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> "So, what's
the connection between darXtar and Robert Calvert you ask impatiently?
To be absolutely frank... - there is no real connection.
I never met him in person and he never heard of this band before he passed away...

...but the fact is that without him this band would probably not exist..."
K.Sören Bengsston <

KSB is the founder and mastermind of the swedish space-rock / prog. band darXtar - which is going strong for more than 7 years now.
founded in 1989 as a one-man-aginst-all-odds-project by KSB, darXtar's current
line-up consists of 6 space-rockers altogether:
K.Sören Bengsston: Vocals, Guitar, Keyb.
Patric Danielsson: Drum, Vocals, Reeds, Perc.
Fredric Sundquist: Violin, Percussion
Sören Mârtensson: Hammond, Keyb.
Marcus Pehrsson: Bass, Vocals
Björn Jacobson: Guitar, Vocals, Keyb.

Though the current darXtar sound shows much more influences of a "progressive" kind - their latest release Sju reminded me of some Eloy or Floyd-ish periods - the bands musical roots and initial inspiration derives vastly from Hawkwind's and Calvert's works:

"I have been a true Hawkfan since the early daze of the 1970's and saying I'm influenced by this band is a vast understatement -
I have them in my veins.

Hearing Calvert reading the poems on the Space Ritual album with his deadpan voice can still send shivers up my spine.
This man could write lyrics he could read poems, he could thrill with his stories, he could sing, he could compose, he could affect and he could throw a joke - was he real?!
Do guys like this really exist in the real world or was he a figment of our imagination?"

Well, KSB soon found out more about the man and the band - and not long after, he set out for his own mucical activities.

Here's a brief record of the band's activities since its founding in 1989.

           a short History of darXtar

darXtar is formed as a one-man project by K.Sören Bengtsson (KSB) in an attempt to fuse early 1970's style acid-rock psychedelia with his own songwriting and guitarplaying techniques.
Heavily influenced by the success of UK one-man band The Bevis Frond he decides to work alone on simple homestudio gear to avoid commercial limitations. Sends a demotape to UK underground label Acid Tapes who immediately asks for material for a full length album cassette.

Midway through this recording, KSB is joined by Juba Nurmenniemi (bass, vocals, keyboards) and they complete what is to become the first eponymous darXtar release.

darXtar - s/t is released in January. KSB and JN begin the recording of second album. A demo ("High Tide") ends up on the compilation cassette Isotopic Moments. German label SPM/wwr decides to release their first album on CD.

SPM/wwr refuse to release the new album: "Too experimental!" To be prepared for live appearances they decide to bring in Patric Danielsson (PD) and auditions a variety of keyboardists.

Second album Darker is finally released as CD on the Swedish Garageland label who also ask them for a contribution to a forthcoming compilation CD. Fredric Sundqvist (FS) is "forced" into the band prior to the recording of   UFO for the compilation, and soon after this Sören Mârtensson (SM) joins to complete the line-up. Less than a month later the band makes a somewhat unrehearsed live debut, sharing the bill with experimental/space/doom band The Moor.

UFO is released on the "Let your freak flag fly" compilation CD. The band starts the recording of Daybreak, their first album with a full line-up. It is still mainly home recorded by KSB and this time he decides to release the CD himself on the new SBm sweden label. This album finally gives the band a kick in the right direction and gigs in Europe follow. FS decides to take a break while JN is sacked in December. He is replaced by young Marcus Pehrsson (MP) who proves to be the vitamin injection the band need.

The sound is now leaning more towards the progressive side of rock music and they start working on a mini-CD project. At the same time artist friend Sputnic comes up with the idea and story for a sci-fi concept album and the band approves. They continue to work on both projects until Black Widow records wants them to release a follow up to Daybreak on their label. They add two new songs to the mini-CD and call it SJU. Just after the recording is finished, FS rejoins the band and a few weeks later old friend Björn Jacobson is invited too.

the hawxtar gig By autumn they hear rumours about ex. Hawkwind legend Nik Turner who is supposed to play a one-off gig in Sweden. darXtar offer their services as rhythm band and under the guise of HawXtar (aided by Kenneth Magnusson from The Moor on Mellotron) they revive the old Space Ritual wall of sound space-rock and musically the gig is a great success.

SJU is released on both LP and CD. This is considered by the band as an "in-between projects" album and is originally released in 1000 CD and 500 LP copies only.
Their new more progressive style is however greeted with great enthusiasm all over the world and the CD is re-released on SBm sweden in May.
An edited version of "7" from the album is released on a Norwegian compilation CD and they are also asked by Cleopatra records, USA for a contribution to a forthcoming 3-CD space/krautrock compilation.

Meanwhile the band continues to work on the concept album and by the time you read this they may well have gone into the studio to start recording it. With it's 13 songs, expanded line-up and fantastic lyrics, this may well become the ultimate progressive spacerock album, at least if you're into the unique sound of darXtar....

the most recent news and Calvert connections...:
A few weeks ago, darXtar played a Prog-Rock festival in Stockholm and performed a song called Position Unknown - based on a short piece of prose, that Robert Calvert wrote for the extensive Hawklog booklet, that accompanied Hawkwind's 2nd album In Search of Space.

LINKS - More on : darXtar