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"Bridges": the path through the "Bridges" to "A-ha"

“It was a rather schizophrenic group,” its members noted ... About the team that spawned Norwegian synth-pop in its most famous guise - in our article.

The history of the team that spawned the main pop group in Norway

group "A-ha" everyone knows: her hits are still played on the radio, and the video for the song Take on me continues to gain views. This massive success is astonishing, yet few music lovers are aware that A-ha is a derivative act. As "in the beginning was the Word...", so "in the beginning there were Bridges...".

History of the group

The Norwegian rock band Bridges was born in 1978 when Paula Voctora-Savoy and his best friend Magne Furuholmena, familiar to him from school, the idea came up to create a musical group. By inviting a bass player Viggo Bondi and drummer Eric Hagelen, young people started recording demos and even played a couple of gigs in the late 70s. Interestingly, one of the speeches was attended by Morten Harketwho would later become the band's vocalist «Aha» and will cooperate with Voctor and Furuholmen. The final composition of the Bridges was formed after the drummer was replaced by Oysten Yevanord. The group started recording their debut album.

Norwegian band "Bridges"
Norwegian band "Bridges"

sources of inspiration

Paul Wauctor-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen, who grew up during the era of the musical revolution of the 70s were bright fans Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and both shared a love for these rockers.

Viggo Bondi, bass player, on first meeting Paul and Magne: “I got off the bus with a bass guitar in my hands and saw two long-haired boys. Perhaps they were girls? Dressed like Jimi Hendrix: flowered silk shirts, flared trousers, moccasins, long scarves, handkerchiefs - I was catapulted back to the sixties!

As a result of the search for self-identity, the Norwegians came to the conclusion that their music should combine the achievements of the heroes of the US West Coast counterculture in the form of dark hippie music. «The Doors» and pioneers of British prog rock "King Crimson", Genesis and Yes.

Bridges
Bridges

Wauctor-Savoy once shared on Facebook a response to a question about his youth: “When I first started playing the guitar, I was learning to copy the blues on an old half-speed record. Jimi Hendrix was my hero. Magne and I competed to see who had the largest collection of obscure bootlegs. It was mind-blowing…”

Recording the first album

«Fakkeltog» (from Norwegian - "torchlight procession") - this is the name of the debut album "Bridges", released in 1980. It is noteworthy that the album was released in just one thousand copieswhich is a small amount of sales. However, its value is not at all in commercial success, but in the unique sound that young Norwegian musicians were able to create.

Looking for a recording studio, in the summer of 1980 the band booked a time to record in the basement of an old factory in the north of Oslo, where the recording studio was located. "Octocon". Not too expensive conditions and a real "first time". Members of the Bridges have repeatedly commented that working for this Thor Aarnes studio was exciting, joyful and incredibly exciting.

 "Bridges" at the recording studio
"Bridges" at the recording studio

The recording resulted in a full-length album. It should be noted that each of the compositions on «Fakkeltog» was quite inimitable and rare in its sound. The resulting debut album was a perfect representation of what the band was at that time. It's amazing that it was recorded at a time when the band members were barely out of their teens - Magne Furuholmenu it was only 17 years!

The fusion of the ideas of all the musicians into a single whole gave rise to the immodest melody of most of the compositions and the use of additional instruments. The recording quality was decent. Harmonious basslines by Viggo Bondy, adventurous drumming by Øystein Yevanord, more prominent in the composition "The Stranger's Town", the combination of Paul Voctor's experimental guitar and Magne Furuholmen's bright palette of keyboard sounds characterizes Torchlight and other tracks.

“The band's music was unlike anything else produced in Norway at the time…” said bass player Viggo Bondi.

«Vekenatt»

Work on the second studio album was completed in the summer of 1981, just a year after the release of the first. However, fans never got to see him. The Bridges disbanded after Voctor and Furuholmen decided to move to London to continue their musical career, and the rest of the group abandoned this idea. «Vekenatt» was released under the auspices of Rockheim Musical Archives 38 years after the final recording.

Photos from the concert of the band "Bridges"
Photos from the concert of the band "Bridges"

The range of genres that the musicians used in their songs on the album was very wide. «Soft Rains of April» looked like baroque pop, although it left the mainstream in the 70s, but was reflected on this disc. «All The planes That Come In On The Quiet» - early recordings Brian Eno - British composer, specialist in electronic music and one of the founders of the genre ambient. In addition to these specific styles of musical performance, the Norwegians also turned to rockwhich was their starting point. «Fakkeltog» and «waterworks» mixed sophisticated classic rock in the form of progressive elements and post-punkbecause they combined the harsh monochrome beauty «Joy Division». With all this, "Bridges" managed to keep the pop sound, which would later become the main idea of creativity. "A-ha".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmj1aXfrMX4

The Bridges in the newspaper
The Bridges in the newspaper

Paul Wauctor on this record: “We had a 16-track cassette and I mixed it. We now have tons of cool photos and old testimonials and it really does sound pretty good. And it has old songs on it.”

Communication with "Aha»

In terms of the history of "A-ha", on the album «Fakkeltog» two tracks stand out: May The Last Dance Be Mine""Every Mortal Night". The original lyrics of these songs were reworked and then used on the album "A-ha" "Stay On These Roads"which was released in 1988. In particular, the lyrics of "Bridges" are reflected in the melodic composition "This Alone is Love".

No less interesting song from the work of "Bridges" is "Miss Eerie", the tunes from which were used by "A-ha" for their first hit "Take On Me".

Throughout his formative years, playing with Bridges, Paul Wauctor-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen learned the craft - not just how to create pop songs, but how to create music that would live up to their highest ambitions. «Vekenatt», thus marking an important chapter in the history of Norwegian popular music, an artistic achievement in its own right that documents the transition from the indie band The Bridges to the global success of A-ha.

"A-ha" with Viggo Bondi
"A-ha" with Viggo Bondi

 

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