…Plus, MANY MORE!
Jazzwise Magazine, U.K. November 2018
London Jazz News, U.K. 31 July 2018
“INTERVIEW: Anders Helmerson (trio album the Quantum House Project and Vortex date, 4 Sept)”
Anders Helmerson is a Swedish musician with eclectic taste and a track record of exciting material. With influences from progressive rock, jazz and everything in between, Helmerson’s new album is the latest in a series of original projects. The Anders Helmerson Trio consists of Helmerson’s compositional genius and piano as well as masterly playing by drummer Christian Grassart and bassist Thierry Conand. The trio’s distinctive sound is sure to bring them success as they tour the clubs and festivals of France and the UK this summer. Anders spoke to Brianna McClean:
LondonJazz News: How would you describe the Anders Helmerson Trio?
Anders Helmerson: It could be described as a crossover genre of traditional piano jazz, rock, and neoclassical music. The term trio might have sounded a bit old-fashioned 10 years ago but today piano trio music has become more accepted. It’s contemporary and a bit trendy.
LJN: What is the history of the trio? How did it come to be?
AH: On my previous album, Triple Ripple, I worked with drummer Marco Minnemann and bassist Bryan Beller. It was truly a great experience to work with them but they are living in America and I was looking for musicians closer by. I was looking around the UK first but did not find anyone suitable. I think I tried over 20 different bass players. Then I made contact with MIDEM in France and I was advised to collaborate with the drummer Christian Grassart and the bassist Thierry Conand. We’ve been working together ever since – it has resulted in an album called The Quantum House Project which is about to be released.
LJN: Can you take a moment to introduce us to the other members of the trio?
AH: Christian Grassart is a professional drummer who does jazz, rock and metal. He has been drumming since he was 13 years old and he accompanies renowned French artists such as Patrick Bruel, Norbert Krief of Trust and Patrick Rondat. Thierry Conand is a professional bass player, guitarist, arranger, composer and music teacher. He has been working with a number of artists including Lea Van Sky and Luc Ramirez. He is originally from Nice, France.
LJN: How do dynamics work within the trio? How do you work together?
AH: I write the music and do the arrangements. My music doesn’t have much improvisation, most of it is written on a score. Mostly, when I present the music to the musicians, they will put their own interpretation into the music. The result is often different from my original ideas, which is great. I think I have a strong vision of what I want to produce in terms of timbre and expression. The musicians tell me I’m crazy and maybe that is true. You need to be a bit crazy to spend all your time writing music.
LJN: What has been a highlight of the trio so far? Do you have a favourite composition or performance?
AH: I think the highlights are still to come. We are in the process of starting to playing live and I am looking forward to that, I’m very exited. I don’t have a favourite tune. Sometimes I think my music is like Vivaldi, he was known to have written one symphony in 500 variations just because they were so similar.
LJN: What are your creative inspirations?
AH: I grew up with fusion artists like Zappa and John McLaughlin, and jazz musicians like Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson. I have learned to love other pianists I did not know before such Aaron Goldberg and Marcin Wasilewski. I am interested in Herbie Hancock, in particular his compositions and his fingering. But I think my music is closest to Hiromi. She is the one who opened the door for this genre, crossover piano music.
LJN: We hear you will be playing in various clubs in Paris and London as well as some festivals this year. Do you have a gig you are particularly looking forward to?
LJN: What are your hopes for the trio?
AH: My hope is that I will have more time to write good music. I am now working with some fabulous musicians and that is a true blessing. I hope this project will go far!
LJN: Why do you think the trio deserves a space on the scene?
AH: Our music has the possibility to give an audience something that is more than just entertainment. In my view it has a spiritual facet. The music is lyrical and compelling – poetic and intense. Mostly, I hope that the joy we feel will have an impact on the listener. (pp)
The Anders Helmerson Trio plays the Vortex Jazz Club, London, on 4 September.
(The original article and interview by London Jazz News. 31 July 2018.)
Keyboard Magazine Brazil “Revista Keyboard Brasil” 4th Year No.47, Brazil. June 2017
Anders Helmerson article of cover page:
“From disillusion to success – The journey of Anders Helmerson”
The Swede Anders Helmerson’s musical history is adverse to what is normal. He left his musical career to study medicine and then turned back to music again. This artist who can play lots of instruments created a comb nation of long songs with virtuosity that the surprise the listener. However his success was far from an overnight sensation. Please read this interesting story which is an exclusive interview for this magazine.
Son of pianists, Anders Helmerson studied piano at conservator and also composition. For a while his ambition was to become a classical pianist until he become interested in synthesisers and learn progressive music and modern rock. Under the decade of the 70’s Helmerson played in different bands during his studies in Stockholm. He recorded various pieces of music which his friends. ”One day my professors asked me to play a tape I had under my arm. I told them this was a recording I had done in a professional studio. They insisted to hear it. So I played it. As soon as I turned off the tape recorder they just starred at me. A few days after I was dismissed from school.” the musician is remembering.
After this sad episode happened 1978, Helmerson spend three year working on his first album End of Illusion finished 1981. As this album did not sell the artist sold his instruments and left to Canada.
At the other side of the Atlantics playing with various bands the success was still escaping between his fingers resulting in the artist turning his back completely to the music industry. Disillusioned Helmerson came back to Sweden 1987 to study medicine. During this period his album End of Illusion got cult status and searched for by many people and was approached by Musea, in France for a relaunch 1995. Still Helmerson did not come back to the music. Next 5 years he worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen and also as a ship doctor on a cruise ship. Of his many travels around the work he discovered Rio de Janeiro.
With some Brazilian musicians including the percussionist Roberthimbo Silva and the support of one of the biggest labels in Brazil Helmerson recorded the album Fields of inertia between January and June 2001, including some extra recordings in Cambridge UK. This was all mixed in New York in September before coming back to Rio for final mastering and release in beginning of 2002. Helmerson described this album as being influenced by a mix of classical and techno.
8 years later Helmerson launched his new album Triple Ripple, masterfully produced, emphasising his love for synthesisers and progressive music. With bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann, it was a jazz rock fusion tour de force, that reflects very clearly his music style progressive fusion. Helmerson created all the arrangements, composition and production. The Album was launched by Musea. When the interviewer asked Anders about this opinion of this production he declared it was 1876 bars measured to perfection, the production of Triple Ripple was a true journey.
Living in London since 2001 the musician a few times a week to listening to live music. I try to listen to music a close as possible to progressive fusion. Stanley Clarke, Lee Rithenhour, Randy Breakers are his favourite artists. His talent and ability to invent new forms of cult his musical career is still continuing in high steam.
