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III OF DREAMERS

Nurkostam

Neo-Prog


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DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Moderator / Psych Team
4 stars NURKOSTAM definitely have made progress in the latter of this decade.

III Of Dreamers can be, I do consider, a passport for them to step up toward an obvious progressive rock scene. Throughout this whole album are filled with heavy, drone, dark and dangerous soundscape ... however, this can never make us depressive at all. Complex but delightful sound steps go firmly ... much influenced by lots of pioneers in 70s progressive rock world. Despite of some catchy flavour in their previous EP, we can hear something like NURKOSTAM's strong progressive intention in this work, can't we?

Anyway, listen to the first track "Ulrich" and we can feel rigid darkness like Discipline-Crimson or strict sound-footsteps like Wigwam. As if a Heavy Rock Giant should break this overture out by stamping his feet ... this dangerous atmosphere even only for three minutes is very impressive. On the contrary, in the following song "The Camel Song" should they be conscious of some Camel texture? Or rather, this dramatic show reminds me Genesis' one. Smooth, dreamy keyboard works upon 'eavy dark depressive drumming can strike me directly. Flat and warped voices are a bit tough for me though ... "Ocean" is a windy, fruitful and monophonic flower garden. Please take a rest for a while upon here ... and their drama gets enthusiastic, passionate in such a quiet air. "Motherside" gets started with crazy psychedelia, with hard touch of dry psychedelic rock around 1970 (like Jacks' Marianne). The most interesting one for me in this album, and the last "Anon" too ... reminds me Ange in Philips era, very sensual and sticky / slimy synthesizer launcher over there. The epilogue goes on the peak of their dramatic storm.

From me one phrase, a great show indeed.

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Send comments to DamoXt7942 (BETA) | Report this review (#373040)
Posted Wednesday, January 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Once again, I'll preface this by pointing out that I was asked to review this album by a member of the band; I've tried not to let this affect my judgement, but I wanted to put this caveat in just so you know where I'm coming from here.

As on their previous album, Nurkostam kick off with a piece that shows a strong King Crimson influence, filtered through Anekdoten. I noticed immediately, however, that the production on the song seemed murkier and fuzzier - as though the group didn't have access to as advanced a studio as they had used on XIII.

Though this is disappointing, it isn't as damaging to the material as it might be, since III of Dreamers is a murky album which deliberately works to establish a spooky atmosphere, both with the driving, almost Zeuhlish rhythms of the Overture and the quiet, mysterious Camel Song (which features sudden Mellotron-led interjections which put me in mind of early King Crimson). A shadowy, mysterious tone asserts itself with the first tracks of the album, and though once again the vocals do very little for me, at least this time around they don't upstage the gorgeous instrumental work.

The moody opening gives way to gentle nostalgia in the placid Ocean, which has a sort of Sigur Ros quality to it and is really quite charming, with its muffled guitar sound contrasting against clear, twinkling tones. In similarly post-rock-influenced territory is the quietly dramatic The Dreamer, whose piano- and strings-led instrumentation travels from the calmness of Ocean back to the more troubled moods of the album's opening. It's certainly a decent track, and whilst I would usually think it a bad decision to sequence two instrumentals which don't involve full band instrumentation back-to-back, the emotional journey this part of the album takes you on is ample payoff for such an approach.

The second half of the album is somewhat less impressive. Almost Famous begins with a "tuning up" section followed by gentle acoustic guitar and restrained keys, before breaking out into a full band piece at the two minute mark, in a manner reminiscent of early Yes (it sounds like an earnest attempt to do their take on the sound of the Yes Album). Whilst pleasant, I think the acoustic guitar intro lasts slightly too long, and whilst the synth work in the outro is certainly tasteful, I think the vocals unfortunately show up the limitations of the band's vocalist once again. The inclusion of Polyphonic Spree-styled backing vocals is a help, no doubt, but when your backing singers are upstaging your lead singer then you've got a problem.

This is followed up with "Dike", which sounds to me like a careful tribute to Stupid Dream- era Porcupine Tree, especially with its inclusion of electronic drum rhythms and the guitar sound. Again, like so much of the material on XIII, it's a competent exercise in mimicing the style of a successful band, but it doesn't exactly help stake out what makes Nurkostam uniquely Nurkostam - if, indeed, the band has any identity at all separate from its influences. The louder, harsher Motherside that follows up Dike, in its allusions to later-period Porcupine Tree, only underlines this point. The album does at least finish on a high note with Anon, which includes a few jazzy influences and a certain foreboding atmosphere which creeps in over the course of the track, reminding me of the higher standards set earlier on.

