This is the first in a series I’ll be doing periodically from time to time that I intend to call “Indie Archives.” You might have noticed that AMS Radio has a few playlists titled by this series name. The original intent of the “Archives” series was to hold on to some of the fantastic music that once came through the revolving “Anarchy” list. That playlist is, in a way, the ‘”turnkey” or “featured” playlist of the station. There is so much great independent music that comes and goes so fast these days, that sometimes when you look back at things from a time and place, you find yourself saying, “oh wow, I remember that” as if you have forgotten it, but instantaneously relive the memory in real time. Been happening to me a lot lately. That’s kind of the point of the “Archives” post. Today, the “Archives” playlists are as much a featured playlist as “Anarchy” or our Hard N’ Heavy ones. We’ve grown a bit! They all receive submissions these days, get filled, and are rotated monthly now as well. Leaving me to compile what was originally intended for the concept of “Archives” in a new playlist series (a top 200 list each) called “The Bullpen.” Guess what I’m trying to say is I have a hard time letting go of things. But why? You might be asking. Believe it or not, the very idea of preserving underappreciated independent artist treasures was one of the key factors behind starting the radio station. I had played in a few different bands during the first decade of the 2000s. To the kids these days, those are ancient times. And back then, streaming was in its infancy. No real foresight as to what it would be like today. Sure, there were impressions and speculations, but the magnitude of what it is today, the bizarre obsessions we have with things related to Spotify, all of that was certainly not foreseen. I played with, watched, and worked with a ton of great musicians and artists that most will likely never know about. Unless you tune in some to AMS Radio, where I decided to harvest a good portion of my old CD demo collections from locals in the West Coast Region (primarily the Reno/ Northern California area). Some great music that will likely never see the light of day and sadly, will likely never be heard. I wanted to preserve some of that, as foolish or as miniscule as it may seem. So, what’s with the long tirade? Well, first to tell you that the blog will be revisiting things that may have been around for a little while that are worth revisiting. Sometimes it will be older stuff. Sometimes it will be way old stuff personal to me that you probably had no idea existed. Secondly, to extend the offer that if you have some local or independent demos from “the old days” that you would like to preserve in some manner as such, rip them and send them on into the radio station. I’d be happy to spin it. And thirdly, to introduce the first installment of Archives, Tomas Bersten’s Fantasy. We’ll be revisiting his song “Hunted” from the 2020 album “Oceans of Time.” Now granted, 2020 is not old by any means to me. If you are like my daughter, who says things to me like, “oh yeah? Like WAY back in 2014?” Then maybe. From my perspective, it feels like I never completely got through 2020. Still living through it. Part of why “Hunted” is a good candidate for kicking off the first of the “Archives” series. Albeit, a fresh archive, you could say. At 600k uploads a day to Spotify, a 2020 release as we are on the cusp of embarking on 2023 is something that I think is worthy of revisiting.
Tomas Bergsten’s Fantasy is a project of Swedish musician Tomas Bergsten. The catalogue is actually a reimagination of songs he wrote for a band he was in during the time period of 1987 to 1991. It would be interesting to see what variations, if any of significance, exist between these “Reimagined” versions and what he was working on with Michael Friman, Göran Greus, Ekko Kartunen, and Arto Kartunen in the original project simply titled “Fantasy.” Bergsten has stated in the past that there was some modernization but did not clarify if that was in terms of lyricism or production, or perhaps a little of both. Poking around online, I didn’t find much in the way of the original project to compare. Nevertheless, and fortunate for us, Tomas Bergsten’s Fantasy is more than plenty available on all streaming platforms. Today, the project is primarily a showcase of work between him and his brother Tobias Bergstern. However, if you browse through the catalogue, you will see collaborations with many artists all over the world. If I were to summarize the sound, I would describe it as a blend of Prog and Power Metal. I would recommend it for fans of Ghost, The Scorpions, Dio, and Dokken.
Of the tracks on the album, I wanted to revisit the song “Hunted” featuring a collaboration with Maria Rådsten. This one in particular, because I think it is a fascinating encapsulation of that 2020 time period. I would describe it as very “montage” sounding. With lyrics during the verses like “we can’t look behind us anymore, we and you will make it that’s for sure,” over a pulsating bass and “Eye of The Tiger” type of backbeat, it invokes a powerful and uplifting feeling. During the chorus the duo sings, “Yes we know how to survive because we are living in a world of danger. Hunted.” That definitely places me back to a specific spot in my mind when this song was released. Granted, the lyrics very well could have been a product of something Bergsten penned in the late eighties, that is plausible. And if so, my goodness that aged well, didn’t it? On the other hand, the time period in which it was officially released also could have very well been an influence on some of the modernization Bergsten spoke of previously too. Either way, as we head into the new year and I process some of the hardships that surface around those times (yeah, I’m one of those people); this is a great, uplifting song for me to revisit and I’m glad to have it in the back pocket for a refresher. When will we hear again from Mr. Bergsten? I don’t know. I will say that he did post recently on his Facebook page, and that’s some interesting development…best way to know for sure is to give Tomas Bergsten’s Fantasy a follow online.
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