Anders Helmerson Interview on Keyboard Magazine Brazil “Revista Keyboard Brasil” No.47:
Keyboard Magazine Brazil: Anders tell us about your music background, where did you study. Please give us the details.
Anders Helmerson: I studied piano and composition at conservatory. For some time I had ambition to become a classical pianist but I gave up this ideas when I became interested in progressive music and modern rock. My mother was a piano teacher and she taught me the grounds. My father was a jazz pianist but I think I did not learn much from him. However when I started my first project End Of Illusion between the 70’s and 80’s I could use my experience to create music. When I was working on End of Illusion in 1984 at Decibel Studios in Stockholm I was greatly influenced by Alan Parsons (Beatles and Pink Floyd producer.) Funny enough I met Alan Parsons only a few months ago at Abbey Road Studios. He showed how he produced the sound effects on The Dark Side Of The Moon (Pink Floyd) and I realised how much I was influenced by him as a producer. He concluded that today you can produce those side effects in 5 seconds in Pro Tools. This was in the analog days and the spectacular side effects has lost a little but in value. It has been a long journey since the End of Illusion and the 80’s. The music business has changed but I am still working hard to write music. I am also working hard to develop the technological implications of music.
I am studying piano for a Russian classical pianist from Royal College of Music called Illya Kondratiev. He is coaching my playing and a very important member of the production team.
Keyboard Magazine Brazil: What are the most important and interesting project of your career as an artist? For example CDs or others.
Anders Helmerson: When I think of there past I think each project I was involved with was equally important. I never felt that the work in recording was tiring or stressful. Each one of the projects took three years of work. The End of Illusion was inspired by a novel based on a Japanese artist who had been jailed for political reasons. He painted an impressive landscape while living in his cell. One day he had entered into his own painting scenery and in his own imagination he became a part of the land scape that he created. This led me to reflect on the End of Illusion as the process when you have reached the other side of the painting. You have to realise that if you step in to your art and become a part of it there will be a day when you have to came out at the other side and face the reality – The end of illusion.
My second CD Fields of Inertia was created in Rio in 2001 during the then new digital area. I did have the honour and pleasure to record with Robhertimbo Silva – the best Brazilian percussionist. All the percussion part was created by him. He used not less the 80 tracks like a whole samba orchestra. When I arrived in New York to mix I could not deal with the quantity of tracks therefore it took the whole night. Interestingly there was an article written in the sound magazine Sound on Sound about this production with the headline: “Sound engineer hit by inertia”. Hence the title the CD.
Keyboard Magazine Brazil: What is your opinion on the worldwide progressive rock and its influence on the world art in general?
Anders Helmerson: To be honest, when I just started to work on this kind of music during the 70’s. The concept of progressive music did not exist. Today it is different as the progressive music includes hundreds of different styles and there are many secondary genres such as prog rock, prog metal etc. I would like to call my music progressive fusion. Today it is not easy to find bands with high levels of creativity as it used to be in the past decades. Of course we could mentions creative band as Änglagård, Dream Theatre etc, however I think the most relevant aspect of prog rock is that the composer writes music that is extremely complex as my own previous End Of Illusion and Triple Ripple. Prog rock has lately gained more recognition in the media but is still not recognised in the academic world. When I lunched End Of illusion, the reaction was difficult. I believe it has not changed much.
Keyboard Magazine Brazil: What is your opinion on the philosophy on the creativity? Do you think the philosophical ideas for religious are included in the metaphysic concept?
Anders Helmerson: Definitely. I am fascinated by quantum physics. To me it some kind of mysticism. Difficult or impossible to explain phenomenon that happens day to day life. The modern physics are showing that the electrons are powerful enough to create strange phenomena’s as being at two places at the same time as well as go backwards in time to change things. It is fascinating to observe when scientists measure the electrons they appears to be both in particles and wave form at the same time. When I am writing music I am shooting thousands of particles from my keyboard and the end result is the probability – a product that reflects part of my creative brain. There is no coincidence and also it could not have been done differently. They are waves created from my brain that is why my new project is called The Quantum House Project.
Keyboard Magazine Brazil: What are you current projects?
Anders Helmerson: Well after my third project Triple Ripple I decided to replace heavy keyboard rig for a grand piano. Then I started to write new material and to look for a bass player and a drummer. I was recommended a french drummer called Christian Grassard and through him a bass player called Thierry Conand. I made a recording of the piece Super Position and the result was excellent. For the moment, we are rehearsing a new show by the name: The Quantum House Show. An organic presentation with drum, bass and piano and I cannot wait to play live.
(The original article and interview by Keyboard Magazine Brazil “Revista Keyboard Brasil” 4th Year No. 47, Brazil. June 2017. Special thanks to Revista keyboard Brazil. Translated by Salama Music Management for Anders Helmerson.)
Euro-Rock Press Magazine Vol.54, Japan. August 2012
（以下、英訳になります。日本語の原文は掲載のあるEuro-Rock Press Vol.54をお買い求め下さい。）
Interview: Anders Helmerson:
“My Number One Hero Was Patrick Moraz”
We had an interview with Anders Helmerson, who used to be known by synpho fans as, an existence who had been treated as a “Nordic Happy The Man” due to his highly skilled technical contents at his first album “End Of Illusion” (’81) though, until the release of Musea version of CD his career was covered in a veil of mystery and just his sound was kept on getting the continuous reputation. Later, in 21st century, suddenly from Brazil his second album “Fields Of Inertia” (’02) was released. Also in 2010, a new album with Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller was released and even in his own pace, Anders came back to the scene.
– Well, firstly please tell us your career until the release of “End Of Illusion”.
Anders Helmerson (as AH): I have been raised in a musical family and since early times, I began to listen classic and jazz music. Then, in the beginning of my 10’s, I began to have interests in progressive rock in the same generation of YES, GENESIS, etc. I have listened to Keith Emerson, Eddie Jobson, Rick Wakeman etc a lot though, my number one hero was Patrick Moraz. His “The Story Of ’I’” (’76) was, the source of my maximum inspiration. However, I was so disappointed to his albums after that. Also, I listened to Chick Corea, and of course, the great Frank Zappa very much.
Prior to production of “End Of Illusion”, I have been learning music. I wanted to be a progressive rock composer and musician, therefore I was practicing hard. When I heard that Patrick Moraz was resigned because he tried to make YES more jazz side, I thought I would like to take that way. I was so fascinated by the idea that to make YES to the jazz side, and then I decided that would be my direction. That became a fundamental idea of the concept of “Progressive Fusion” which is my musical style for today. Although in the time of ’81, the concept of progressive music was still unborn and when I was asked “What kind of music do you play?”, I explained that “It’s a mix of rock, jazz and classic” but no one understood me. But now, just saying “I play progressive fusion” is enough!