I realise that doing a simple track-by-track review of an album isn't always the best approach, but with this material I struggle to find other ways to approach it; once again, Nurkostam have come up with a collection of songs that are all going in different directions, demanding that they be assessed separately rather than as a whole. On the whole, I'm going to give III the Dreamer a three-star rating: it's a definite and clear improvement over the debut, but it's let down a little by uneven production standards and, in particular, a few weak tracks in the second half.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#481263)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After checking out this first substantial release by Finnish Nurkostam I can subscribe Keishiro's review just about completely mainly where the influences are concerned. King Crimson is indeed detectable same as Wigwam, I would like to add Sigur Ros and a bit of Anathema and that should be about it.

The dreamy and creepy atmosphere that characterizes Sigur Ros' music is also to be found on this release, contrary to their short debut. Nurkostam obviously have found their musical destiny in the meantime and chose the complex, inaccessible and dark road within prog.

So this could be the cup of tea of many hardcore proggers and I would certainly advise them to have a listen when they run into this output. Neo prog is obviously the wrong category for Nurkostam if this is to be their road in the future. That is if you expect anything like Marillion, IQ or Pendragon. Mentioned references are just about the opposite of neo prog I strongly believe. So beware if you are an old fashioned neo devotee. If you like the bands I mentioned in the first paragraph though I would give this III of Dreamers a chance. Three stars (3,5) nonetheless (despite my different taste) because this is truly progressive and interesting enough to go for.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#483004)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'III Of Dreamers' - Nurkostam (4/10)

The second album and first full-length recording of this Finnish atmospheric rock trio, Nurkostam identify themselves as a laid back group of musicians with this, 'III Of Dreamers'. A fairly unknown band, I had little idea of the music I was going to hear from these guys, besides the rather mixed reviews they seemed to be getting over the site. While differing opinions on music can usually mean a very challenging record, 'III Of Dreamers' is mixed because- simply put- it is a lukewarm record. Although Nurkostam has a few great things going for them on this album, the sheer anaesthetized, and overly laid back feel of the album can make it a bore to someone not entirely invested in the mood.

When trying to describe the music of this trio, a more vintage-sounding Sigur Ros would come to mind. The band takes more than a few tricks from the sound of that band, but there's also a wealth of classic prog rock sounds, not lastly being that of the mellotron, which they use heavily in tandem with the dreamy and almost always mellow guitars. The vocals at times get a little deeper, but they largely sound close to Jonsi's.While they are quite close to Sigur Ros in their sound, the addition of vintage elements makes them a little more original, so Nurkostam has this going for them. Where I think 'III Of Dreamers' starts to falter is in the actual writing of their music. The album's undeniable highlight 'Almost Famous' is structured nicely, and has some beautiful melodies to keep it going. The track after that 'Dike' features a drawn out instrumental guitar soundscape that gets pleasantly eerie. As a rule though, many of these tracks feel like they never go anywhere, and the album ends before it feels like it ever got started. There are a few parts here where the energy begins to build, but overall, 'III Of Dreamers' gives the feeling of sitting down to watch a movie, falling asleep, and waking up just to catch the ending credits. It may be relaxing, but its certainly disappointing.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#485700)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Nurkostam: III of Dreamers [2009]

Rating: 4/10

This second album from Finnish group Nurkostam is a demonstrable improvement over the first. On XIII, it was obvious that these three musicians were trying to find a musical identity for themselves. The result was a shoddily-composed album that was all over the place; the band had no definitive goal or philosophy behind their music. I was thus happy when I listened to III of Dreamers because it is a much more focused work, and the band actually manages to develop a sound here. Still, Nurkostam is far from striking gold on this release. This is a melodic art-rock album based around mellow instrumentation. Some other reviewers have compared this album to Sigur Ros, but I disagree; this album may be mellow, but it is not ethereal. Although the band is indeed developing compositional maturity, this album still utterly fails to connect with me.

