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Time Traveller - Chapters I & II CD (album) cover


Time Traveller

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4 stars 4,5 stars actually! It seems that I have an honour to be the first to review this one. This is one of the greatest new prog albums I've heard this year so far! Great compositions and strong themes and especially absolutely fantastic guitar playing!! There's also lots of Hammond organ and mellotron present on this album.

According to TT's website, album consists on two first chapters on a trilogy, so this one is to have continuation - I'm impatiently waiting for the next chapters!

Highly recommended!

- Jukka

Report this review (#179417)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Juhani Nisula is a Finnish multi-instrumentalist who I've had the pleasure to discover through his Myspace and get to know his entertaining brand of instrumental prog rock. Time Traveller is his project where he writes and arranges all the music. This album called Chapters I & II is the first part in a series of release he envisions. It features multi-part compositions where the keyboards (of various kinds) alternate the lead role with the guitars (all played by juhani); the music flows on uninterrupted, moving from theme to theme, from one temperament to another with each track being distinct from the others by the melody and the instruments that dominate that specific composition. Divided into two chapters, the music is flowing steadily in each of these, advancing naturally from one track to the other, mostly very dynamic and powerful, sometimes blues-like sounding (in rhythm and guitar sound) and at others even a bit of hard-rock like; but mostly the variety, the vast scope and the complexity of this piece as a whole is very rewarding for the prog-rock fan. The variety comes to place as I listen to the music, travelling from heavier segments (track 2) to more peaceful and emotional parts (track 5), from more spacey surroundings (short part in the middle of track 4) to more lush and "symphonic-prog"-like dispositions (middle of track 2), from the more complex type of arrangement to more straightforward rock (middle and ending of track 4, track 5) - all of these are submerged in a rich and enveloping sound. Chapter I is generally less heavy than II (though not by too much) and has a more "old-prog" feel to it, whereas Chapter II is more propulsive (again, generally speaking) and finishes with in a very nice finale that made me wish it would last longer. The occasional use of sound effects adds a special touch to the overall feeling of this album. There are however some moments and melodies which were less appealing to me in their more straightforward approach, more "usual-sounding" guitar lead tunes, but those were not too frequent and I'm sure other listeners will love those. Chapters I & II are a fine instrumental and heavy progressive rock adventure. I'm looking forward to his next release.
Report this review (#186876)
Posted Saturday, October 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Juhani is a very talented Finnish man who plays a wide variety of instruments on this album. He does have a drummer on board but he does the rest including an array of synths as well as bass, percussion, melleotron, organ and guitar. Make no mistake though,this comes off as a guitar album.

"Launch" is just that,the sound of a rocket taking off. "The Pioneers" come in which sounds great especially when the guitar comes in playing over top. Some mellotron and lots of synths follow, although it's that steady beat with guitar helping out that dominates. Ripping guitar before 4 minutes. "Shifting" is a short spacey and atmospheric section. "The Traveller" is really more of the same as we get a beat with guitar doing it's thing. A calm though 2 minutes in. It turns uptempo before 3 1/2 minutes with the guitar lighting it up. Some wild affects before 5 minutes then back to the original melody. "Floating" is slower paced (hey we're floating here) with guitar and drums leading the way. We do get some organ later.

"The Chase" is as the title suggests faster paced and more dramatic. "The Great Escape" has a good full sound as we get some deep bass, mellotron, organ and of course guitar. "Deep End" opens with the rain coming down as we hear organ and light drums. We get an Indian instrument of some sort as well. This song is a refreshing change. One of my favs. "The Release" features lots of guitar and the organ runs are good as well. A steady beat comes in and then violin takes over. "Outro" ends it all with a gong.

For me this seemed to lack depth especially for being listed under Heavy-Prog, but there is no questioning this man's talent. Good album.

Report this review (#192579)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The really beautiful album cover art with interesting winter day's light aroused my curiosity to this record, which I knew nothing about. It contains music arranged to two long sets from Finnish Juhani Nisula, who has played the guitars, bass and keyboards on the record and written the stuff in it. It's actually recorded in my neighbor town.