– How did you process your work when you composed tunes of “End Of Illusion”?
AH: This is a tough question. I have spent 3 years though, during that, I have changed the method then. Everything was a process of learning. The last 20 minutes of the album have been written in the first year and half, and the rest of the earlier part was written after that. If the album was listened in the reverse order, progress can be felt. I hoped, a kaleidoscope of various styles that were made with various shapes. Firstly, I worked for harmony, then added melody. Most of them were quite complicated. Because it was a combination of rare rhythms with Pentatonic scale, Arabic scale, mode scale etc, plus EL&P and the UK, world music and furthermore, a lot of odd time signatures, which I have been inspired by Yugoslavian and Turkish ethnic music.
There were no drum machines at that time, so I had to imagine that “How it will be heard when it was recorded with drums.” I have had a piano and Minimoog at home, so I used these for the fundamental composition.
I have already learnt the importance of enough rehearsals before getting into a studio, therefore for the first 20 minutes of the album, I have had 4 months of rehearsals with a drummer Per Svensson prior to recording. Baseline has been written on scores, so it was possible to record immediately when session musicians came to the studio. So, basically all music have been prearranged and there were not many rooms that session players could do anything original. I was using 24 tracks, 2 inch tapes for recording, so it was very costly. It was quite difficult to record like that. However, the owner of Decibel Studios in Stockholm liked my music, so when the studio was available, a studio engineer Olle Larson helped my recording. We had so many work for many years. So finally, I was called as “a man who had the most expensive recording in Sweden, after ABBA.”
– “End Of Illusion” was once failed and you became a doctor, but you did not involve with any musical activity during that time?
AH: I didn’t look back when I dropped out from music industry. So many times I felt that I wanted to do music though, I was concentrated in my study at university, therefore there was no time for it. Until I visited Brazil, there was absolutely zero opportunity to play music.
– Please tell the reason why you decided to play music again in Brazil.
AH: The life is an adventure, travelling is an adventure, and I realised that music is the ultimate adventure. I didn’t want to stay away from music anymore. So, I bought keyboards and began composing. Then, I felt like I came back to home town. I got really excited. I browsed music studios in Rio, and all in sudden, I began producing again.
– “Fields Of Inertia” was recorded in Rio though, how did you compose? Also, what kind of musician did you use?
AH: “Fields Of Inertia” was a strange experience. After recording in Rio, a documentary of many incidents at mixing in New York was filmed and it’s on YouTube. For composing, I made some riffs at home and brought to the studio, then tried with musicians.
It was not difficult to find musicians in Rio. The rumour of that “Anders Helmerson is making the new album” has been spreaded and some people asked me like “Do you need help?” They were rather Samba kinda musicians than progressive musicians. The most influential was, Roberimho Silva. It was really fun to work with him. He didn’t speak English, but we communicated in music. He came to the studio with a van which was full of percussion. There were something I have never seen before. Making the frame of rhythm was left to him with his freedom and then I freaked out and did whatever I liked to do.
For me, I thought that the biggest meaning of this album was, encounter with digital recording. I spent many tracks for percussion and I was playing 80 tracks simultaneously at mixing in New York. There were too many tracks, so hard disk was overheated and the system crushed. An engineer called IT support though, it has never happened before. Anyhow, an American sound magazine “Sound On Sound” got a news article that said like “The sound engineer was obsessed by inertia.” That was funny, but looking back about it, I thought those ancient instruments of Robertimho Silva blew up the modern recording technology.
– Are you satisfied with this album? How were reviews?
AH: It’s a short album, but overall I like it very much. That’s because I have deleted 80% of the materials that I was dissatisfied. The reviews were various. There was a fan who disappointed by it saying ‘It’s different from “End Of Illusion.” But for me, it was one step forward and it was a proof for myself that I can still produce albums.
– In 2010, “Triple Ripple” was recorded with Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller. How did you meet them? Was it a live jam session or composed?
AH: “Triple Ripple” was another sort of album. Method was different. I waited, until I can satisfy 100%, and until something irresistibly beautiful was echoed and heard in my heart. No matter how long it would take time. For years, I worked hard. With progress of advanced technology, there’s no more incident like when “Fields Of Inertia” was mixed. I used the latest technology for everything on composing, recording, editing and mixing.
Although this album had 1865 bars, all of them were recorded in here and every fine details were well made, as perfect as it could be. Many people believed as if it was a jam session recording of Marco Minnemann and I just added music though, it was completely different. Everything, even a little hi-hat, was composed by me and I challenged how far we can go until Marco says “Oh no, I can’t play this, it’s too difficult.” However, it was never happened. I don’t know how Marco was managed to play though, sometimes I was scared. He is a great drummer. The first time I met him was, when I worked at Startrek Studio in London in 2007. The owner of this studio thought that Marco and I should play together, so he called Marco and let me talk with him over the phone by two. I have had several jam sessions before, but it has never became like “Something to do serious together until I met him.
However, finding a bassist was not so easy. For easier recording, I wanted to use a bassist who lives in London, so I searched for a year in the U.K. and then searched in Europe. I have tested more than 20 people, but everybody said “Too difficult to play” and quit. Then, in 2009 I was recommended Bryan and sent him the material. Few days later, he answered that “It’s difficult to play, but it’s possible.” When I listened recording of the first track “Touchdown“, I was at ease as I thought that I finally found the bassist.
From the time of preparation of the idea to finish, “Triple Ripple” was very exciting even in my life. I really concentrated and more and more I worked, I felt improvement. However, when it came to the process of mixing, the issue was raised. I couldn’t find the way to make the sound as I hoped. Later, I found that drums and bass must be mixed via an analogue mixer and keyboards must be mixed via a digital mixer. It was completed at Abbey Road Studios and I’m 100% satisfied now. Mastering was also processed in Abbey Road Studios. As soon as I sent out the mastering, I had to come back to the real life. It was difficult, and I understood how much “Tripple Ripple” was important to me. Although, it’s not perfectly completed yet. Because, my final goad is to have live concerts. Every keyboards have been recorded in the live set of 180 degree spreadable keyboards rigs. However, I hit the wall when rehearsals were begun. It was more difficult than I thought.
– Well, please tell us your future plan.
