealing with heroic fantasy. In fact, the 20 titles offer a musical melting pot merging together Middle Ages, Middle Eastern, various scores but also Baroque music where beauty touches on melancholic desolation in some of the tracks while limitless joy dominates others.
For references one could navigate towards
early Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield, pertaining to guitar oriented
atmospheres and minstrel bells,
but also to vibes of the High Andes and Ennio Morrricone, Goran
Bregovic as well as Tangerene dream.
This album is essentially conceptual,
intermissions chaining the songs seamlessly together in perfect
leading us from Oldfieldian shores to the extreme East and into the
with a few hinted notes of the master spaghetti western composer
then flawlessly, we leave for the High Andes and El condor pasa after
take the ship to Greece (ah, that bouzouki still resonates inside my
after some narration by Stefan, it’s time to plunge into yet another
culture in some other remote part of the world.
So to round this off, I will not try and
make an analysis of each
title, neither will I claim that the atmospheres of Samas Antaral draw
inspiration from any particular band or artist. No I will simply say
this album has its own sound, is stamped 2018 and that it inevitably
you to travel, then travel more and more.
In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral (Released by Transubstans Records, 2018. Progressive Melodic Rock)
Just before the end of 2011, the CD "One Trail To Heaven" was released on the American Trail Records label featuring the Swedish band In The Labyrinth, which from 1996 onwards have had several albums released on CD. The driving force behind this outfit is multi instrumentalist Peter Lindahl, who has been making music ever since the mid-sixties and also bass guitarist Hakan Almkvist (Ensemble Nimbus, Orient Squeezers, Flying Food Circus and Tweendeck 2) who handles instruments such as the sitar, tabla and E-bow guitar.
In 1996 In The Labyrinth released their first CD titled "The Garden Of Mysteries", which was re-released in 2012 by the Transsubstans label.
In 1999 the successor "Walking On Clouds" came on the market and in 2002 "Dryad". And both CD's were released by Record Heaven.
On "One Trail To Heaven" there are several songs from the above mentioned albums, supplemented with unreleased songs and alternative versions. But the band's fifth album is called "Samas Antaral" and is finally finished after a delay of more than 25 years. Most songs from this album were recorded in the beginning of the 90s, but there are also songs and parts of songs dating from around 1973-74, while there are also pieces on it cut more recently.
In 1980, Peter Lindahl, Mikael Gejel and Ulf Hansson formed the band Aladdin's Lantern, which in the 10 years thereafter sporacially changed direction as well as line up, with Peter being the constant factor. One of the musicians, who at that time played in the band - which from 1993 was called Labyrinth and a year later In The Labyrinth - was Stefan Andersson while another was Karin Langhard-Gejel. The music they played was Middle Eastern oriented and also had influences from Greek, Turkish popular and Indian classical music, but also from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bo Hansson, Mike Oldfield, Ennio Morricone, Goran Bregovic and Pink Floyd and other sources of inspiration.
"Samas Antaral" is based on a saga by the same name, written by Stefan Ottman and Mikael Gejel in the 80s as a series for the fantasy magazine "Drömskrinet". The musicians who took part in these recordings were: Stefan Ottman - narrator, choral, chants, acoustic 6 and 12 string guitar, kazoo, keyboards and recorders, Peter Lindahl - vocals, choirs and chants, solo guitar, 6 and 12 string guitar , Turkish saz, bass guitar, synrgesizer bass, mellotron, recorders, keyboards, church organ, percussion, zither, okarina, shennai, schalmei, bass violin, mandolin, baroque traverse, quena, curved guitar and sound effects, Hakan Almkvist - sitar, bass guitar, Indian tabla and E-bow guitar, Helena Selander - angelic voice and choral singing, Robert Eklund - pedal guitar, Celtic harp, old and bow lute, Alejandro Vega - Pan flute, violin and charango (guitar from the Andes), Marcos Chagallo - violin , Micke Lövroth - violin, Fereidon Nadimi - Daf,Miriam Oldenburg - accordion, Carlos Yoyi - trumpet (1 number), Styrbjörn Bergelt - willow flute (1 number), Stefan Lakatos - trimba (1 number) and Kaijsa Vilhuinen - chants (1 number).
And it is worth noting that the paintings and drawings were made by Peter Lindahl, while Hakan Almkvist provided the graphic design.
The album, released on CD on the 27th of April 2018 by the Transsubstans label, is also to be accessed as digital download and it contains all in all 20 songs, kicking off with "Glindar", in which I get a beautiful, rather quiet, melodic Oriental sounding song, in which heavenly choral singing is provided, then followed by the title traack "Samas Antaral", a deliciously exciting, catchy mix of folk, Eastern and Russian music which is very danceable and accompanied by a spoken text at the beginning and end. Then this track is followed by " The Raven Prince ", an excellent melodic progressive rock song that has some excellent tempo changes.
Then the band presents to me "Vormakk Of The Marshlands" and I hear a short Oriental piece, which contains a slightly threatening effect, which is then followed by the equally short "Gar Skuorras" where I anticipate a nice swinging traditional sounding oriental folk song, which is then followed by "Jambekko", a beautiful Irish folk song, which boasts some tempo changes as well as light classical influences, after which appears the full remastered version of "Nargal", which is a slightly threatening Oriental song, once again boasting various tempo changes. In "Undimon (In The Deep)" the band puts out a magnificent progressive rock song, which contains spoken text and that is somewhat mysterious and threatening, while in "The Eagle Dreamer" the band plays me, once again, a beautiful melodic Oriental sounding song before “Return Of The Hermit" picks up, in which I get to hear a similar type of song, this one also carrying a very danceable rhythm. Then comes "Elk Warriors", a nice quiet dark sounding song, which is followed by "Perrisendrach", which begins with spoken words, then continuing in a nice and subtle way. And also in "The Heart Of The World" "the band plays a delightfully quiet, classical-sounding kind of song. Then I get "Samirala", in which the influences of the music from the Andes are clearly audible and this song has a very catchy rhythm, which is followed by "The Road From Raudalin", an excellent melodic ballad, also with influences from the Inca culture, after which I hear "Gates Of Cornat" in which in The Labyrinth once again performs such a great Oriental sounding type of music, which also has a danceable rhythm but also sounding slightly mysterious, to then be followed by "The Fall Of Tombuk", a fantastic swinging up tempo song, that sounds cheerful and encourages dancing.
