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4 stars Early Wigwam´s masterpiece. The music is dominated by organ mainly because keyboardist/vocalist Jukka Gustavson wrote most of the music here. Some horns can be heard too. The music is jazzy strange prog with Stevie Wonder-like vocals. The lyrics are strange and somewhat political too. This is essential Finnish prog. Very good and worth getting.
Report this review (#22792)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Being" was WIGWAM's 5th album and represents one of the most profound and highly dramatized concept albums mixing religious and political themes in a very strange little album. The trademark of WIGWAM's music was their unique ability to compose music of high progressive quality and complexity while still incorporating strong "pop-rock" aspects. The end result is a wild mix of Steve HACKETT with the complex chording and musical themes not unlike GENTLE GIANT achieved (some pretty musically twisted parts). This album features great and varied instrumentation with great emphasis on keyboards (piano, organ, synths). Essentially"'Being" picks right off where "Fairyport" left off but does deliver a more aggressive and complex album. The Love Records Re-mastered version is quite excellent sounding really and brings this masterpiece album to life with awesome speaker separation and crisp sounds. A magical album that I recognize may take others a few listens to get into but once you have the taste watch out kids !.
Report this review (#22793)
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars (fourth of a series of seven)

After a much hailed and fairly successful thematic (not conceptual) Fairyport, Wigwam repeats the formula but also the slight flaws I explained in thr previous album's review. In this album, the alliance of Gustavson and Pohjola is even cleare than on the double Lp before. Why they both left the band at the same time is a mystery to me but their departure will dramatically affect the band's sound.

If you can imagine a full-blown concept album (this one is) made mostly out of jazz-rock , you might have a good idea of what this sounds like but it is only partially convincing but still quite enjoyable. One of the things that hurts this album is probably too much KB (Pembroke even plays somein his tracks), but compensated by a loadful of brass instrument but a good electrical guitar is missing (T P 's Tolonen who had given guitars parts on the previous albums is absent here). Future collaborators are in the background as Pembroke friends Groundstroem (production) and Hulsden (traductions) lurk around. Poyry (of T P ) also lends a hand.

Being is a fine album but slightly over-rated because of the light flaws mentioned above but much recommended anyway.

Report this review (#22796)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Oh dear, I must admit that I see this as a bit overrated album, though it has some good moments in it. The album is technically well done, and it was also following the trends of progressive music of that time quite well. The lyrical idea of political criticisms is good, and the gatefold covers with a big booklet is cool. I guess the fans of early 70's VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR could like this album, as this also has lots of keyboards and brass horns in it's sound, and the musical themes change in rapid tempo.
Report this review (#22799)
Posted Saturday, April 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Vocalist-keyboardist Jukka Gustavsson is probably the main man behind this Finnish prog classic - sadly he left WIGWAM after this one, as did bassist Pekka Pohjola too, but here we have the best moment of the original line-up. One of the most recommendable Finnish albums, no language barricades in it either.

As Jimbo said, Jukka's voice reminds of Steve Winwood's, but the fact is that he was strongly influenced by TRAFFIC/Winwood also musically. This music is more complex than Traffic but there is a hint of similarity. There are Jim Pembroke songs too, though his singing and composing style is at this point closer to Gustavsson's (only simpler) than it was later to be, from the more commercial and poppy Nuclear Nightclub onwards.

Being is also a perfect example of the very fertile music scene of the early 70's in Finland (which pretty much can be summarized as Love Records led by jazz composer Henrik Otto Donner), where the top class jazz musicians played in rock and pop albums and where therefor different genres were in close symbiosis. Not that Wigwam couldn't be classified as jazz-prog anyway, but have a look at the long list of guest players!

Why only 4 stars then? Well, I confess that a little more sharpness instead of word- stretching flowing would improve it. For example 9-minute 'Pedagogue' has somewhere else a short Finnish-language version which is more effective. Also I find most Gustavsson's tracks quite similar in a way that without close concentration it all becomes one 'porridge' and the listener gets easily bored. The most recognizable tracks - not necessarily the best ones - are 'Pride of the Biosphere' (organ and an "old man" telling of a strange event) and 'Maestro Mercy', a simple melacholy ballad. The final track 'Marverly Skimmer' is also one of the most charming Pembroke songs.