AH: I’m getting ready for that many people have thought as impossible. I mean, to have live shows of “Triple Ripple“. For this goal, I think of 2 types of the band structure. END OF ILLUSION 1 is, an one man band show to play with prerecorded drums and bass (Marco and Bryan). And END OF ILLUSION 3 is, the real trio. “Triple Ripple” will be played as in the album and also few tunes from “End Of Illusion” and “Fields Of Inertia” will be played. Furthermore, a newly installed laser harp which is controlled by the laser light will be used. As I found that this could be used effectively during my keyboards rigs. I’m currently in rehearsals for South American tour in the latter half of this year and I’m also writing material for next album.
– Finally, please leave a message for fans in Japan.
AH: Dear avid fans in Japan, I have a favour. Please ask promoters to let me have the live concerts of “End Of Illusion“. If it becomes like that, it will be the best! I would like to have shows in Japan.
(The original Japanese article and interview by Euro-Rock Press Vol. 54, Japan. Special thanks to Euro Rock Press magazine, Japan. English translation by Takako.co for Salama Music Management and Anders Helmerson.)
Live Review: Anders Helmerson @ Prog Festival Rio, Brazil
Posted on Sunday, September 1, 2013 by Ewerton Fintelman, Nothing To Share
On Wednesday, 06/11, it was held the fourth edition of the Prog Festival Rio again at Teatro Rival Petrobras.
Again produced by the myth of Brazilian progressive rock Claudio Fonzi, the festival this time featured presentations band Paulista Violeta Autumn and keyboardist Swede Anders Helmerson. The event was supported cultural Hammond, Renaissance and Drives Inner Sound.
Shortly before 20h was announced on stage input Anders Helmerson, opening night progressive. It was actually a little surprising because it is unusual attractions open international festivals and the like, being almost always the main attractions.
Anders opened, but it does not mean that his show was just a simple opening. Keyboardist showed full mastery of his complex paraphernalia that was his set, which included keyboards, controllers, pedals and the like.
The show began with a transcendental effect and space, remembering music of science fiction. Were approximately 60 uninterrupted minutes of show, alternating between frantic synth solos and melodies spaced. The audience watched the presentation carefully.
There was no human accompaniment. The electronic battery was also commanded by Helmerson through pedals. He was the show.
Anders, despite the psychedelic solos, went silent. With an air enigmatic keyboardist did not utter a word throughout the show, but his hands speak for themselves and the show ended to applause from the audience.
Album Review: "Triple Ripple," An Experimental Play With The Bleak Contrasts Between Jazz And Rock
Online PR News – 09-February-2011– by Music Dish Astoria, New York.
Progressive Jazz Fusion Artist Anders Helmerson Has Released The Title Track, “Triple Ripple” From His Third And Groundbreaking New CD
Progressive Jazz Fusion artist Anders Helmerson has released the title track, “Triple Ripple” from his third and groundbreaking new CD, available for purchase at iTunes.
“Triple Ripple” is no ordinary song according to Helmerson. As well as being the main track from the album, “Triple Ripple” is a combination of three songs all merged into one. “This particular track has more of a rock flavor to it than any other on the CD. It’s a form of experimental play with the bleak contrasts between jazz and rock. The key was striking a balance between the two. The first part is an overture that builds up to a dramatic crescendo, while the second part transitions into the part three, which is the main theme of the song. Part three starts with a Rush inspired hard rock type of melody that gives the song a solid spine as more jazzy parts begin to evolve, and it continues to toggle between Jazz and rock.”
He continued, “Triple Ripple” is a demonstration of the world’s most spectacular drummer Marco Minneman and his ability to make it all sounds easy and fluent. But the fact is, what he is doing here, nobody else could do. Marco was recently touted to be the natural replacement for Mike Portnoy in Dream Theatre, but I am keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that he’ll choose to stay with me.”
The bass and the drums are all exceptional and keep up with an exhaustive range of breakdowns and accented hits throughout. This is serious electronic jazz rock!
“Helmerson lets his creativity take him to new heights which ultimately resulted in him creating his own genre of music which he dubs Progressive Fusion; a combination of long songs with virtuosos performed in complicated time signatures, elaborate melodies and harmonies that are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major nor minor. This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing.” – Music Dish
Born in Sweden in February 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music. In the 1970’s, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock.
Helmerson completed his debut album, “The End of Illusion,” in 1981. The album’s lack of success caused him to turn his back on music for the next several years. He worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship’s doctor on a cruise-ship, eventually discovering Rio de Janeiro, the catalyst for his return to music. In early 2002, Helmerson release his second album, “Fields Of Inertia” on the Brazilian label, Som Interior Productions.
(The original article from: EndOfIllusion.com)
Prog Archives 12 February 2011
Topic: Anders Helmerson by toroddfuglesteg, ProgArchives.com (Posted: 12 February 2011 at 10:12)
Born in Sweden, Anders Helmerson started out studying classical music in Denmark and Sweden.
He became interested in Progressive music, and dabbled in some recording while in Stockholm. After school he spent three years on his debut. The result was 1981’s “The End of Illusion.” It failed to take off, so he did. Canada was his next stop, but success was still elusive. Disheartened, in 1987 he returned to Sweden and entered medical school. During this time, there was new interest in “The End of Illusion.” It was on its way to cult status, so Helmerson cut a re-release deal with Musea in 1995. Still, he did not return to music.
While serving as a ship’s doctor, he discovered Rio de Janeio. He later moved to London and I caught up with him for an interview. Here is his story.
You are from the safe folk hem Sweden where everyone could get a secure job without any hassle. So why did you start up with music and why did you move to South America?
Well you know I am not a nine to five man. To be secure is too boring and I’m not that bigoted that I would trade my freedom for my folk-hem back yard. But first let me make it clear I am not really living in Brazil any more. London has been my base now for quite a few years. I thrive in the international environment in London and I am to much of an adventurer to settle down any where else. But why did I move to Brazil? Well that deals about a passionate love for the culture, the people the climate and the whole experience. To produce music is also an experience, so why not do the both? Maybe one day I will move back to Sweden but for now the folk-hem has to manage without me for a while.
Who were your musical inspirations, when and where did you take up music and and how did you get a record deal for the first album?
To be honest, I think my first real musical “kick in the butt” was when I heard Yes on the radio. That was a great moment. The Fragile album had so much inspiration in it self and I think I got contaminated. I saw images in their music and I felt I wanted to be a part of it, step in and be a creative part of it. I think many young lads at that time felt the same, actually.
Prior to that I was very interested in music, both jazz and classical but this realm of early progressive music was something special. I started to listen in particular to Patrick Moraz and I think still today he is my greatest hero. That was when I was in my mid teens.
