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Alamaailman Vasarat - Huuro Kolkko CD (album) cover

HUURO KOLKKO

Alamaailman Vasarat

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Fifth album of this crazy Finnish group that is now well established, but are also now busy rethreading the same fabric with not much change ever since their debut album. Well, I guess I'd better be clear: there are novelties here. First this is a concept album about the explorer Huuro Kolkko (hence the album title), although you'd have a hard time telling what the story is about since there is no vocals (call back on Tuomari Nurinio???;o)))) and the booklet says nothing of the concept's storyline. Second, Jarno Stakula (ex-Sarkula) has had built custom for him a new "tubax" (a contrabass-sax), and the group acquired a Theremin, but none of this is likely to provoke drastic changes under the midnight sun or noon moon.

Unfortunately, the group doesn't extend their scope from their usual Kelzmer-Manouche soundscape, which by now are really wearing thin on the most resilient Avant-prog fans like me. Even more so that the group is hardly the only one occupying that niche - look towards Quebec or to a lesser extent Belgium. If the debut had managed to make a small dent in the music market and cause a shock with its Black Metal Cellos and nearly-uncontrollable brass, one must say that after 4,5 albums, this one is not much different and certainly never surprises the auditor. Whether this album is better than the previous ones? Worse , certainly not, better also not. Neither is it different or unusual for them.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#230300)
Posted Friday, August 07, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars What a band!This band is a great example of what it is progressive.Their music is a blend of metal,punk and oriental music.Specifically they use persian scales.They don't use rock orchestration.They play with classical instruments.But also they have saxophone,accordion,trombones e.t.c.That's the amazing thing about Alamaailman vasarat.They're the metal-oriental version of Apocalytica.I am very impressed with this band!I'm very satisfied that there are such great bands like this.The music of the album and generally the music of the band will remind you Slayer,Goran Bregovic and Apocalyptica.So,you understand for what experimentation I'm talking about.I review this album first because is the one that I've heard most.Also their music is very appropriate to be a soundtrack in a movie about America of 50's.

My favorite tracks are:Mielisaurus,Meressa ei asuta,Luonto tuli lahelle(reggae-jazz with Goran Bregovic),Tujuhuju(oriental thrash metal)and Omalla ajalla(smooth jazz)

I recommend it to everyone who appreciates good and special music.A music gem!

My grade:8,5/10

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Send comments to Prog Geo (BETA) | Report this review (#391118)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Univers Zero goes Klezmer and trash metal simultaneously, or RIO is undead. Welcome to Alamaailman Vasarat, or the "Underworld of the Hammers".

The only one negative thing about the Hammers' latest masterpiece "Huuro Kolkko" is that it is a little short with it's 39 minutes. But it rocks! And it does that - this time - without any kind of a guitar. Now, that's an achievement! These Finnish virtuoso's do it, using a fancy collection of string and wind instruments, including two cello's, Tubax and Theremin. Now, what on Underworld are those last two things? Tubax is a "truly rare beauty", a special contrabass saxophone. This is what you will find on Wikipedia about it: "a modified saxophone, developed in 1999 by the German instrument maker Benedikt Eppelsheim." It seems to be a result of crossbreeding between tuba and sax, hence the name. Heil to this German musical botanist! Tubax is a real fun; it is huge and makes very, very low sounds. I guess, it's quite hard to play on that underworldly thing. According to the band, the instrument was made by Eppelsheim especially for Jarno "Stakula" Sarkula, the band's leader and composer of the most music. And Theremin... You know, the first synthesizer, invented by the Russian Professor Theremin in 1920s? Anyway, you play it by moving your hand between two antennas.

"Huuro Kolkko" is a concept album named after an until now unknown Finnish explorer of the begin of the 20th century. Read the whole story on their site, very amusing. In short, one night Kolkko is inspired by a strange vision, undertakes an expedition, finds an unknown continent and stumbles upon some mind breaking phenomenon there, which results in his madness. And that is a pity: now he is not able to tell anybody about his discovery.

