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Pekka Pohjola - Jokamies [Aka: Everyman] CD (album) cover


Pekka Pohjola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.61 | 43 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Pekka will live on in our hearts trough his music, and this album is just one out of all of his adventures

You could say that Pekka Pohjola (13.1.1952 ? 27.11.2008 *R.I.P.*) changed my life when I listened to his albums for the first time. The two first albums (1972 & 1974) and ''Visitation'' (1979) showed me the different side of jazzy fusion rock. Pohjola's production expands from very symphonic bass based jazz to more guitar depended guitar ballads with strong classical music influences. His fingerprint is heard in some Finnish progressive rock masterpieces such as ''Fairyport'' and ''Being'' by Wigwam and he has been associated with people such as Jukka Tolonen, Mike Oldfield and Frank Zappa. Unfortunately Zappa and Pohjola didn't end up into any conclusion whatsoever and the album wasn't ever made and Zappa died in 1991 (yea *R.I.P.* - this is the last time I use ''R.I.P.''-preference in my review). What's more about Pohjola, well, he's a Finnish multi-instrumentalist and certainly good with the touch on his bass. When people talk about Pohjola in Finland, we're talking about the best bass player ever existed in Finland (and one of the best ever existed in Europe) and a remarkable jazz artist.

Jokamies/Everyman didn't gain too much attention in its time in the middle of 80's. It's shame. Pohjola dropped off from the attention little bit he deserved after the 70's and you could say that the new punk-movement has something to do with it. If bands like Sex Pistols had never existed would the things be alike? I doubt not. I know that this is some drama 'bla bla bla' and Pohjola has gained lots of attention in Europe as a bassist but still the albums Pohjola released in his solo career in the 80's didn't grab as much attention as the earlier ones . I'm still not comparing this album to Pohjola's earlier album by any means, but after couple of listens, as in my case, many ears, you realize that this mister isn't joking around. The care is heard in his music and every albums has some of 'it'. And every album is different from another. If Pohjola thought that he had developed something bad ? he didn't release it. Only small flaw in Pohjola's music is that he has sometimes some obvious Zappa-influences, but I wouldn't hate him because of that. If you have heard the ''hot mice'' by Wigwam (from the album Fairyport and composed by Pekka Pohjola) you know what I'm talking about.

Jokamies/Everyman kinda continues the theme of B the Magpie and Visitation and relies on if you like symphonic ballad-kind of jazz. Still the album differs from all other Pohjola's albums by its long range of synth work. Music quite simple all in all but this simple album doesn't need anything else. Some people who won't listen to no other progressive bands like Rush, Yes, Genesis, KC etc. ? I don't know if you will love this album as a masterpiece or something above average, because from its struckture, this album reminds me of some kind of soundtrack. I don't remember if this album was really meant to be a soundtrack for the Finnish series with the same name but the drums have a bit cheap sound on this. They are obviously made by drum machine. Yea it sounds bad if I mention it just like this. But what if I approach it this way. Imagine you're watching a movie, a series whatever. You don't want to hear a drum solo in the middle of a dramatic moment don't you? It's not the part of the theme and yea. After couple of listens this won't bother you anymore. To my mind this album is trying to give you a certain mood. Pohjola hasn't never been those who like to improvise in the live performances and show some lighting speed bass solo'in. Composing is more like the idea in Pohjola's music. When he shows some of his smooth bass playing it has to fit into the song. Bass is Pohjola's guitar.

So, what is so exciting about the album that seemed so off-the-place and boring to some people? I don't know. It's obviously a concept album but doesn't offer you any story but the song titles show you the way. It fascinates me because of some reason. Like in B the Magpie the story of life is told without words and when the story is so simple it doesn't leave you wondering. The empty gaps in the story are created by your own imagination. In my opinion the album is about a simple man who ends up being in debt to some gangsters and when he's not able to pay it he's often harassed and made to pray for his life (''Kuolema?'' and ''Kuristus'' are the ones). The music is about the gloomy and depressive atmosphere caused by the stress and fear. Still this man finds out that there's more of his life and remembers peoples of his pasts and soon he and gets to known by new people (and even a woman?). Still in the end, may be that he gets killed by a hitman (''Umpikuja''). He dies happy, because the end of the album is very beautiful. ''Umpikuja'' is one of the Pohjola's high moments. The song is stunningly beautiful. The album was a story of man's life without words and I think you can identify a person who's about to die with all the people of your life in your mind, smiling.

