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Aquaplan - Old Waves New Seas CD (album) cover



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3 stars The second album by a Finnish band, this time sung completely in English, unlike their debut Paperimeri. I had this new CD for nearly two months on my shelf of the borrowed CD's before I even re-listened it. Well, the bigger reason for that postponing must be that I've been busy with other albums, but nevertheless... On the first round I remained quite cold to this music - there was something I didn't like, without really being able to put my finger on it - , but the later listenings were whole lot better. Though instead of learning to love the music I figured out what it was that I don't like.

The cover art (sunlight on water) reflects the nature of the music: flowingness, impressionism, richness in little details and the lack of grand gestures or solid structures. Also the lyrics paper has pictures of seashells, shrimps and such. The lyrics themselves don't much deal with oceans. They are not the easiest ones to get hold of; I think they tell something about human behaviour on a psychological and environmental point of view. The music has some folkish touch here and there but not as much as jazz element. Aquaplan have been compared to MOSTLY AUTUMN but certainly they don't have majestic Floydian solos or anything like that. They do have a female voice quite similar to MA's Heather Findlay. Also Sally Oldfield came to my mind (and Liisa Tavi from Finland). Musically Aquaplan has some resemblance with early WIGWAM (albums like Being), or Pekka Pohjola's solo material. Less keyboards perhaps, and more acoustic guitars.

The music is well played and sung, good and harmonic in a very mature way. It never uses cheap tricks to win the listener's heart. In fact, it has a sense of UNDERSTATEMENT. I mean while it keeps having that jazzy floating nature, it never starts flying. No notable contrasts. No solos or visible multi-part structure even in longer (8-9 min) songs. That's the thing I didn't like: it all remains so - how would I put it - introvert. As if no player has the guts to show off a little, to step forward from the ensemble playing. This gets irritating especially when there's no singing for a while. But otherwise, fine album, certainly worth checking out.

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Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars I had (and still have) problems with writing review for this album. More than 3 months since I rated it with 4 stars, I still can't find proper words. So excuse it for being little bit dull, I really don't know about this one. Maybe it's important element in understanding nature of this album, that it confuses me, even

I like it. Not so much, but I do. In certain way, specific occasion and only special mood for it. Because it's quite calm album (you know, sea waves), like a sea. But the question is (because being calm is just a way how to do good music, not content is the important thing) . But just

3(+), because there are things. Bad things. Bad feeling I have about this album. Nothing too clear to know exactly what it is. Maybe that entire album sounds almost the same, or rhymes (really, unpleasant rhymes), but for me, it's average album.

Don't expect more from me about this one, writing this was already torment.

Report this review (#229639)
Posted Sunday, August 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I found spontaneously the second album of this group from my home country, and listened to their musical heart which I believe pulsing like a light, modern sounding symphonic rock group does. Also some tender neo prog stuff which I have heard came into my mind, along with the record of Hungarian group And You and I. The rhythms and arrangements are quite complex, having some full stops and wild runs to many directions. Some comparisons to other Finnish bands might be Ageness from the more vivid proggy parts of the album, and maybe the record of Open Eye Band.

Though there are more ethereal new-age oriented sequences for synth soundwalls and the voice of Maarit Saarenkunnas, the dominating feeling remains however slightly distant and cool, emphasized by modern sounds, especially present in the drums. In the album's song cycle there are some progressive solutions to be detected. The start and end of the disc are done to a circle form basis. These conceal the four more shorter and accessible tracks in the first sequence, being compositions which are merging to each other quite fluently, making the track changes irrelevant. Latter are two eight minutes passing longer tunes, showing little more the musician's technical talents. The pop-oriented songs with lesser complexities sound quite much like sophisticated and well done late 1980's pop rock to my ears. All songs are written by Ari Sutinen, who is also playing electric guitar and synths. The compositions have quite much musical content, and also some tamer sequences with beautiful melodies counterbalancing the more vivid turmoil phases. The musical skill potential of the group has been properly used and also displayed. Achieving harmony and success arranging all these to pleasant packet must be quite challenging, and I think those aims along with getting a powerful emotional presence to the record weren't totally reached, at least from the viewpoint of my own taste. Also the feeling on the record is slightly dull; Though performers are precise, there doesn't seem to be much passion burning in the music. But if this possibly objective quality doesn't matter, there are very nice moments found here, and I believe the record is a sincere output of the musically talented people who made it. This is always fun, allowing some communication channels to other kind of people's ideas. I liked most the open and free ambiences, and the sweeter and acoustic pop-oriented tracks like "Choose" and "Oridinary Life". Fine compositions and performances certainly, and evoked some further thoughts about music. Though institutional art music elements are interesting, with this record I did not feel they would have brought very much extra value to the end result. From the longer tracks, I believe "Infrequency" is quite nice due impressionism which I prefer, as the form of the song is not very complicated, being more like a constant flow of musical virtuosic outbursts floating with calm jazzy manner.

Thus I took a pilgrim voyage to grand seer, proclaiming a vision revealing those people, to whom this Finnish prog rock album should be recommended; - If you liked Wigwam's "Titan's Wheel" and/or Tasavallan Presidentti's "Take Six", if should you study music theory at university, if you should be "a nearly middle-aged Finnish humanist, who has not been alienated from the society", complete your quest of new CD containing adult oriented intelligent pop-rock, as this record might be a potential candidate for your evenings' listening pleasures -

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Posted Monday, October 11, 2010 | Review Permalink

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