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Wigwam - Being CD (album) cover

BEING

Wigwam

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.89 | 102 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kurtrongey
5 stars From the land of Sibelius comes a wondrous work of progressive rock. This is a strange beast, ostensibly a concept album by a band that was obviously in the process of fragmenting. There's no collaborative songwriting - the music for each individual track is decisively written by a single member. However, the album is divided into 5 sets of coupled songs, using the differing writing styles to set up strange but emotionally affecting juxtapositions. Keyboardist (and nimble, soulful co-lead vocalist) Jukka Gustavson took the reins for this album and we should be thankful he was given such complete control over his material. He wrote the largest number of tracks - five, including the two longest pieces, "Pedagogue" and "Prophet." His keyboard arrangements are kaleidoscopic cocktails of Hammond organ, VCS3 synthesizer, and Fender Rhodes. Three songs are by Dylan-informed singer Jim Pembroke. Two are by bassist Pekka Pohjola, who shows a knack for inventive horn arranging in "Planetist." Pembroke is noticably absent from the Gustavson-penned material and is restricted to a spoken voice-over with one of Pohjola's pieces. This calls into question his ability to execute the complex music written by these other members. His tune "Marvelry Skimmer" brings the album to an affecting, autumnal close.

The album seems to make a blanket statement condemning politics and advocating the pursuit of inner peace and spiritual fulfillment. This outlook was to culminate in Jukka Gustavson's becoming an ardent Jehovah's Witness in the ensuing years. There are fairly clear stabs at communism and capitalism, but capitalism gets the worst rap.

Although a lot of musical territory is covered, the band's ability to mix and swap between blues-rock, jazz and cerebral classical constructions makes it a confident recommendation for lovers of Dave Stewart Canterbury bands (Egg, Hatfield & the North) and Steely Dan's most progressive moments, such as the title tracks of _Aja_ and _Gaucho_.

kurtrongey | 5/5 |

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