'Overture (Ulrich)' opens the album with a fairly catchy drum/synth groove, but the track doesn't really go anywhere. 'The Camel Song' is the strongest track on the album, with lush Mellotron and acoustic guitar creating excellent atmosphere. The vocals are less than stellar, though. 'Ocean' is a short and un-compelling guitar-based instrumental. The same can be said of the pastoral, piano-centered 'The Dreamer', even though the flute does sound nice. 'Almost Famous' begins with unremarkable guitar strumming, but Native-American sounding vocals soon enter in, making this a fairly interesting track. I actually enjoy the vocals on 'Dike', but it's an unexceptional track overall. The band makes a big mistake by introducing heaviness on 'Motherside', causing the song to be a complete dud. In addition, the very end of this track blatantly rips off the middle section of 'Ritual' by Yes. The lengthy closer 'Anon' bogs itself down with spoken-word passages, but the band makes a slightly successful attempt at climatic songwriting during the latter half of the piece.

Although Nurkostam laid the seeds for an excellent album here, the final product is dragged down by numerous passages that are nothing short of dull. Even the stronger moments are weakened by rather boring and uninspired instrumentation. This is in no way a bad album; in fact, it's fairly decent. However, I continue to feel little to no passion in the music. This is ultimately the central problem with Nurkostam's music, and the main factor preventing them from achieving excellence. This average album will not offend listeners, but it certainly will not excite them, either.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#487530)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The album starts very psychedelic , with the Pink Floyd'ish 3 min. 'Overture (Ulrich)'.

After 'Overture' we move into the main part of the album, This is dark music, just what you would expect from Finland, but not dark in the heavy ways of Sibelius, Or the chaotic way of Havoc Unit, this is dark in a mellow way, a darkness full of peace, could be like snow falling at night. But still I get a chill, like something disturbing is luring in the darkness, waiting to explode. The explosion dont happen, although we get some extra tension on 'Motherside' and the last part of 'Anon' ending the album, the only tracks where we seem to get a glace of the luring evil.

The album is in general low speed, with nice composition, mostly Symphonic inspirations, little if any drumming on the tracks, and not much electric guitars. Mellotron, Keyboards and Acoustic guitars, is the dominant impression, with some vocals, best used on 'Dike', one of my favorite tracks from the album. Another highlight is 'Anon', a long Symphonic builder, reminds me in parts of The Devils Triangle (King Crimson), but again far from as scary and anarchistic as Fripp.

In my opinion the album is clearly an improvement from XIII, the hole thing fits together much better, some part are wonderful, others not as much, but over all a stronger release from this independent prog band from the far north. Subjectively I am missing the explosion(s) into a more anarchistic music. Nothing wrong with this kind of mellow music, but I'm under the impression that the band is building up a tension, something is not as nice as it seems, we just never get that full answer. Who knows if that answer will come sometime in the future ?

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Send comments to tamijo (BETA) | Report this review (#491030)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
2 stars The dream didn't come true

Nurkostam is a neo-prog band from Finland that is virtually unknown to the progressive rock community. However, the band has been around for over a decade and has to date released three albums. They play a brand of psychedelic-influenced proggy alt-rock influenced by various classic bands like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Genesis. Mix a little alt rock and doom rock in the vein of Anathema and even post rock traces akin to Sigur Ros to the music and you have a pretty accurate portrait of Nurkostam's music. Sounds pretty good, right? For the most part, no. The main problem with the band's debut full length album III of Dreamers is a sad, simple, and much too common mistake amongst independent bands: the production is terrible.

The compositions, although in many places rather simplistic (may be a tip of the hat to the simplistic philosophy Floyd kept through most of their career), are for the most part good, but the fuzzy and unprofessional production butchers the music. As a drummer, the drum recording grates against my skin, as it seems that they were either recorded with a single microphone or by someone who is terribly unskilled with recording. Whether this effect of muffled, cruddy recording was intended I don't know, but I could never imagine that being a desired effect. Luckily the drums are not a very essential part of the music, but when they do appear, they are certainly a painful aspect of the music. Although I try to ignore production when reviewing albums, when a case like this presents itself, when the music is seemingly effected by the production I have a hard time pulling myself through a whole listen, it is a necessary measure.

Now musically the album isn't terrible. The music isn't the most sophisticated and is almost surely not neo-prog in the sense of neo that Marillion, IQ, and Pendragon have made us accustomed to. This music is more the lo-fi, mellow type of neo that pops up once and a while amongst the mass of neo-prog artists. The music implements heavy use of mellotron, melodic guitar noodling, and sparse but apparent bass lines. The vocals are to be taken with a grain of salt - at times they are mellow and melodic and complement the music well, while at other times they are harsh and rather difficult to listen to.