From that point until End of Illusion was released was a turbulent time. Following the study of music and classical piano in Denmark I moved to Stockholm to study composition but I just did not fit in to that academical environment and the prog music I was doing was far away from accepted, neither in the academic circles nor in the more contemporary youth movement featuring punk rock all that stuff. My music was considered ludicrously old-fashioned and it was an almost impossible task to get a record deal. Besides recording the End of Illusion I was lobbying the record companies and got a pretty cold reception every time until one day when a publisher at Warner Bros heard it and signed a contract and from there it was not difficult to get a label deal. Unfortunately the label was not suitable but that is another story.
Your debut album is End of Illusion from 1981. Please tell us more about this album.
That was the result of three years of hard labor. I was lucky as the studio manager at Decibel in Stockholm – one of the major recording studios in the 80’s believed in me and let me use the studio when it was free and a young engineer Olle Larson also did a lot of work for me for free. I think I was very lucky as to record this type of music in the 80 ties was very expensive and I would never dream about where the costs would have ended up if I was to pay full price. That was ironic, in the business I was known as the guy who did the most expensive Swedish record production after Abba although I
had no big sales on my rooster. A few hundred LPs where pressed and the sales numbers where basically nil. Today a few lucky heads owning that vinyl can sell it on auction for hundreds of dollars. Strange world we are living in, not?
It was all an enormous learning process for me and the title End of Illusion alludes to what I just mentioned – to step into a piece of art and be a part of it. It is a breath taking experience but one day you have to step back in to real life – at the other side of the painting and face the reality. A painful process in it self.
I think five years after the release the album was getting sought after and I was approached by several labels for a reissue but I could not find the master tape. Eventually it was found in possession with the former CEO of the record company but he refused to give it away. After continuous research it was actually found a copy of the master in the warehouse of Studio Decibel. That was a lucky day! The tape was sent to Musea in France and reissued. At that time the album sold pretty well I must say.
And then there was a 21 years long break before the second album. What were you up to during these years?
Yes I went away to Canada and worked in a cover band. Coming home to Stockholm a year later I realised that the only thing I knew was the music business. I had lots of contacts and I started to work as a producer, something I did for for a few years. I was mainly working with metal and hard rock but after a few years I surrendered and enrolled medical school and hence dropped out from the music business to be a doctor. I did not want to do other peoples music. It was during this time End of Illusion started to sell and got a world wide cult status. Later on, just before the millennium I was working as a ships doctor and disembarked in Rio and decided to stay there and work on a new music project. Something that I had been thinking of for years and now was the time to do it. A life without music was apparently no option for me!
Your second album is Fields of Inertia from 2002. Please tell us more about this album.
Yes that was my comeback, maybe not that brilliant if I think about it now, but that was my first contact with the new digital technique. I was really astounded how easy it was to produce this type of music. There is a “making of” documentary about Fields of Inertia on You tube that gives a more in depth insight of that story. That was done while I lived there. I worked with local musicians as f.ex Roberthimbo Silva who is the number one percussionist in Brazil. I was honoured by that. I signed with Brazilian label Som Interior. It was mixed in US though. Some recordings also done in UK, actually. The reception of Fields of Inertia was not that cherished by some my End of Illusion fans, something I could understand in a way but for my self that album was a confirmation that I was still able to produce my own music!
Another break followed before you returned last year. What were you up to during these eight years?
Well I would say I started 5 – 6 years ago to make a third come back now with some more knowledge of the conditions of “the new world” – I mean to learn technology and to accept all the work and time you need to sacrifice. Fact is I have spent years trying to find the right musicians to work with and I can now say my search is over. I first got in contact with Marco Minnemann through one of his friends when I worked in Startrek Studios in London and since 2007 I have made occasional work with him. To find a bass player was much more of a strain though. I wanted some one based in UK and I think I tried more that 20 different ones or even more. I also tried bass players in France and Holland but it did not work. I guess most bass players where frightened away by the grade of difficulty. I was on the brink of giving up. Marco had recommended Bryan Beller, in Nashville, as a brilliant bassist who was able to play in weird time signatures and so on. I sent the files and the scores to him to listen to and he answered “its doable”. He made a trial recording of Touchdown and when I heard it I knew I had found the right cat.
Last year’s album is called Triple Ripple. Please tell us more about this album.
I think that throughout my roller-coaster career in music this album is the peak of my aspirations. I have put an incredible lots of work into it. Composing it took some years and to start with it was difficult but eventually I learned the trick how to do it and developed an efficient methodology. I think, during the last year or so, I have been working with a fantastic inspiration, sometimes bordering to plain madness. The process of recording drums and bass took a few months and when it was all ready for mixing I thought the work was almost over but hell it was not… It was like a ton of bricks falling over my head. I made a session in the New York studio where I mixed Fields of Inertia but I lost control completely.
There where lots of issues involved and I just had to give it more time. It was a shock but I was determined not to give up until I was 100% satisfied. I ended up mixing in Abbey Road Studios and I must say, it was worth it.
The sound quality is perfect and uncompromising. The musicians are the best you can get. This is really an ultimate achievement and I am really happy with it.
But I have to admit – after having sent off the files to Musea for manufacturing I felt an emptiness and restlessness inside.
It was almost like a bereavement. I guess again that’s the peril of being a part of your piece of art.
What is your creative processes and recording technics ?
That an interesting topic and has really been the key for me to succeed to my goal. Pro tools is almost like a word program and the production is like writing a novel. You start with the spine structures and then you can make many small improvements and shape it the way you want until it sounds well. The whole process; composing, recording, editing mixing and mastering is done in the same software and you can go back and make changes as much as you want to. You can sit on an airplane editing with just an USB chip, and then plug it into, for instance, Abbey Roads 96 track Solid State Logic
console. and then take it all home.
Talking about Abbey Road – fact is, at first, I was a bit disappointed with the sound of Marco’s drum tracks when listening to it through my headphones, But when it was processed through the SSL the sound became just superb.
Same thing with Bryan’s bass – even if digitally recorded it will sound organic and analogue after such a remould. It did sound well not just in the studio monitors but anywhere. That is the bright part digital recording – the sound quality stays unveiled until you have processed it through the best gear.
Also, the latest software allows notation which is an enormous advantage as I can give the scores to the musicians together with a prerecorded midi sample which makes it efficient and also later when it is time to play live you can look at the score and remember how put it the first time. I am working to publish the entire score on my website, then the listener can f.ex understand the time signature if so required.
All those possibilities have made it possible for me to produce Triple Ripple. You couldn’t do that in 1980 unless you where super rich.
