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Veljeni Valas - Veljeni Valas CD (album) cover


Veljeni Valas



3.00 | 1 ratings

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3 stars Veljeni valas means either "my brother the whale" or "my brother's whale". A good example how various wordforms and suffixes sometimes make double meanings in Finnish language. This group is an instrumental trio of guitar, saxophone and percussion. The music is hard to categorize, just like Krautrock itself as a stylistcic term is very ambiguous (and therefore fitting). At least none of the best-known Krautrock bands is a close referring point. This is some kind of mixture of free-floating, meditative chamber jazz and ambient - sans keyboards! - plus, to a lesser extent, spacey space rock... or not really that actually. Anyway, the music never gets painfully avantgarde, instead it's rather calm and thoughtful, leaving plenty of room for the listener's emotions and inner pictures.

On can imagine sensing some freezy, melancholic Scandinavian nature here and there. For example 'Tanssit aamunkoitteessa' (Dance at Dawn) brings the Norwegian saxophonist-composer Jan Garbarek to my mind. Well, this is less melodic and more free-floating music than Garbarek, but yes, if someone had introduced these musicians to Manfred Eicher, the label could have been ECM. Juha-Pekka Linna's electric guitar playing is as meditative, weaving delicate nuances, as Joonas Outakoski's saxophone. They use their instruments like brushes on a vast canvas. The painting, so to speak, is abstract art with lots of white.

I don't like the way the tracks are listed in tiny print without numbers or running times; that makes it difficult to follow while listening. Even the three titles with a slash in between on No. 3 are separate tracks, thus increasing the confusion. Also the package design is very minimalistic: white and pale-blue, with sketchy withered dandelions and their seeds.

The percussionist Pekka Saarikorpi is not a rock player either. He gets a long solo appearance on 'Herääminen / Tanssiinkutsu' (Waking Up / Invitation to Dance), and unfortunately, for me, that's the most boring section on the album. Surely he's equally sensitive musician, but a bit more dynamic and powerful drumwork could have so easily increased the overall interest and excitement.

My favourite track is the melancholic 'Sade' (Rain). Saxophone plays slow, simple melody, guitar keeps playing soft chords and the clinging of hi-hat finishes the very ECM-like composition. On the whole, the listener has some difficulties staying completely focused during the 52-minute album. If you enjoy both ambient music and meditative chamber jazz, have a try, you'll probably find rare beauty and emotion in this music. Otherwise it may just drag you to sleep.

Matti | 3/5 |


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