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Fantasia - Fantasia CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.76 | 46 ratings

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3 stars Finnish act Fantasia came out of the ashes of the Blues Rock band St. Marcus Bluesband in 1973, at a time when the members were experimenting with multiple music forms.They were Hannu Lindblom on vocals/guitar, Jukka Halttunen on guitar, Markku Lonngren on bass, Paavo Osola on keyboards and Karl-Erik Ronngard on drums, but soon Lindblom and Ronngard were left alone due to direction conflicts.They were joined by Harri Piha on bass and Roul Helantie on keyboards/guitar/violin and in 1974 they won the first prize at Finnish Rock Championship contest.This led to their signing by Hi-Hat, a company fighting Love Records for the best prog label in the country.With the help of Mikael Wiik on guitar and Pekka Poyry from Tasavallan Presidentti on sax they recorded their self-titled debut at Finnlevy's Studio in Helsinki, produced by Wigwam's drummer Ronnie Oesterberg and Mikael Wiik.The album came out late in 1975.

''Fantasia'' draw influences from the jazzy sound of WIGWAM, no doubt about it, but it was more in the vein of Classic Prog in terms of structures.It's actually a soft, jazzy Prog Rock album with detailed arrangements and multiple sources of inspirations with the jazzy elements dominating the music, but there is also space for psychedelic textures. Fusion parts and even some light symphonic keys in the process.The varied influences led to a deep instrumental background, which included organ, sax, synthesizers and electric piano, eventually creating music with lots of variations and diverse moods.Mostly instrumental, this one explores the more mellow side of Progressive Rock with an impressive rhythm section, swirling around jazzy patterns and more groovy, psychedelic beats, surrounded by the careful guitar plays of Hannu Lindblom, somewhere between PEKKA RECHARDT and JAN AKKERMAN, and the beautiful keyboard moves of Roul Helantie, characterized by atmospheric synths, soft organ washes, jazzy electric piano and more Fusion and intricate flashes.The atmosphere is pretty dreamy, getting even more ethereal with the use of sax and violin in a couple of tracks, and the arrangements are always nice and flawless, albeit less energetic than expected.

The album sold about 2000 copies, which were not the anticipated number by the Hi-Hat management.Thus Fantasia never made it to a second album.They still toured in Soviet Union in 1976, but changes in styles and line-ups led to incosistent musical results and they broke up in 1979, giving birth again to St. Marcus Bluesband and its more solid and accesible bluesy sound.

Cool jazzy Progressive Rock with interesting arrangements.Elements of Fusion and Psych Rock are all over the place for a fine discovery from 70's Finland.Warmly recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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