RIP: Thomas Gartz, founder of Träd, Gräs & Stenar and member of Pärson Sound

RIP: Thomas Gartz, founder of Träd, Gräs & Stenar and member of Pärson Sound

From East Village Radio:

A Swedish newspaper is reporting that Tomas Mera Gartz, drummer and founding member of psych-rock legends Trad, Gras & Stenar, died suddenly yesterday at the age of 67. In 1967, Gartz, along with future Trad Gras & Stenar members, guitarist Bo Anders Persson and bassist Torbjörn Abelli, founded drone-rock collective Pärson Sound. Taking cues from psychedelia, modern minimalist composers and avant-garde jazz, Pärson Sound was short-lived, having issued no recordings during their existence (a two-disc compilation of all known recordings by the band was issued in 2001 on Subliminal Sounds). In 1968, the group changed its name to International Harvester and issued their first official album, Sov Gott Rose-Marie. By 1969, the band lost the “International” and released Hemat as Harvester—another key piece of underground rock that has been retroactively hailed a masterpiece. At the dawn of the ‘70s the group settled on the name Trad Gras & Stenar (English translation: Trees, Grass and Stones) and issued a self-titled long-player that saw them moving closer to the blues without sacrificing the mesmerizing minimalism that informed their early work. Favorites on their homeland’s free festival circuit, the band released a couple of insanely limited live LPs that demonstrated their improvisational prowess and a second studio album in the first half of the ‘70s before all but disappearing. Renewed interest in all things lysergic and Scandinavian in the late ’90s/early ’00s spurred the group to reconvene and record a new studio album (‘02’s Ajn Schvajn Draj), reissue the bulk of their ‘70s output via Subliminal, and begin to show the kids how it’s done by playing live shows again. In recent years, Persson retired as a touring member of the group and Abelli passed away in 2010, but not before bringing the magic of their music to new fans across Europe, the USA and Japan. Fare thee well, Mr. Gartz. (Thanks to Max Burke for the tip.)

• Thomas Mera Gartz:

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