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Alamaailman Vasarat - Vasaraasia CD (album) cover

VASARAASIA

Alamaailman Vasarat

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.21 | 45 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Alamaailman Vasarat: Vasaraasia [2000]

Rating: 6/10

Writing these album/song titles will be the death of me.

Vasaraasia is the debut album from the insane Finnish sextet known as Alamaailman Vasarat (hereby abbreviated at AV). This band began as an offshoot of fellow Finnish avant-garde outfit Hoyry-Kone, a group that has gained a bit of a cult following despite their brief career. AV play wild and zany music that displays influences from various seemingly disparate styles. Klezmer is the most apparent genre here, and it serves as the stylistic framework though which the experimentation takes place. Metal, jazz, folk, and ambient are all explored on Vasaraasia. This is an immediately interesting musical style, but this debut release turns out to be somewhat of a mixed bag. AV's strengths are abundantly apparent, particularly on the faster tracks - these guys are quite adept at playing super-charged hyper-klezmer. However, some of the slower tracks here end up sounding forced and ultimately dull.

The first two tracks, "Mamelukki & Musta Leski" and "Perikunta" start the album off well. Both are fast-paced klezmer songs with metal spice. "Lakeus" and "Unikkotango" bring things down a bit. These tracks are fairly dull, relying on drawn-out cello lines. The metal influence comes to the forefront on "Asuntovelka." The pump organ and brass compliment the grinding cellos quite well. "Kebab Tai Henki!" is somewhat of a by-the-numbers piece, blending in with the rest of the album. "Jano" features some cool Middle-Eastern sounds, but it's a dull track overall. "Tankkaustunti" and "Merikaarme" follow in a similar path. "Hanta Hellii Kaarme" picks things up with solid piano and sax work. The boring "Hakumies" is what really brings this album down. This is an overextended slow piece with a needless amount of ambient noise. Irritating organ drones permeate most of the track; this fails to help, obviously. This track could have been much more effective if cut in half. Things immediately improve with the superb "Delhin Yot." This is what AV do best: zany and fun avant-klezmer. "Siltojen Alla" closes the album fairly well. The metal sections features some excellent drumming.

While AV certainly do display their potential on Vasaraasia, the final producing leaves me wanting. This album has an unshakable "samey" feel; tracks blend into each other, and it's difficult to identify specific memorable moments, even after many listens. The musicianship is spectacular, but the band seems unsure how to make their music consistently interesting and engaging at this point. This is an enjoyable listen, but it doesn't manage to be anything better than merely "good." Unfortunately, the finesse and sophistication that AV would later develop on future releases is largely absent here.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |

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