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Elonkorjuu - Harvest Time CD (album) cover

HARVEST TIME

Elonkorjuu

 

Heavy Prog

3.14 | 33 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The original vinyl of the debut album by the Pori-based band ELONKORJUU ('Harvest' in Finnish) has been the most valuable collector's item in Finnish rock: in 2005 its average prize was 435 euros, 50e more than the second priziest, APOLLO's eponymous album. Even 1500 euros has been paid for it. This heavy prog classic was recorded in a single day, almost live, after the group had slept the night in a car parked nearby the studio. Another day was used for the mixing. The album was released with a notable delay, after some line-up changes, and it didn't really give the full picture of the band's capacity. Rock critic Waldemar Wallenius's article was loaded with angry frustration as he compared the shortened tracks of "the failed, meant-to-be-good album" to the powerful gigs he had witnessed. "No studio experience. No self criticism. No good producer."

Especially the latter is literally true. According to the guitarist and composer Jukka Syrenius, Chrisse Johansson who was credited as the producer "visited the studio just shortly for a couple of times". However, at that point the band had already reached a fair amount of success. Syrenius had previously played in a blues band called Blue & Black Friars Organization. In the autumn of 1969 Elonkorjuu came the second in the national band contest and a bit later recorded a long track 'Where's the Rising Sun' for the anthology Popmestarit (1971).

When Elonkorjuu played in rock festivals such as Ruisrock, the original vocalist Timo Hannukainen had been replaced by Heikki Lajunen (who's singing on this album). Drummer had changed for a couple of times. On the album Syrenius's cousin Ilkka Poijärvi, who studied music at the time, plays Hammond and also some flute and guitar. Despite the hurried recording, Harvest Time is quite impressive heavy prog. Vocalist-lyricist Lajunen's slightly rough voice fits very well into the hazy, dynamic rock, although the English pronunciation is rather unclear.

A perfect example of an epic-like feel in less than four minutes space is 'Captain'. The organ sound and the nuanced singing remind me of the early Van der Graaf Generator. After the electric guitar solo that cites a well known Slavonic song, the calmer section featuring flute would pass for the Genesis album Trespass. Jukka Syrenius appears as a decent songwriter but especially as an excellent guitarist, perhaps a bit too much so. Occasionally it sounds like everything else is just surroundings for showcasing the guitarist's talent. The album sold poorly and EMI lost its interest for Elonkorjuu which continued gigging. Further changes in the line-up occurred, and around '74 the band started playing simpler, funk based music.

(Based on a chapter of my book Prog Finlandia, 2016)

Matti | 3/5 |

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