The album starts with a stunning, hallucinatory opener, "Mielisaurus" ("Mindsaurus"). I couldn't write a better description of the song, than one the band did themselves. It "can be described as a shining example of "Hammerbilly" music style, starts with cellos and pump organ, followed by Tubax ? and enters the verse with tenors and trombone. Don't miss out the haunting Theremin in the calm section before the end." What can I say more? Listen to it, you will be blown away.

All other songs on the album are highly imaginair composed, fantastically played and arranged with an unbelievable density and enthusiasm. You will hear a thousand beautiful tunes, music styles and moods, all according to the story of course. Once more, on vasarat.com you will find notes and explanations to every song. No need to repeat it all here. Read it, you will see the film called "Huuro Kolkko" before your eyes, and surely smile more than once. The guys definitely have a sense of humour, which you will also find in the music itself by the way?

Alamaailman Vasarat was founded in 1997 by Sarkula and drummer Teemu Hänninen. "Jarno had just bought a soprano sax - a reason enough to start a new band!"? This is their fifth album. Their earlier efforts didn't went unmentioned as well. They received Finnish Teosto prize in 2005 for their collaboration album "Kinaporin Kalifaatti" (with singer Tuomari Nurmio). They have done theatre and film music, among others for an animated movie Elukka ("The Animal"), which has got an award for the best music score at French film festival Premiers Plans in 2006. They played on many festivals, including world music and progressive rock festivals. Among them are Músicas do Mundo (Portugal), Stranger Than Paranoia (Netherlands), TFF Rudolstadt (Germany), Urkult Folk (Sweden), Pit Inn (Japan), NEARfest (USA), etc.

Let me give you this one piece of advice: if you like Univers Zero and Henry Cow, or you are an open minded music lover, looking for something really new - buy this album, and all the rest, you will not regret it. I myself regret only one thing: that I discovered the band only now, ergo I deprived myself of a huge pleasure during the last 10 years. At least 5 stars here, please!

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Send comments to justaguy (BETA) | Report this review (#547158)
Posted Sunday, October 09, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Alamaailman Vasarat: Huuro Kolkko [2009]

Rating: 8/10

After 2007's wonderful Maahan, Alamaailman Vasarat had shown the progressive/avant-grade musical community (or whatever scene their music appeals to, if any at all) just how excellent of a band they are. That album took everything enjoyable about the band's sound and synthesized into a consistently engaging forty minutes of music. Huuro Kolkko does the exact same thing. AV have never been particularly interested in modifying their sound; they know what style of music they play, and they play it well. Huuro Kolkko shows the band further cultivating the elements of their style: instrumental interplay, catchy instrumental hooks, genre mashing, and tight musicianship. The result is an album that, while not necessarily better than Maahan, is at least on par with it.

'Mielisaurus' opens the album with an infectious cello/brass riff. This is a fantastic track that makes me want to play air-trombone while listening to it. Helminen and Manninen's sweeping cello lines really shine on 'Liskopallo', particularly on the medieval-sounding conclusion. 'Meressa Ei Asuta' features fantastic interplay between the warbling organ and the bombastic reeds/brass. 'Natiivit' is a surprisingly pretty piece from these crazy Finns. This sounds like something that could be played during the credits of a mainstream film. 'Lounto Tuli Lahelle' is a strange combination of funk and klezmer that actually works enormously well. 'Tujuhuju' is a heavy track with strong Middle-Eastern style sax playing. The rhythm section is ferocious here. 'Luola' is a long jazzy piece with absolutely superb sax playing. The unusual 'Omalla Ajalla' sounds like something out of a Western film. The bass-tuned cello and pump organ make this track excellent. The album closes with 'Lautturin Viivat', a smooth-jazz piece that ends things in a pleasant fashion.

Alamaailman Vasarat have created yet another gem with Huuro Kolkko. All of these tracks feature airtight musicianship and irresistible songwriting. Various styles, including funk and country/western, have been added into the insane genre-blender. AV have polished and re-polished their style over their decade-long career, and it has culminated in an album full of unique, catchy, and downright fun compositions that should not be missed by fan of progressive music. I will continue to support and follow this band, and I can't recommend this album highly enough.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#553037)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | Review Permalink

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