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.