Just to give those of us who are unknown with your music a bit of a reference point o two: How would you describe
My music is Prog Fusion – take it or leave it! You know, long songs (Triple Ripple is one single 53 minute long piece), complicated time signatures with virtuoso instrumentation. It’s balancing between traditional fusion and prog rock type Yes. It is trio work with keyboard, bass and drums. There are no guitars and I work solely with synthesiser sounds. No sampling or or sounds of any other keyboards (i.e. piano, organ etc).
Most of the music is composed but there are occasional parts with improvisation. The music is recorded in a way as to make it possible to play live – so there are moderate number of tracks although the sound it throughout massive and dynamic. My keyboard rig is comprised mainly with Nord lead 3 (there is 3 of them) which is one hell of a synth with a mean powerful sound.
From a more artistic point of view I would describe my music as colourful, intense instrumental keyboard wiz music that triggers imagination to step into the landscapes of my illusion…
What is your plans for the rest of this year and beyond?
Yea I am working hard now with my music. I have got the momentum and I am sure to surf on it! It is good in a way to be ready with the album so I can focus on music. Although I aspire to do some more recordings with Marco and Bryan rather soon, I spend most of my time rehearsing in order to play Triple Ripple live in a few months. One reason for this is that some people are convinced am not playing myself on the album but pre programmed sequencers. It doesn’t matter what I say…they can’t just believe it. Therefore I would like to make a video to prove it is actually by played myself and not by computers. I have always wanted to be a recording only artist but I have changed view and I am now really keen to go live.
But it’s not easy…I can tell you it is such a stunt…most of the time four synthesisers are in the air at the same time and apart from the hands both feet are busy working simultaneously so… Its damned difficult…but a niggling challenge.
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview?
Maybe I would like to mention something about how the music business has changed since the 80’s. You do know that albums are not selling anymore and people are downloading for free.
In London, where I live, all CD shops has closed down and the industry people are getting bust. I was recently to MIDEM and it was so depressing to see all the gloom.
Jeezus…who had ever believed that?
But I think this is an opportunity for progressive music as the business has gone much more fragmented and more specialised music are getting a larger share of the total output. Not only has the recording expenses lowered, the interaction with the fans has eased, the organisation has shrunk and given more power to the artists and I think that those artists with a burning passion for their art now has a much greater chance of getting themselves heard and those industry people only interested in quick money has been cleansed out. That’s good!
Nothing more to add for the moment. Thank you for listening! See you on the road!!!
Music Dish e-Journal 14 December 2010
“UK Progressive Fusion Keyboadist & Composer Anders Helmerson – The Exception And Not the Rule.” by Michele Wilson-Morris
This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing.
Marching to the beat of his own drum, Anders Helmerson truly exemplifies what it means to be the exception and not the rule. From music to medical school and back to music, Helmerson is a well rounded artist who let his creativity take him to new heights which ultimately resulted in him creating his own genre of music which he dubs Progressive Fusion; a combination of long songs with virtuosos performed in complicated time signatures, elaborate melodies and harmonies that are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major nor minor. This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing. His success was far from overnight, however.
Born in Sweden in 1959, Helmerson studied classical music in Sweden and Denmark while playing in various short-lived bands in the 1970’s. He recalls a time, while studying in Stockholm he recorded a few electronic music with two friends of which some of his teachers wanted to hear,
“they insisted on hearing it, so I played it for them, once I turned the tape recorder off, they stared at me. They said absolutely nothing. A couple of days later I was dismissed from school.”
Helmerson took a steady self-imposed exile from music and composing altogether in 1981, after a failed attempt with “The End of Illusion,” his debut album. He went on to attend medical school in Sweden, then worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen and finally as a cruise ship doctor to realize that his true passion lay, with music.
Through his travels, Helmerson would make his new home in Rio de Janeiro, and it is here that he revitalized his love for music. The array of Brazilian music coupled with the backing from one of Brazil’s premier progressive labels,
“Som Interior Productions,” Helmerson, recorded the album, “Fields of Inertia,” of which he described as “having the classical influences with a blend of techno.”
Fast forward eight years later and Helmerson is proud to release his five track album, “Triple Ripple,” which he was able to masterfully compose by drawing on his love for synthesizers and progressive music. With Bryan Beller on bass and Marco Minnemann on drums, this jazz rock fusion is a tour de force that truly radiates with his progressive fusion genre.
Anders Helmerson’s music seems to change with the time and thus he cannot be packaged in a box. His sound is unique and his creativity is limitless as evidenced with his creation of progressive fusion. With his relentless energy and steady fusion of synthesizers, anyone with an appreciation of testing and pushing the limits is sure to enjoy his inimitable style. When asked his opinion of Triple Ripple, he eloquently stated, “1,876 bars measured to perfection. Making of Triple Ripple is done. It was a real journey.” With his talent and ability to invent new genres and the luck that makes turns a musical flop into a cult-like success, Anders Helmerson’s journey is almost certainly just beginning.
Music Emissions December 2010
Architect Of Progressive Jazz Fusion Scores A Touchdown With Latest Release
The architect of Progressive Fusion hits the mark with the release of his latest track “Touchdown,” one of five tracks available on his latest album ‘Triple Ripple‘. “Touchdown” can be purchased digitally through various online retailers such as iTunes, Napster and is available in CD format through Amazon. Purchase “Touchdown” for download on iTunes.
“Touchdown” is a full blown old school jazz rock composition. A huge phased sweep begins the Jazz Rock Trio performance from Anders. The Synth voicing with the bass feature lightning fast lines, along with an odd meter complexity over driving rock drums. This is a track for serious Jazz Fusion fans who remember music without compromise. The drums are full of decisive cymbal strikes that punctuate throughout the song. The surprise of Lyle Mays style Oberheim leads bring contrast to the ensemble, which is pounding out lines in unison. The modal harmonies and keyboard solo with a Chick Corea style lead is very effective. In fact, these guys could open for the Elecktrik Band! There is a nice change of textures to lighter bell sounds and the lyrical Metheny/Mays sound towards the end with continuous cathedral style bell tones later in the song. “Touchdown” ends on a strong note with sounds comparable to Lee Ritenour or ELP.