These are my ''2deep4u''-words but this is what the album made me think. This made me go through my thoughts in a different way. Pohjola succeeded to make beautiful music again. Think of artists like Vangelis and Tangerine Dream and if you're into Rick Wakeman's newest productions this won't be confusing for you as a listening experience. This album is less eclectic of course.

Everyman/Jokamies is very aligned and it will be hard to rate the songs, but yea, let's rate 'em! ( I don't rate intros and outros, never, but exceptions will be made if they can hold on their own or if they're long. This album doesn't really have any long song)

Velka (Debt) (0:45): a short gloomy intro, an opener for the next song

Velkavanki (Gaol) (3:15)/****: Thickens the mood which is till gloomy. As a song it's a nice opener and the synths are good. Still this is the spot where the drum machine hits you. Not so much instruments used that you would hope. Even when this song doesn't hit you with its instrumental managements it'll become very iconic after couple of listens. This is ''the beginning''.

Blues Vernerille (Blues for Verneri) (3:47)/*****: Very cute like guitar ballad. If you think you can remember some random movie (a cheap one) about young love in the 70's this would easily fit into the theme. Guitar playing is good in this one and even when this isn't an epic it's still above the average guitar solo. Pohjola shows that he has a sense for romantics.

Kuolema? (Death?) (5:17)/*****: Two synths and a piano. Pohjola shows his powers in his style of compositions. A lovely song. Imagine yourself waking up in a place you don't know you are. I could describe this song like it. Atmosphere's a bit dark but a contradictory way to build up melody. I don't know if I should be relieved or scared. It confuses you and that's why this song is so fascinating.

Toivo (Hope) (2:32)/*****: 'Hope' describes this song well. Because of some reason the song reminds me of Camel's production. Here Pohjola tries to hit you with a solo synthesizer and succeeds at it. A nice composition.

Koraali (Coral) (3:17)/*****: Very happy, pure song after another. Mood is like in someone's wedding. A small choir sings something in Latin I guess and synths play a huge role in this too. If you're a friend of potential orchestral music you won't be disappointed.

Kuristus (Strangling) (5:00)/*****: Suddenly the tone become very doom like but still this is beautiful. It begins from a desperate and miserable mood but builds up the hope from the beginning to the end. Imagine yourself hanging from a cliff with one hand and your friend is hanging from the other. Your will is not crushed and you want to make it out. An awesome track and the guitar has a small role within the synths. In this song Keimo Hirvonen plays real drums!

Umpikuja (No Way Out) (7:26)/*****(the best track): Now we're talking. This is 'a song' and isn't tied up to the album so validly like the others. This song can stand on its own. The synths are wonderful, like they would have taken some influence from Italian progressive rock and Pohjola shows his touch in bass real time for the first time in this album (yes we get a wonderful bass solo). Guitars do the penetrating slide impact in the chorus. This is the most eclectic song on the album and the guitar makes the song a bit heavy. Composing is all in all perfect and richest the track on the album in an instrumental way. In my opinion this is one of the Pekka Pohjola's high moments as an artist.

Rakkaus - Vapaus (Relief) (2:50)/*****: Yea this album deserves a beautiful ending. This song is like ''Toivo'', but is more outro-ish. Pekka shows us a wide way to use synths.

Agnus Dei (3:28)/*****: This song could had been the best if it hadn't been so depended on singing. A choir sings and a visiting artist Kassu Halonen (nowdays very famous musician in Finland) shows a fine performance singing from the bottom of his throat. Style is very typical for the Finnish choir. If you have had your first touch in Finnish choir by listening Höyry-Kone's Huono Parturi intro ''Beata Viscera'', this is being sang in the same way. This shows how selective Pohjola can be. The option is very surprising and very fitting. This album deserved an ending like this. Very good!

The final rating: If we say that B the Magpie and Visitation earn full 5 stars then this album gets 4 and a strong half star. This isn't certainly for anyone, but it hit me! Deep! A very special album.

li.ouhhh | 5/5 |


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