"With Floury Hand (Sketches) is exhilarating listening (and viewing), and in a world now without Lars, poignant and bittersweet." Dave Lynch/All Music Guide
Lars Hollmer was a Swedish composer, accordionist and keyboardist. He was a founding member of the influential "Rock in Opposition (R.I.O.)" movement. His band Samla Mammas Manna, were a huge and hugely popular force on the Swedish progressive rock / avant rock scene for about 15 years in the 70s and into the 80s. After Samla/Zamla/Von Zamla ended in the mid 80s, he founded and performed in a number of other bands. With one or another of his bands he toured throughout Europe, the Americas and beyond.
Starting in the 1980s and concurrent with his band work, he had a solo career where he emphasized his compositions and his accordion playing and he wrote and introduced many beautiful and exciting pieces into the modern accordion repertoire, including a piece that is a modern-day standard in Sweden, "Boeves Psalm".
"Towards the end of working on Viandra, (Lars) talked about wanting to make a new album that would be full of weird ideas and weird songs. He intended the new album to be a contrast to the melancholy and, at times, dark Viandra that he worked so hard with for several years. He said that he dug deep into his archive and found several hours of unreleased stuff, sketches, demos, and even finished songs, ranging from the early 1980s to 2008. He asked me to listen through the material and suggest a sample. That however did not happen as, in May 2008, my father was diagnosed with severe lung cancer and all plans were put on hold.... This is not With Floury Hand as my father might have imagined it and it is not a finished album. It is my selection from the more than four hours of music my father himself collected for his album. It is a mix of more or less unfinished songs and sketches that I love. It is full of wild and crazy ideas and antics, pieces of utter frivolity, but equally places full of delicate beauty. This is music straight from the heart. Just like how my father was."-Gabriel Strand Hollmer
With Floury Hand is the final release by Lars Hollmer. In addition to the CD that contains the best recordings of what he was working on before he died and which is a treat in itself, also included is a professionally filmed DVD from 2005 of a performance at the Gouveia Art Rock Festival in Portugal. The beautiful 45' performance here has six solo pieces, four duet pieces with his long-time friend and musical associate, bassoonist Michel Berckmans (of Univers Zero and Von Zamla), and one track with Miriodor, with all of them performing "Talrika", the piece Lars specifically wrote for them, plus DVD extras.
This DVD is the only professional video footage ever released of Lars and it's a revelation (or a wonderful reminder) to see and hear what a gigantic sound he got out of his huge and beautiful Zero Sette accordion. The joy and humor and melody of his work and the enthusiastic response from the audience is wonderfully captured here.
Above is the official preview trailer for the DVD.
Active in music for over 40 years, Lars Hollmer first got together with his friends to play music in late-'60s Sweden. This band eventually became the legendary Rock In Opposition band Samla Mammas Manna. Concurrently towards the end of Samlas original life-span (the band reformed in the 00s and is recording and playing shows again), Lars started a solo career, where he emphasized his very personal compositions and his accordion playing, of which he is a master. Lars solo albums have a great warmth, intimacy, and even innocence to them. Although he makes music that can be abrasive and even purposefully a bit demented, with rough textures, quirky instrumentation, and unusual rhythms and time signatures, Hollmer's compositions are mostly tuneful and easy going, sometimes catchy, and often disarmingly lovely.
In addition to Lars performance on accordions and keyboards, percussion and vocals, also appearing are Michel Berckmans (Univers Zero) on bassoon, English horn and oboe, Santiago Jimenez on violins and Andreas Tengberg on cello, among others.
"The music on Viandra was recorded and mixed between 2001 and 2007, amidst all the other projects that sent Hollmer packing up his accordion and rushing to the airport for the next flight out of Stockholm. The music itself is as...strangely -- sometimes as magically -- wonderful as anything Hollmer has recorded in his solo career. Lars dominates on keyboards and accordion...while the strings and Berckmans' double reeds are secondarily the most dominant voices...more striking is the mood that he brings to the 16 compositions here; a sense of reflection sometimes touched with melancholy, a side of him sometimes lost in his collaborative projects with others." David Lynch/All Music Guide