After listening the music I have to admit that Juhani appears to be really talented musician, providing ace guitar playing and comprehensive palette of vintage keyboard sounds to his compositions. Album has fine clear sounds (no fuzzy underground analog stuff here), and here are nice ambiences and effects are arranged between the main parts containing much to listen. "Part One" starts with nice rhythm which sounds first quite easy but isn't it after all. An excitement arose in me quite quickly; So very, very, very well played... These people playing here have not been tripping in the record studio with chemicals, but really focused to this thing. The music is also quite alive though most instruments are played by one person in studio. It sounds alive, containing much impulsive playing. Keyboard flavored and positive mild heavy rock sound with unconventional rhythms fit's quite well to the description Rush, which whole career sound could be an influence to this music, though there isn't similar pauses in rhythms and so much arranged elements than in the music of the group compared (neither is any melody or riff totally similar to theirs). Also little less psychedelic incarnation of Kingston Wall could be an association. First Chapter ends to mellower and slower part for guitar solo runs, sounding like studies of themes of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from The Sun" licks. Second Chapter starts running headlong towards the paths familiar of style from earlier songs, "long waited" Mellotrons are presented, and also many wonderful composed melodies among the more impulsive sounding details. The music changes to quiet lingering medley, starting to grow tension which is released nicely like the song name suggests, featuring some traditional folk sounds with violin as a nice spice in the soup. In the end music suddenly changes to a Mongolian monastery soundscape, ending the trip maybe little weirdly but not to total disappointment.

So, I think this is a great instrumental record for all fellow travelers in time interested of art rock which roots are in classic 1960's and 1970's prog recordings, presented here with modern, clean sounds and excellent performance and composition abilities. If you like screaming electric guitars, vintage keyboard sound textures and carefully created progressive rock records, do not hesitate checking this record out. The music is not too eccentric to drive listeners away, but not too conventional not to bring something interesting for listening. Hopefully we hear more from Juhani Nisula trough this project or otherwise. Also as favorable bonus due Keltainen Jäänsärkijä record store, this album is available as neat gatefold cover vinyl.

Report this review (#226695)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent instrumental albúm coming from Finland, bringing a mixture of several styles in that more they stand out Heavy-Prog, Symphonic-Prog and Space-Prog. The disk in itself is easily "digestible" and capable of pleasing even in a single audition. This mixture can be found inside of a single track as it happens in the track 4 " Part Two: The Traveller ", or in a separate way as in the track 2 "Part One: The Pioneers" a superb Space-Prog that reminded me plenty the band OZRIC TENTACLES, or still as it happens in the track 5 " Part Three: Floating" a ballad full of emotion to FRANK MARINO & MAHOGANY RUSH'S style,. besides dispersed for the disk you will hear echoes of bands as URIAH HEEP, JEFF BECK, JAN HAMMER and many other. My rate is 4 stars
Report this review (#306221)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Time Traveller begun somewhere in mid-00's as the personal vehicle of Finnish multi-instrumentalist Juhani Nisula, based on an idea circulating in his mind already from the 80's.He recorded his first work between January 06' and November 07' at his own Magic Mushroom Studio on an old 16-tracker, helped by drummer Zeko Takamaki and with the participation of violinist Sanna Agren and keyboardist Timo Ristila in one track each.The title was ''Chapters I & II'', part of a three-part trilogy according to Nisula, and the album was released in 2008 on Presence Records.

The album is split in the two different chapters, each consisting of five instrumental pieces, but actually they do not differ that much.Nisula's prefered style seem to be a rich and emphatic Progressive Rock with a groovy style and a tendency towards instrumental solos, based on his nice guitar work and its heavy keyboard armour, including all kind of analog equipment next to the more recent synth stylings.His music reminds a lot of THE MINSTREL'S GHOST or acts such as CRYPTIC VISION and PRESTO BALLET.Nisula uses his analog keyboards quite clever to come up with a clear, contemporary sound, and his compositions include influences from Classic Prog, Neo Prog and more modern and heavier Progressive Rock.His guitar work is great at moments with big time solos and powerful grooves, but his keyboard parts are also quite satisfying.Strong Mellotron openings, groovy organ runs, funky clavinet rhythms and lots, lots of soaring synthesizers.The result is a very good instrumental Prog album with rich and demanding soundscapes and efficient performances.

Very good debut by Nisula's Time Traveller.Enjoyable, adventurous and pleasant all the way, despite the feeling you have that you have already listened to this style many times in the past.Recommended.

Report this review (#916897)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 | Review Permalink

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