“Helmerson lets his creativity take him to new heights which ultimately resulted in him creating his own genre of music which he dubs Progressive Fusion; a combination of long songs with virtuosos performed in complicated time signatures, elaborate melodies and harmonies that are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major nor minor. This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing.” MusicDish
Born in Sweden in May 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music. In the 1970’s, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock. Helmerson completed his debut album, “The End of Illusion,” in 1981. The album’s lack of success caused him to turn his back on music for the next several years. He worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship’s doctor on a cruise-ship, eventually discovering Rio de Janeiro, the catalyst for his return to music. In early 2002, Helmerson release his second album, “Fields Of Inertia” on the Brazilian label, Som Interior Productions
(Originally written on MusicEmissions.com)
SBWire December 2010
The Third Time Is the Charm for U.K. Progressive Fusion Artist Anders Helmerson by Astoria, NY, SBWIRE) – 12/01/2010
U.K. artist Anders Helmerson announced that his third and latest album, “Triple Ripple” is now available on the Musea Records Label. The album is being digitally distributed in over 20 countries at present, and will soon be available in CD format. Triple Ripple can be purchased through major online retailers, including iTunes and Amazon.com
“Triple Ripple” is a five track album that Helmerson proudly proclaims to be of the genre Progressive Fusion, one that he created himself. He stated, “It is of course a mixture of fusion and progressive rock. Fusion, in itself, is a style that mixes jazz and rock and started in the seventies, which is also around the time that Progressive music got its inception.”
Anders Helmerson’s new CD “Triple Ripple” is a Jazz Rock Fusion Tour de Force! The band features Marco Minnemann on drums, Bryan Beller on bass and Anders Helmerson on synthesizers. Marco is a master at driving the group and smoothly intricate interplay with Bryan Beller’s lyrical bass style. Helmerson leads an ensemble of virtuoso players who will amaze listeners with the power of superior technique, and great composing. With five tracks on the album (“Touchdown“, “Triple Ripple”, “Yoda’s Dance”, “Helix of Eternity” and “The Search Of F“), each one similar in style but definitively distinctive, there is no tempo that seems beyond the mastery of Helmerson and his crew. With the release of “Triple Ripple,” is appears that a new genre is born – Progressive Fusion, and it’s one you’ll definitely like.
Born in Sweden in May 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music. In the 1970’s, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock. Helmerson completed his debut album, “The End of Illusion,” in 1981. The album’s lack of success caused him to turn his back on music for the next several years. He worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship’s doctor on a cruise-ship, eventually discovering Rio de Janeiro, the catalyst for his return to music. In early 2002, Helmerson release his second album, “Fields Of Inertia” on the Brazilian label, Som Interior Productions.
(Originally written on SBWire.com)
Argentinian Interview (2010)
Anders Helmerson – Argentinian Interview By Sergio Vilar
Anders, could you explain to us which the concept is behind your music?
The concept behind my music has always been to combine different styles and to balance between primitive instruments and music styles with electronically sounds and pentatonic music. Pentatonic means that the music goes not in major nor minor – it does not make you glad nor sad – just neutral. That is the harmony I am talking about. Concerning the rhythm I am attracted to odd beats as 5/4 and 7/4 etc. I have been playing a lot of Romanian folk music before and this is from where I learned this. It is indeed difficult for western musicians, many times, to play in these beats, but when it works is sounds much more interesting than just playing in 4/4.
So with this concepts of harmony and rhythms I try to produce something that sounds exiting to me. Excitement is an important world as it makes you experience dept in the sound. And in the dept there is context.
Lots of the music I make have been regarded as music for musicians – very difficult to play and to listen to. I don’t necessarily have to play music that is difficult to play, but I try not to let the music I do being easy just because people want it to be so. I am quite ruthless in this respect. And if it is too difficult to play for musicians I will let the computer play it. That is a concept – let the computers take over when man cannot play anymore – don’t let the limitations of the musicians hand rule the composition. It might sound a bit cryptic but that is my way of expressing it.
Which are your more notorious influences, for those that didn’t still listen your work?
A sensitive question, I try to start from my self and work on my own ideas and I am very cautious to listen to other music in this vein as I am scared to find myself copying ideas from others. Then I would loose my originality. In my childhood, of course I listens a lot to progressive music as Yes, ELP, UK and all of them. Keyboard as Chic Corea, Patrick Moraz, Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Eddie Jobson were of course big influences and still are Frank Zappa is possibly one of greatest influences.
What does it motivate you and does it inspire to create your music?
Doing music and multimedia is always a search. When you’ve found something that sounds interesting you can start to put things together. Then when you are finished you can feel a great relief and euphoria. Sometimes it feels like flying on clouds. I guess that is the motivation. It is a great thing because it is a true satisfaction achieved without drugs or greed.
How do you develop your compositive work? That you devise takings like base?
I try to depict some of the images in my head to a musical product. Rest of the work is quite straight forward – to put harmonies and melodies to rhythm. I try to work with drum machines but it is sometimes a bit difficult as in odd beats as 5/4 and 7/4 the mechanical drum sounds very strange in comparison to a real drummer. In this kind of music you have to, sort of, start with the drums as it demands most resources, studio time – microphones etc. After that I redo the synths, often on MIDI so I can try out different sounds after the recording is done. A different thing with me, is that I put on the bass as the absolute last thing as normally that is the first thing you do… You just have to try a way that suits you best. On “Fields of Inertia”, for example, I had to record Su’s voice in UK just to a metronome and a piano. I then flew to Brazil and asked Roberhimbo Silva to put on percussion to the metronome and after that I did the back grounds. It is kind of back wards but that is the way I always have been working.
Which are the main characteristics of the disks that you have published, how you would describe the personality of each one?
My first production as a composer/musician was “End of Illusion”. That was for me “the art of the impossible”. I mean to create a production like that ,without any economical means was at that time a huge project almost like producing a film. But I did it. After the release of the LP I was bitterly unsatisfied, I believe that the whole production was lacking feel and very stiff. I was surprised that there were people who liked it.
My second baby was the recent “Fields of Inertia”. I think I managed to create a piece of music with musical affinity – feel and coherency. I still enjoy listen to it. “End of illusion” I have never listened to after I did it.
What surprise me even more is that people who like “End of Illusion” seems to hate “Fields of Inertia”. Many of my previous fans (and friends) just don’t talk to me any more. Sometimes I feel like if I have done something criminal.
Artistically speaking, are you satisfied with what you have achieved along your career how musician?
Many people have complained of that “Fields of Inertia” was too short. 35 minutes is not what you want to have when you buy a CD, But I just don’t agree to that! 30 minutes suits me better. I tried to do more, and fact is that I had materials for more than 60 minutes But I put it in the bin as I felt It was not good enough. 60 minutes just goes over my capacity! I felt that when I was finished with the production. the 35 minutes I had was just enough for this piece of art.I don’t think that any one who dislikes likes it would agree on that.
What plans do you have for this year? Do you already have the date of edition of the next disk?