Furthermore I hear "Balindargoth", which begins with spoken words, after which the band once again gives me a nice quiet song, which contains heavenly choirs and then "Gormoth's Dance" this being a wonderful Oriental sounding song, that swings and sounds cheerful, followed by "Logrila", that contains spoken words, while being accompanied by beautiful quiet Irish folk music, with which the band closes the album in an appropriate way.
"Samas Antaral" from In The Labyrinth contains mainly beautiful quiet songs, which are a pleasure to listen to and I can warmly recommend this album to all lovers of Oriental music, as well as music from the Andes and Irish folk, but
also those who love progressive melodic rock will certainly come into their own.
* The music of this band / artist can also be heard on Monday evenings between
8:00 PM and 10 PM (European time) in the radio program Carry's Music Machine
Carry Munther, March 2018
In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral (In Finish plus brief translation in English)
Peter Lindahlin luotsaama ruotsalaisprojekti palaa tällä viidennellä albumillaan omaan historiaansa: suurin osa levyn kappaleista sai alkunsa 90-luvun alkupuolella ja osa materiaalista on jopa peräisin vuosilta 1973-1974. Nyt tämä alun perin In the Labyrinth -debyytin rinnakkaisprojektina alkunsa saanut teos on vihdoinkin viimeistelty ja julkaistu.
Levy perustuu Stefan Ottmanin - joka on myös mukana tällä levyllä - ja Mikael Grejerin 80-luvulla kirjoittamaan Tolkien-henkiseen fantasiakertomukseen. Suurimman osan instrumenteista on soittanut multi-instrumentalisti Peter Lindahl itse ja hän myös tarjoilee levyn harvat lauletut lyriikat. Stefan Ottman kuljettaa tarinaa eteenpäin miellyttävän lämpimällä kertojanäänellään sekä soittaa osan kieli-puhallin ja kosketinso- itinosuuksista. Mukana on 12 muutakin muusikkoa, esimerkiksi heleän sanattomasti laulava Helena Selander. Kun vielä lisätään, että musiikki ammentaa suurimman osan vaikutteistaan folk-keskiaikaosastolta sekoittaen mukaan erilaisia maailmanmusiikkivaikutteita romanttisen kauniiksi, melodiseksi folkprogeksi, lienee tyylilaji riittävän hyvin kuvailtu ilman nimeltä mainittuja vertailukohteitakin.
Jäljelle jää kysymys: onko Peter Lindahl kumppaneineen onnistunut saamaan aikaan hyvää ja kuuntelua kestävää musiikkia? Muutaman kuuntelukerran perusteella oma vastaukseni on "on!" Olen toki yleisestikin suuri folkprogen ystävä, mutta kyllähän näistä aineksista saisi ympäripyöreätä ja ennalta-arvattavan makeaa höttöäkin. Samas Antaral ei ole sellaista. 77 minuutin pituudestaan huolimatta kokonaisuus pysyy hyvin kasassa ja mielikuvitusta on annosteltu reilulla kädellä, vaikkei tässä toki mitään radikaalia uudistusta tarjoillakaan.
Aion kuunnella tätä levyä usein. Toisaalta: ei Samas Antaralia tietysti voi suositella kenellekään, joka vihaa kaunista musiikkia!A brief summary in English by the author himself:
Probably the best way to categorize this
music would be to define it as 'melodic folk-prog' and so with these
basic ingredients it would have been easy to create a
predictable and cheesy album, which Samas Antaral is definitely not!
it's full of ideas and the album holds together very well despite of
Pakarinen for Colossus Ry
In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral
The fifth album by the band In The Labyrinth, ‘Samas Antaral’, has finally been completed after a delay of more than 25 years! It's extraordinary that the songs were actually recorded mostly around the early 90s, in parallel with their debut album The Garden Of Mysteries.
The album of the year is varied and completely instrumental apart from wordless vocals. Some of the tracks or parts of tracks were actually recorded in the early 70's, while the concept of Samas Antaral borrows its inspiration from a saga once written by Stefan Ottman and Mikael Gejel in the Fanatasy magazine ‘Drömskrinet’. Consequently, the context is not different from the Lord of the Rings.
As always, Peter Lindahl is the central figure of the band, with his musicianship spanning up to 20 more or less exotic instruments. Lindahl has also been responsible for the production, mastering and mixing of Samas Antaral. Several guest musicians have contributed with various instruments including Indian tabla and daf! The two mentioned instruments are percussion instruments and daf is really an Indian tambourine. Lindahl has received good help from former In The Labyrinth member Stefan Ottman who also plays an array of varied instruments.
The song Nargal was initially made as part of Samas Antaral but ended up on the CD album Dryad. Now Nargal reappears in a partially remixed and completely remastered version.
Also it should be said that Stefan Ottman and Håkan Almkvist helped co-produce the album.
Samas Antaral offers a distinctive music
and it would
surprise me much if not many who like prog and related music styles,
music that is unlike most of what has been heard out there, will like
album ?! ‘Progarchives’ also count In The labyrinth as prog people.
Today, March 2018
Labyrinth Samas Antaral (In Swedish)