In the end, this album is a pretty mediocre release from this promising band. Sadly, it's only a few major errors that really put this band in the spits. Quite terrible production, overall uninspired compositions, and the lo-fi style of neo-prog that to be honest really isn't my cup of tea make this album a rather undesirable album in my opinion. The band's diverse and interesting combination of influences give the band a really great potential, but I think they need to iron out these errors before they will go anywhere in the progressive rock world. Potential and all, this album isn't anything special. 2+ stars.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#491747)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I was asked by a band member to write a review about their work, so I got the CD and after listening to it for weeks I still find it difficult to comment it. First of all let me start by saying I really don´t understand why this broup is under the neo prog banner: there is nothing remotely linked to what we called neo prog sound, except for some vague Gabriel era Genesis feeling on a couple of songs, and still there is only very little of it. So if you think of Marillion, IQ, Flamborough Head or Collage, forget it. It seems that this finish outfit decided to follow a much darker, droning path, and 80´s King Crimson and Sigur Ros seems to be the main influence, along with a few VDGG lines here and there.

What strikes me vividly is how bad the production is. The drums specially are appalling. Finish bands were always known for their excelent recording sound. So much so it is hard to believe it wasn´t done on purpose. For the songwriting is good overall. And they do have some nice ideas and seem to be good players (again the production might give a false impression). There is lot of mellotron and some monochromatic guitars. Several parts are quite climatic in a KC way in the 70´s. Vocals are mediocre at best. That is a department they should look for improvement fast (along with the even more urgent better recording technique and producer).

All in all not a bad CD, but clearly it has several issues that I hope will be solved by the next releases. If you like the style I mentioned before you should give this record a chance.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#500564)
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2011 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The third of the releases by this Finnish outfit to be made available to us reviewers, and the first full CD length release, III Of Dreamers is a 2009 release, and represents a nice leap in progress from its two predecessors.

As with the first two releases, there is so much going on here that to label the band is very difficult. Eclectic is the word which probably comes closest to describing their influences and output.

The opener, Overture (Ulrich), is a fantastic instrumental piece featuring swirling keys, a lovely bassline, and interesting guitar. Most clearly Crimsonesque, reminding me strongly of that band's Wetton era output without ever being wholly derivative. A very nice start.

The Camel Song features a lovely mellow start, with flute, and downbeat lyrics set against a lovely mellow melody. It is the prime evidence of a band who have taken a massive leap forward in terms of songwriting and delivery, and I especially love the powerful bass riffs. There is all sorts here - traces of Floyd, Crimson, early symphonic prog, in fact too much to really classify.

Ocean is a very nice ambient track featuring a dreamy guitar lick and simple percussion. Very effective track.

This mood continues with The Dreamer, which pulls off that very difficult task of telling a story without speaking a word. The orchestration, simple piano chords, bass, and effects create a peaceful atmosphere, one in which you can visualise the subject dreaming. Fantastic.

As for Almost Famous, the start reminds me strongly of much Of Anthony Phillips' acoustic output, before the vocals enter and the mellotron begins to cast its spell, whereupon the track takes on a far more ambient, almost folk prog, feel. The vocals let this down a bit, in that the male lead is a little bit too "down" to represent the uplifting feel of the track, and the band would have been better, in my opinion, by allowing the female backing vocalist (I do not know her name) to take a far stronger lead, because she has a lovely, lilting voice far more in place with the soaring music that accompanies the track.

Dike returns us to far darker territory, and the booming bass makes a triumphant return accompanied by a very strong mellotron in parts. Throughout, a whole host of instruments and effects (again, quite Floydian) make their presence known, and on first listen it is all quite overwhelming, and easy to state that it somehow "lacks direction". It is not until you hear it a few times that you really begin to appreciate what is a very good, dark, and accomplished piece of music very well performed.

There is another complete change of mood on Motherside, which hits you like a train coming at full pelt. Very heavy (again, I love the basslines) and also very psychedelic, this is not a track which you can say that you will relax to of an evening with a glass of wine, but it is certainly an interesting journey.

Things come to a supreme conclusion on the closer, Anon, which is again a very clear reprise of the band's strong early to mid Crimson influences, taken together with a satisfying feel for the symphonic. The buildup to the climax is electrifying and extremely well performed. They really have come on leaps and bounds in terms of their performance, because this is a track which has you utterly engrossed. It is the perfect close to this album, because it is, clearly, the whole of the parts of which preceded it.

