‘Magician’s Hat‘ is the title of the second studio album released by Swedish progressive rock artist Bo Hansson in late 1972 in Sweden (as ‘Ur trollkarlens hatt‘) and in September 1973 internationally under its English title. The album was recorded between 1970 and 1972 at Studio Decibel in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and was released through Silence Records (Silence Records AB) there and by Charisma Records internationally under an English title. It is a very interesting mixture of progressive rock and space rock. It has a total length of 38 minutes and 42 seconds and was produced by Anders Lind (from Silence Records AB) and Bo Hansson himself.
After Bo Hansson’s first well-received studio album entitled ‘Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings‘ (released in 1970), his second studio album released during the 1970s was also well met by both critics and his public of fans. In spite of the similarities in terms of style with its predecessor (i.e. ‘Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings‘), ‘Magician’s Hat‘ failed to chart on both the British and American music charts. Nonetheless, in critical regards, the LP received a high mark of 4 out of 5 stars from Allmusic.
With respect to the adapted themes, Bo Hansson once again created a musical link between the title of a high fantasy book (i.e. ‘Elidor’ published in 1965 by English author Alan Garner) and one of his songs. For the recording conditions (both in terms of equipment and also in terms of economic resources), Bo Hansson’s second studio album is definitely a musical masterpiece worth listening to by any true and devoted progressive rock fan out there! It must also be mentioned that apart from its overall progressive and space rock sounds, this particular studio album by Bo Hansson also has a jazz twist to it which can make it a great addition for both jazz and jazz fusion fans. Last but not least, its medieval and esoteric atmosphere makes it a great listen for anyone during Halloween!
The full tracklist of the album (consisting of two sides) is the following one (with all tracks being written solely by Bo Hansson):
- The City;
- Divided Reality;
- Before the Rain;
- Playing Downhill into the Downs;
- Findhorn’s Song;
- Wandering Song;
- The Sun (Parallel or 90°);
- Excursion with Complications.
The LP was also re-issued in 2004 with extended and edited versions for some of the songs as well as a previously unreleased outtake. You can check the version with bonus tracks online on Spotify here.
The recording personnel was the following one:
- Bo Hansson – organ, guitars, synthesizers, slide bass guitar, mellotorn (an English synthesizer);
- Rune Carlsson – drums, congas and cowbells (percussion);
- Kenny Håkansson – electric guitar;
- Rolf Scherrer – acoustic guitar;
- Gunnar Bergsten – saxophone and flute;
- Sten Bergman – flute;
- Bobo Stenson – electric piano on one track;
- Owe Gustavsson – bass guitar one one track;
- Pelle Ekman – drums on one track;
- Göran Freese – saxophone;
- Bill Öhrström – congas;
- Jan Ternald – cover artwork.
Therefore, that being said and without any further needless ado on my behalf, I wholeheartedly recommend integrally listening to this great progressive rock studio album by Bo Hansson track by track embedded via Youtube below (courtesy of Danmark Music Group). All the best and enjoy!
Bonus: Bo Hansson had also jammed with Jimi Hendrix
- The album’s page on Wikipedia (in English)