It will certainly be a continuation of my previous work. I am interested in music from other cultures but would still like to have the jazz rock fusion as a base. Maybe I will focus on Indian music more this time. But also some Latin American. I don’t travel so much any more. In London you have everything as it is the most multicultural city of the world. The musicians I work with is a secret. So far though…
I have built up a multimedia studio (all digital). I am working on some real interesting music. The new digital recording technique is a real boost for this kind of music. I am also working on a multimedia project dealing about Richard III, an English king in the 1500 century. I am making music about different phases in his life, right now I am making a music about a dream he had the night before he died at the battlefield – “Richards dream”. Almost a psychotic project…
Anders, what are you listening today in day? You do usually listen to new artists?
I try to catch up with what’s new. The digital revolution has changed the scene and it is more difficult to be multimillionaire in music as it was, say 20 years ago. Also it has become cheaper to produce music with implies some quite interesting bands and musicians coming up. I like to go out and browse the music clubs, and when I do I mostly go out to see jazz or fusion events. Sometimes I go over to New York City. I like Gerald Precencer, A Londonbases fusionist with great talent. I saw Chuck Mangione at the Blue Note a while ago and it was just fantastic. I also saw Jean Luc Ponty a while ago and that has triggered me to start listening to his old CD’s again. I try to encourage myself to see some real rock but I haven’t been out to that. I like to listen at home at Dream Theater and Iron Maiden though.
How musician, which is the goal that you have intended to reach?
Well. I am quite happy now, I don’t have to rely on doing other peoples music. I can sit in my studio and do anything that I want. Of course at times I long for doing project with other artists as a producer and I believe that that will come soon. I would like to develop my own technique but you have to be careful as well. Sitting in your chamber exercising your technique makes you nuts sometimes – at the end of the day, music deals about communication between people. That is important to remember. I don’t think I have goals as a musician any more. My goals are in the fields of production.
Thank you for your time Anders. Will you like to add something more?
Thank you very much. Nice talking to you. I might be seen in Argentina later this year as I am going to attend some polo playing over the fall. Maybe I might do some concerts as well. Bye for now.
(Original interview on EndOfIllusion.com)
BIO – ANDERS HELMERSON by Michele Wilson-Morris (2010)
BIO – ANDERS HELMERSON by Michele Wilson-Morris
Born in Sweden in May 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music that has had its shares of ups and downs. With the release of his new production on October 25, 2010, “The Triple Ripple,” Helmerson believes the rollercoaster ride is finally over. In the 1970’s, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock. While studying in Stockholm, he recorded various pieces of electronic music with two friends. He recalled, “One day, my teachers inquired about a 1/4 inch tape I had under my arm. I told them it contained some recordings I had made in a commercial studio. They insisted on hearing it, so I played it for them. Once I turned the tape recorder off, they just stared at me. They said absolutely nothing. A couple of days later I was dismissed from school”.
After that episode, which occurred in 1978, he spent the next three years working on his debut album, “The End of Illusion,” which was completed in 1981. The album didn’t take off with respect to sales, so Helmerson took off instead. He sold his instruments and moved to Canada. Although the attitude towards keyboard wizards was slightly more forthcoming on that side of the Atlantic, success continued to elude him with the many bands he played with there, finally causing him to turn his back to the music industry completely.
Disillusioned, Helmerson returned to Sweden in 1987 and entered medical school. During this period, “The End Of Illusion” had become somewhat of a cult-hit and was sought after by many people, so Helmerson cut a re-release deal with France’s Musea Records in 1995. Still, he did not return to music. In the five years that followed, Helmerson worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship’s doctor on a cruise-ship, sailing all over the world. He eventually discovered Rio de Janeiro, where he finally found a home. It was also the catalyst for his reintroduction to and concentration on music once again. With a range of Brazilian artists and the backing of one of Brazil’s premier progressive labels, Som Interior Productions, Helmerson recorded the album, “Fields Of Inertia“. The album was recorded in Rio between January and June 2001, with some additional recording done in Cambridge, UK. It was then mixed in New York in September, before it was returned back to Rio for its final mastering and release in early 2002. There were few guest musicians on the album, as keyboard was king with Helmerson. He described the album as “having the classical influences with a blend of prog.”
Helmerson’s third and newest CD, “Triple Ripple,” is a five track album that he proudly proclaims to be of the genre Progressive Fusion, one that he created himself. “It is of course a mixture of fusion and progressive rock. Fusion, in itself, is a style that mixes jazz and rock and started in the seventies, which is also around the time that Progressive music got its inception. The genre “Progressive fusion” does have criteria that make it distinctive, which are: (1) Long songs; (2) Virtuosos performed with complicated time signatures and elaborated melodies during most of the piece, but also giving space for improvisation; (3) The harmonies in the music are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major or minor (i.e., they don’t make you happy or sad, but aspires one to another kind of mood instead); and (4) The sound of the keyboards are not meant to sound like anything else other than just synthesizers, and there is no sampling (with a few exceptions).
“Triple Ripple” features Bryan Beller on bass and Marco Minnemann on drums. Helmerson did all of the arrangements, composing and production. The album was released on the Musea label.
Helmerson now calls London home and has since 2001. He doesn’t listen to much recorded music these days, but does enjoy going out to listen to live music a few times a week. “There’s always something happening and I try to listen to music that’s as close to Progressive Fusion as possible.” Stanley Clarke, Dream Theatre, Lee Ritenour and Randy Brecker are among his favorite artists.
Anders Helmerson Biography by ProgArchives.com (2002)
Born in Sweden, ANDERS HELMERSON started out studying classical music in Demark and Sweden. He became interested in Progressive music, and dabbled in some recording while in Stockholm. After school he spent three years on his debut. The result was 1981’s “The End of Illusion.” It failed to take off, so he did. Canada was his next stop, but success was still elusive. Disheartened, in 1987 he returned to Sweden and entered medical school. During this time, there was new interest in “The End of Illusion.” It was on its way to cult status, so Helmerson cut a re-release deal with Musea in 1995. Still, he did not return to music. While serving as a ship’s doctor, he discovered Rio de Janeiro. This is where he finally found a home. It also inspired renewed interest in music. He signed with Brazilian prog label Som Interior, and released “Fields of Inertia” in 2002.
There are guest musicians, but keyboard is King with this artist. The classic influences are there, but he also blends a bit of techno. Imagine Wakeman meets Kraftwerk.
Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Anders Helmerson is a prog keyboard man in every way possible. We would not be fulfilling our mission properly if he was not included.
End of Illusion, studio album (1981)
Fields of Inertia, studio album (2002)