In my reviews of the first two EPs, I stated that this band showed promise, and that promise is very clearly realised on this album, and I hope, and believe, that they will go from strength to strength. Others have mentioned the "poor" production on this album, but I can definitely state that listening to it in the Flac download format I have makes for pleasant, and good quality, listening.

When you look at the neo prog label the band have been assigned, some of you who associate that with the likes of Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Arena & etc (all of whom I love) might be put off. Don't be. If you like your prog eclectic, spacey, and, in parts, downright unpredictable, then you really should give this album a fair punt. Certainly, fans of Crimson, earlier Floyd, ambient prog, and music that is more than initially presents itself will enjoy this album.

Four stars for this, an excellent album which I will return to over the years to come. I have a feeling that this band will become a whole lot better known in the prog community over the next few years, and I wish them well. I would also acknowledge my gratitude to them for making their music available to me to review.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#501053)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars An interesting development

Having been invited to hear Nurkostam, I was really disappointed with their two EPs, "XIII" and "-C-". I dunno, it was like I could not not connect with their sound. But before his debut album, "III of Dreamers" , I can say that this trio has great potential.

Oh, man, but what is a major breakthrough. It's as if they had received a "divine inspiration" to get something good. The sound of this album is far superior to their flawed EPs. Each song has a different side, something unique to offer. There is a greater range of influences than before, but above all the sound is very unique, different and experimental. Keyboards are clearly present: a lush synthesizers, mellotrons (at least I think it's mellotrons) and bodies that abound on the album. Guitars are another strong point, and there are some instruments such as cello and flute, which are well used.

Unfortunately there are vocals. One thing I hated about "-C-" those were dark and out of tune vocals. Because of them, "The Camel Song" is almost a disaster . Lucky for me, most of the album is instrumental, and there is a beautiful female voice who sings in a song-not to mention the last song, "Anon", which get a great jazz vocals with a decent and advances to more complex passages.

3 stars. Nurkostam my heart is not in yet, but this album is a considerable advance.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#503604)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars The first and so far only full-length album from this Finnish trio. I'm still not sure if this or the EP -C- was released first. The style and production of that EP seems to be different to this album, which has a little bit more in common with the first EP. III Of Dreamers is far more symphonic sounding than either EP. "Overture" is the opener and probably the best song on the album. Nice moody symphonic instrumental featuring some Mellotron near the end.

"The Camel Song" does not sound anything like the band Camel. This is some decent symphonic prog on the more sombre side. "Ocean" is a clean electric guitar and vibraphone based instrumental. Nothing horrible but nothing special either. This is followed by "The Dreamer" which is almost straight classical music, like something from a film score. "Almost Famous" starts out very quite. Only after 2 minutes does it turn into symph rock with harmony singing and great retro synth sounds.

"Dike" is acoustic guitar based and slightly sinister sounding until electric piano, bass drum and vocals come in. Some drum machine and Mellotron in this track. A spoken word part in Finnish in the middle. The more sinister sounding acoustic guitars get reprised with some cool synth sounds. One of the stand out tracks on the album. "Motherside" is the only real rockin' song here. Goog guitar and bass tones along with harmony singing. A long echoed spoken word section in English with an almost ambient backing in the middle before the music gets more dramatic sounding until 5 minutes when we get some tribal percussion and synthetic choirs. Strange song.

"Anon" begins almost sounding like Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles. Then minimal piano and more spoken word in English. Around 2 1/2 minutes it turns into darker symph prog. Nice guitar arpeggios halfway. Later the music builds towards a crescendo then mellows out for a bit and comes back rockin' with symphonic keyboards. Odd start but great ending to a song, and great ending to an album. I actually didn't enjoy this album as much as I did their EPs. A little too inconsistent and these guys may be too diverse for their own good. This is still a well-written and made album, just not my cup of tea generally. I'll give this a 2.5 rounded up to 3 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#506051)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Sweet album!

This is the only full-length album this Finnish outfit has released so far, after two EP's and a recently cooked DVD. Released in 2009, "III of Dreamers" is composed by eight tracks that make a total time of 46 minutes approximately, in which we will find some spacey soundscapes, melancholic tunes and even rockier and crimsonesque ones.

