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Kosmos - Ajan Peili CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.52 | 4 ratings

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3 stars KOSMOS is a Finnish psych-folk group with a female vocalist who sings in Finnish. Their rather peaceful and mellow sound is acoustically oriented and features Mellotron. The debut album Tarinoita Voimasta (= 'Stories of the Force', 2005) was followed, at first in a steady two-year pace, by Polku (= 'The Path') and Vieraan Taivaan Alla (= 'Under an Unknown Sky'). The fourth album Salattu Maailma (= 'Secret World') came out in 2013, and a couple of months ago this fifth album was released. Ajan Peili means 'The Mirror of Time'. I translated the album titles in order to give an idea of the esoteric nature of the band's music and lyrics. The CD contains the lyrics and also their English translations.

If you're familiar with the earlier output, Ajan Peili offers no big surprises. In fact, it's so similar to their other albums that the basic constancy of the style is starting to affect negatively to the listener. Of course, sometimes a band or artist sticks firmly to the chosen style and makes it work better and better with each release. However, I'm afraid I don't have any plain reason to say Ajan Peili would be an improvement of its precursor. On the other hand, if you have heard some of the music of this band and want to get an album, you might just as well purchase this one and be satisfied.

The opening title track is a calm and slow-paced song, and a very typical Kosmos song at that. The delicate arrangement is beautiful and nuanced: at times the acoustic guitar is on the focus, at one moment Päivi Kylmänen's small-scale alto(?) voice is multi-layered, and the sound is finished with hazy Mellotron washes and violin. 'Eilinen' is a brighter, lighter little folk-rock song, not so far from what FAIRPORT CONVENTION did in 1969. The hazier approach dominates the rest of the album. I'd mention early 70's British acts such as FOREST, TRADER HORNE, MARY CELESTE and TREES as stylistic references.

Here and there the arrangements offer nice details. 'Aina lähellä' features xylophone. And as before, Kosmos incorporates slight Eastern flavour (in percussion, for example) to underline the psychedelic essence. Many of the songs themselves are rather mediocre, when speaking of song-writing instead of arrangement. After the fine opener, it's the sixth track 'Salainen oppi' (dedicated to madame Blavatsky) that impresses me as a whole. The piano backing, already atmospheric in itself, is accompanied by Mellotron and soprano saxophone in a charming way. The two remaining tracks feature the reading by Juha Kulmala. His monotonous voice was heard in the preceding album too, and now this extra ingredient tastes a bit like old wine to me. The 12-minute 'Minä olen' (= I Am) is nevertheless a highlight, a perfect example of the band's ability to weave esoteric atmospheres and progressive rock flavour. Wish they made more tracks like this, with wider dynamics. All in all, this is a representative album from Kosmos.

Matti | 3/5 |


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