Tom Doncourt & Mattias Olssons Cathedral: A sonic Polaroid of the friendship they shared!

Tom Doncourt & Mattias Olssons Cathedral

In 1978 the album Stained Glass Storie with the band Cathedral was released. This album is regarded as a masterpiece by us progheads. Tom Doncourt was a vital musician in making that album and he played keyboards, glockenspiel, percussion and sounds.

Mattias Olsson is perhaps best known as the drummer for the Swedish progressive rock band, Änglagård. Änglagård have made three legendary and fabulous prog album. Hybris in 1992, Epilog in 1994 and Viljans Öga from 2012.

Currently Mattias Ohlsson is credited with some sort of involvement in nearly 150 projects. From his Roth Händle Studio outside Stockholm, he records and produces bands from all over the world, and composes and records tracks for his own projects. He’s also touring regularly with several bands and, in his free time, writes for several Swedish publications.

When Doncourt and Olsson make music together, it is very interesting and exciting for everyone who loves prog. Olsson states that, « it is  a very personal album so it has felt important to try to convey the background to why it is the way it is. It is also emotionally quite raw and open. But I had no choice but to be honest». The track #1

To bring out the right nuances and feelings, we let Olsson talk!

«Before Tom passed away last Spring we had been working on an album together on and off for a year…Whenever I was touring or recording in the US I would stop by his studio on Long Island on my way back to Sweden and we would write and record together…The process was incredibly relaxed, open and fun with a lot of story sharing, joking and discussions about unusual instruments, music and art. Already from the start we had decided that this album was going to be Progressive rock in the vein of our old bands Cathedral and Änglagård».

«This meant that we wanted to record as much as possible live with little or no editing using computers as little as possible…and the music to be unsafe, on the edge of falling apart all the time…We would write together… improvise something and then figure out how to play it later…Either he or I would come up with an initial idea and then that would naturally lead into the next section…In a way we were finishing each other’s musical sentences…It was a very laid back way of composing. No egos or conflicts whatsoever. The strongest musical idea won».

«We were both obviously aware of the fact that Toms time was limited but he was always in great mood and I even got the feeling that writing, recording and creating was a distraction from the darkness ahead and that the creative process energized him…The idea that he wouldn’t be around to hear the finished album was never even discussed».

«Between recording sessions we would go to Lincoln Center and see 2001 performed with a live orchestra and choir, Go to Moma, Visit Jackson Pollock’s house or go to local flea markets and pawn shops. Everything we did bled into the music we were making…These conversations and memories are with me forever and have changed the way I hear and see the world». 

«When Tom passed away in March 2019 Poppies and Today I Think I’ll Go Crazy were finished to about 95%. The poppy seeds were done in Stockholm as a intro or interlude which triggered Tom to record Today I’ll go Crazy to which I’ve added some percussion and Hampus did some guitars…Chamber was the last track that Tom wrote for the album and he sent me a rough sketch of it two weeks before he passed away. Me and Hampus have rerecorded Chamber replaying Toms ideas note for note but also replacing samples with real instruments as Drums, Harp, Guitar etc. The idea was to add as little as possible and amplify what was there as much as possible to retain Tom’s original vision».

«Finishing the album has been a strange and eerie process as the music was created by the two of us during a long, intuitive and wild conversation. And now that dialogue has gone silent…but whenever I have felt lost or needed help or guidance I have always turned to the music we created together…Everything I need to know is there and when you listen to it Tom’s voice is as loud and clear as ever. Make it weird, funny, loud and honest. Don’t clean it up. Leave ink smudges, out of tune Mellotrons and the odd offbeat tom hit. Because that is where the real emotions are…hiding and trembling with excitement». 

«You will probably listen to this album as a bunch of progressive rock songs but I hear it more as a sonic polaroid of the friendship we shared and the love and respect we had for each other which made us feel free and safe to create, explore and have fun. I feel very proud that with this album there is something physical that you can actually hear and experience from that room in Long Island over and over again. They were very special moments and if you listen closely I think you can hear it».

Roth Händle studios is a weird world and a  recording studio located in Stockholm, Sweden, run by producer and musician Mattias Ohlsson.


1. Poppy Seeds Intro

2. Poppy Seeds

3. Chamber

4.#1 10:38

5. Tower Mews

6. Today

7. Poppies in a field

8.The Last Bridge Organ

Releases December 10, 2020

All songs written, recorded and produced by Tom Doncourt & Mattias Olsson.  Lyrics by Tom Doncourt and recorded at Tower Mews, Long Island and Roth Händle V, Stockholm. Mixed by Stefan Fandén and Mattias Olsson and mastered by Thomas Plec Johansson and cover by Henning Lindahl.

Tom Doncourt:

Mellotron 400, Chamberlin M1, Moog 15 modular, Hammond Organ, Grand Piano,

Yamaha CS-30, Ondéa, Bird Organ, Wurlitzer Electric piano, Clavioline, Hammond Solovox

Mattias Olsson:

Drums, Tuned, untuned and detuned percussion, Electric guitars,

Baritone guitars, Wurlitzer electric piano, turntables, Speak & read, Vako Orchestron,

Optigan, Gizmotron, Chamberlin Rhythmmate,

Guest musicians:

Hampus Nordgren-Hemlin with electric Bass, Additional electric and acoustic guitars, Fender VI, Jenco and Schiedmayer Celestes, Vako Orchestron, Hohner Bass 2, Hohner Guitaret, Omnichord,

Jerry Jones electric sitar,

Akaba with vocals,

Stina Hellberg Agback with harp on Poppies,

Hanna Ekström with violiin and viola on Poppies,

Anna Dager with cello on Poppies.


About Ulf Backstrøm (7405 Articles)
Mitt hovedfokus er musikk som er basert på progressiv tenking. Jeg er på ingen måte ensporet innen musikksmak, i likhet med intensjonen bak prog. Sjangerbegrepet er egentlig temmelig uinteressant annet enn til å gi en pekepinn om hva slags musikk det er snakk om i en anmeldelse. Jeg søker god musikk for å utfordre meg som lytter. God musikk til å trigge mine musikalske smaksløker, og til å sette i gang mine refleksjoner. Da er sjansen stor for at jeg utvikler meg og lærer, noe som bør være drivstoff for et hvert menneske. Fordi det å lære og utvikle seg er noe som tilfører livet en nødvendig porsjon "krydder". Slikt krydderet finner man blant annet i musikk. Ikke overraskende mener jeg at progressiv musikk har den fineste "smaken". På den annen side kan musikk med eller uten progressive elementer være godt nok til hverdags. Til fest derimot holder bare rendyrket prog! Må jo også få med at jeg rimelig kritisk, og jeg mener at det lages mye prog som er i beste fall uinteressant, og faktisk mye som er pinlig dårlig. Heldigvis oppveies dette av ekstremt dyktige aktører som for eksempel: Flower Kings, Mostly Autumn og White Willow, for å nevne noen tilfeldig valgte.
Contact: Website

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