It opens with "Overture (Ulrich)" which has a dreamy mellotron sound accompanied by bass and drums creating a constant and repetitive rhythm, and a nice guitar playing low notes. After a minute it slows down and a delicate piano sounds enters, but lasting only some seconds before the song changes and that mellotron appears once again.

"The Camel Song" is the longest track and probably their most ambitious. It starts slow with vocals and a calm sound, a minute later keyboards appear and create an extraordinary background, changing also the mood of the track. The sound of the bass is sweet, and the addition of acoustic guitar notes puts new colors in the scene. There is a moment of tranquility that suddenly ends when the music volume increases along with emotional vocals. Later there is a beautiful cello that perfectly complements the disarming sound. Very nice track!

"Ocean" is a shorter instrumental composition with a melancholic and even sad sound, not bad, but it can be skipped without remorse. "The Dreamer" is another mellow composition but much more elaborated and comprised of several musical elements and textures. This has some kind of neo-classical style that actually reminds me a little bit of Karda Estra. It could perfectly work as a film soundtrack. While the music continues, you (the listener) will be more interested and captivated.

"Almost Famous" has some kind of emptiness in its music, a lot of pauses and a slow development. After two minutes its wings are spread at last, with symphonic keyboards, acoustic guitars, drums and vocals, reminding me a little bit of Yes. Its delicate sound may be a double-edge weapon, because you may feel charmed, or bored.

"Dike" continues with that mellow and calm sound. The vocals are always charming, even relaxing. And here the guitars are a bit more protagonist with different figures and notes that create wonderful textures. There is a great mellotron apparition that help in all senses, when it sounds you are in a different world. This song is of Nurkostam's finest moments.

"Motherside" is another cool track, with a heavier sound made by strings and drums, however their softness and mellow label is always present. After three minutes there is a part where the music almost stops completely, while a man is speaking. It has also some electronic elements that put a different style in the music, creating diverse atmospheres and chaotic passages. I like that tension and how everything explodes all of a sudden.

"Anon" is the other long track, and also the last of the album. Here you can appreciate a well-structured song with some crimsonian hints, with spoken words once again and with that mixture of melancholy, sadness and hope. The experimental side of the band can also be noticed here, with the addition of some quirky sounds made (I think) by guitars. At half the song the piano plays a wonderful role here, creating a cool background while drums and other elements are accompanying. The last two minutes are the best in the whole album, check that tension created and those spectacular atmospheres. Great!

This is a great album by the Finns, however I don't totally love it, and I believe it has some highs and lows, anyway it is worth listening because it will bring you moments of quality. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#512553)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A Finnish band with their debut album. Well, they have previously released two very long EPs to mixed reviews so this is really not a debut album. But officially, it is.

The first thing that strikes me is the lack of mastering on this album. It seems like the mastering has been done by a computer and not by a mastering engineer. An artist/record label can save hundreds of euros on this. But the result is always bad sound. Which this album has. It feels a bit lifeless. Like lifeless beer.

Getting past the sound, the music here is very varied. From Sigur Ros via King Crimson to prog folk and Renaissance. Most of the music here is pastoral. I have yet to hear any Neo Prog here so a re-labelling is in order, me thinks.

This album most of all reminds me about the English female fronted bands from the 1970s with a lush, symphonic prog sound. There is plenty of orchestral instruments here and a lot of references to classical music. Then again, there is a lot of references to King Crimson and eclectic prog too.

The sound is a problem for me and the reason why this is not the great album it should have been. But the music here is full of intricate details and is very good. I have no favorite songs though. One or two killer tracks would had done wonders for this album and for the band. But they are onto something and I hope they continue their good work.

3.5 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#512600)
Posted Thursday, September 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I have left some time pass before reviewing this first full-length album of the Finnish Nurkostam. I have enjoyed the first two long EPs, even if "long" and "EP" are quite am oxymoron, and I had some expectations over this album that haven't been deluded.

It opens very Floydian, or better, with drums like David Gilmour's "Until We Sleep", but with the guitar playing few high pitched notes reminding a bit to Alan Parsons. It's just a start. soon the things change and the ambient is darker with atmospheres and dissonances close to King Crimson.

"The Camel Song" doesn't have anything to do with Latimer & co, apart the rhythm that has the same lazyness of Rajaz. The slow rhythm of a camel in the desert. Musically is like Roger Waters joining the King Crimson as the bass reminds to the pre-dark side Floyd (Set The Controls or even Careful with that Axe) while the other instruments are playing in a very Crimsonian way, specially the keyboard with sounds similar to Mel Collins. The final is almost symphonic. It's a very good track.

