Åke Hodell – Verbal Brainwash And Other Works 3CD Box
Åke Hodell (1919 – 2000) was a Swedish experimental text-sound composer and writer who used his compositions to voice political dissent. His work, though congruent with electroacoustic and avant-garde movements, is most closely associated with the ethics and aesthetics of the Fluxus movement.
Hodell was trained as a fighter pilot, but after a crash in 1941 spent several years in the hospital, which catalyzed an antimilitarist ethos and shaped his artistic direction. In his first text, Flyende Pilot (1953) and subsequent books, Hodell explored what he termed “elektronismer”, or “text-sound composition”, which collages field recordings and the narrative human voice in a similar way to radio drama or musique concrète. Many of his text-sound compositions, produced in collaboration with the Swedish Broadcasting commission, had strong political content. “Mr. Smith in Rhodesia” from 1969 protested the racist government led by Prime Minister Ian Smith, and “Where Is Eldridge Cleaver?” questioned the disappearance of the Black Panther and leading ideologist of the black freedom movement believed to have been assassinated under Reagan. “Mr Smith in Rhodesia” was for a long time banned from radio broadcast in Sweden after vigorous protest from the British tabloids.
Hodell also created and headed publishing house Kerberos Förlag (named after the Hellhound in Greek mythology and also the title/subject of one of the pieces included in the Verbal Brainwash collection). Kerberos published books by Öyvind Fahlström, CC Hennix, and Hodell himself, as well as Swedish translations of Vladimir Majakovskij and Arthur Cravan.
Mats Lindström’s introductory liner notes to the original edition:
This is the authorized edition of the collected text-sound compositions of Åke Hodell. It includes all titles which Hodell himself described as text-sound compositions. The collection is taken from the time of the premiere of “General Buddy-Buddy” and “Presentarms” in 1963 up to “Spirit of Ecstasy” from 1977. During this period, Åke also worked with radio drama that often had certain parallels to text-sound and which were drama. This CD box is a living example taken from the most vital period in the history of the Music Department of the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation (Sveriges Radio, SR) and a monument to the fruitful collaboration between Fylkingen and SR.
I enjoyed close collaboration with Åke Hodell during the work on this production. We had our last conversation about two days before his death. He had approved all three discs and had the day before received a 30% scale copy of the sleeve, which he had managed somehow to proofread, probably with the help of a magnifying glass and considerable exertion. We communicated what changes should be made and thereafter he approved the release. He left all further responsibility with me and bade me farewell, the importance of which I did not realise at the time. Åke listened patiently to all the new edited versions of the pieces included here, always giving fresh views. All changes to the original tapes were made in cooperation with Åke.
Sylve Sjöberg, the engineer who realised most of Åke Hodell’s works for the Music Department of SR, oversaw the mastering from the original tapes. The technical know-how and the professionalism which thanks to Sylve Sjöberg’s work shines through Åke Hodell’s production reaching a climax in Spirit of Ecstasy, but this can only truly be experienced in the concert version for four-channel tape. We hope to make digital four-channel versions available in the future.
— Mats Lindström, 2000
releases January 21, 2019
Analog to digital transfers by Sylve Sjöberg
All tracks digitally remastered by Mats Lindström under the supervision of Åke Hodell
Cover art by Åke Hodell from a poster by Anders Ljungman
Executive producer for original edition: Mats Lindström
Graphic Design for this edition by John Chantler