"Ocean" is quiet and relaxing, with just guitar and bells. It makes me think to the dreamy world of Syd Barrett or to the early Floyd of Grantchester Meadows.

"The Dreamer" is a great track. I hear a classic influence and the title is very appropriate. In general I like this kind of ambient music that's capable of let your mind fly away below your level of conscience. The choir in the last two minutes is an enhancement to an already excellent track.

"Almost Famous" opens with a very bass keyboard note and acoustic 12 strings guitar between Gilmour and Anthony Phillips, probably closer to the second. This song is probably one of the reasons why Nurkostam are (incorrectly IMO) included in the neo-prog subgenre. It's melodic and the usual dissonances are missing.

"Dike" is totally different, instead. Dissonant guitar opens the most Crimsonian track of the album. The dissonances are soon absorbed by a more melodic ambient with only the bass continuing on the guitar notes. The vocals are in the background. They unexpectedly sound in the same way as vocals sound on the Dan Britton's project "All Over Anywhere".

"Motherside" is more rocking but still in the vein of KC with a bit of experimentalism, not so accentuated to be suitable for avant, but surely far from the symphonic and the neo-prog. The speech in the middle accompanied by guitar only, first, then by electronic noises reminds me the post-rock band "From Monument To Masses", probably just for the speech. Then the voice leaves and we have the most experimental moment of the album. If I had listened to this track only I would have thought to avant.

The last track, "Anon" has a symphonic and melodic start but the sounds are again very "early Crimson". Then it calms down then the voice and the subtle atmosphere give me the idea of a smoky jazz-pub. The final is a dramatic crescendo. Out of the pub waiting for something to happen...a pause and a new crescendo that grows symphonic. An excellent closer that suddenly stops.

The Crimson influence is very strong but the band has an own sound. I don't have doubts in giving this (underrated IMO) album 4 stars.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#541129)
Posted Tuesday, October 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Nurkostam is a young band from Finland totaly unknown to me until few month ago. This is their first full length album from 2009 after 2 EP released.. Hmm, at first spin I was not impressed at all, realy , another one of those bands that embrace a moder prog sound, not far from Porcupine Tree fame, but aswell melted with passages that remind me of King Crimson, folk parts, some more symphonic ones, a soup that turned to be ok in the end after more listnings, but for sure nothing groundbreaking. Definetly I don't find the neo prog elements here, and why is puted under neo prog flag, is kinda missleading for listners. The album sounds pretty sterile and in places lifeless, specialy the drums sounds to cold for my taste. The arrangements overall are not entirely bad, there are some good moments that worth purchase this release like on Until We Sleep, The Dreamer or The Camel Song, the rest are quite ok but nothing realy to talk about. So, in the end , hardly 3 stars, maybe in the future they will come with more solid parts, because this album, even is not totaly forgettable is very dull and with monotonous parts.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#569195)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The lone full album from Nurkostam (at the time of reviewing) might be a preface to this band unlocking their full musical potential. It just doesn't come fully.

Unlike the two EPs the band has distributed, III OF DREAMERS feels more confident of a work of art. The actual preluding ''Overture'' really does function like a good overture and helps solidify the sound at least for the first few tracks. Maybe not the most dynamic of sorts, but the symphonically jazzy atmospheres the band produce are mesmerizing. The one problem is that during ''The Camel Song'', there are some awful off-key vocals that ruin the mood.

Nurkostam can be a pleasant instrumental neo-prog soundscape type of artist because they can make a good niche for themselves there. The tracks ''Dike'' through ''Anon'' sputter the continuous motion of the mood set earlier by wringing out the concept (or so I interpret), but lacking the confidence in the vocals to do so. It's frustrating to sit through a song only to endure weak padding to underline a philosophical speech that I simply have not the bother to hear. At least on ''Anon'', the group can crescendo well enough to the point where sitting through the whole thing was worth the trouble.

It is without a doubt in my mind the best of the Nurkostam works so far. If the group can make an instrumental album in the future, then I would be very intrigued. Sadly, the back half of III OF DREAMERS doesn't quite cut the mustard, and the artsy guitar feedback on ''Motherside'' sounds like it came directly from a Sonic Youth album.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#785040)
Posted Monday, July 09, 2012 | Review Permalink

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