Report this review (#56824)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes this is along with Fairyport, Wigwam's best album. Their heads, especially Jukka Gustavson's, seemed to be smockfull of ideas at the time and the result was this masterpiece. One word about the whimsy political lyrics, it was close that the mainly left-winged bosses at Love Records in the 70's would not have accepted them, because these are, listen close, satirical aspects on the subject...... Anyway, the music is excellent, and the band as whole, works best with Jukka Gustavson/Pekka Pohjola related compositions.Not exactly a uniform album, but as it's best SUPERB! Jim Pembroke is an excellent songwriter, more balllad oriented, very good lyrics.....but his influence grew stronger, and at the time of Nuclear Nightclub, THE classic Wigwam was only a memory..........thats' another story, a completely different band.
Report this review (#62777)
Posted Monday, January 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Being" was in many ways a step-up from its predecessor "Fairyport". For one Pembroke's contributions work well with the whole concept, unlike on the previous album where he basically had 4 straightforward songs going completely against the stylistic grain. The first three tracks represent the best of Gustavson, Pembroke and Pohjola, respectively. Fourth track "Pedagogue" is the longest track and there is a distinct Zappa influence on the woodwind arrangement. Gustavson's virtuostic keyboard playing and original singing carries this song as well. Side 2 is slightly weaker but it still features the excellent string-heavy instrumental "Planetist". This is my favorite from Wigwam and highly recommended.
Report this review (#132599)
Posted Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Something about this album sounds more like 1860s barefoot hippy psych than anything approaching progressive rock from the time period in which it was released. Yet if asked to identify exactly that feature, I am hard pressed for a reasonable answer. It just sounds so....naiive. This is in spite of some wonderful keyboard work by Jukka Gustavson, and an overall jazzy vibe that should make the music more rather than less relevant today. It might be the vocal styles and the manner in which social commentary is made, obtusely yet too directly at the same time. As a concept album or unified work it really doesn't pass muster anymore, but the clean playing of Gustavson, some lively brass, especially on "Planetist", and the fun loving rhythms make this a worthwhile listen on their own merits, which is pretty commendable. 2.5 stars rounded up.
Report this review (#161513)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I can't help but think that BEARDFISH were influenced by this great Finnish band. The intelligent lyrics and humour really stand out, as do the absolute complex melodies. This is the same lineup that was on the "Fairyport" album, although it would be bassist Pekka's last one with the band. Incredible to think that Pekka Pohjola was involved in this outstanding album as well as his sophomore release both of which came out the same year (1974). For me this WIGWAM's greatest triumph.Tommy from the "Vintageprog" site says ""Being" is usually considered to be a classic of Finnish progressive rock, and i'll agree on that". This is a concept album that really speaks about life (Being) and how politics and religion become such a huge part of how we live and act.

"Proletarian" opens with organ and piano as vocals come in.This songs sounds so good. It blends into "Inspired Machine" both of which were composed by Gustavson.This one has a similar sound but with a pulsating rhythm. "Petty-Bourgeois" is a Pembroke song that is uptempo with almost whispered but urgent vocals.This is jazzy. The vocals become theatrical at times and I like the vocal arrangements here. The vocals are also quite humerous at times as well recalling Zappa. Great track. "Pride Of The Biosphere" has to be heard to be believed. Again this is a page out of Zappa's book. As organ plays throughout we are told this hilarious and outrageous story. This is so funny ! "Pedagogue" is the longest song at over 9 minutes. Woodwinds and piano lead the way early as bass and drums join in. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound ! Electric piano after 4 minutes is a pleasure. Clarinet 7 minutes in.

"Crisader" is uptempo and piano led. Organ comes in as drums pound away. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. "Planetist" is Pohjola's sole composition although he shared with Gustavson on that very funny track. This is symphonic with a classical flavour (strings). Piano and organ help out as drums and bass support. Aboe before 1 1/2 minutes.This song is quite uplifting, a joy really. "Maestro Mercy" is Pembroke's tune. Soft vocals and mid paced. This is beautiful and emotional. "Prophet" is darker with vocals and organ standing out early. Bass and light drums follow. A very impressive track. "Marvelry Skimmer" is led by vocals and organ.

It's incredible how much talent was in this band, I guess that's why this lineup didn't stay together for too long. Pembroke, Gustavson or Pohjola could have led this band by themselves and wrote all the songs. Too many leaders, but at least they gave us two amazing albums.

Report this review (#200989)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Being is the Wigwam album which took the most time to sink in. Now that if finally has, I regard it as being one of their finest albums, if not the finest. It is certainly their non-accessible album in my opinion.

Being was to be the last studio album of the classic line up of Gustavson, Pembroke, Pohjola and Österberg. It is also the only album of that line up which flows almost perfectly, especially considering the very different composing styles of the main songwriters (Gustavson, Pembroke and Pohjola). The reason for that might be because most of the album is Gustavson's brainchild, especially the overall theme and atmosphere. Still, it's remarkable how the Pembroke songs and the lone Pohjola composition fit so perfectly in. On previous albums the songs were fantastic but the overall mood was a bit disjointed. Now the songs complement each other nicely and the Pembroke songs even bring some needed pause to catch your breath.

The music could be classified as progressive jazz rock, and that's not even coming close. The mood is very dark and gloomy, and the album is filled with hammond organ, electric piano and various woodwind instruments. The songs (especially the Gustavson penned) are full of tempo changes, keyboard solos and snaking vocal melodies. The lyrics are somewhat undecipherable, but they seem to about humanity, religion and politics. The artwork is stunning in my opinion, definitely fitting to the music inside.

A masterpiece of progressive rock, and one of the crowning moments of the finest prog rock band ever to come from Finland. 5 stars.

Report this review (#230039)
Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars From the land of Sibelius comes a wondrous work of progressive rock. This is a strange beast, ostensibly a concept album by a band that was obviously in the process of fragmenting. There's no collaborative songwriting - the music for each individual track is decisively written by a single member. However, the album is divided into 5 sets of coupled songs, using the differing writing styles to set up strange but emotionally affecting juxtapositions. Keyboardist (and nimble, soulful co-lead vocalist) Jukka Gustavson took the reins for this album and we should be thankful he was given such complete control over his material. He wrote the largest number of tracks - five, including the two longest pieces, "Pedagogue" and "Prophet." His keyboard arrangements are kaleidoscopic cocktails of Hammond organ, VCS3 synthesizer, and Fender Rhodes. Three songs are by Dylan-informed singer Jim Pembroke. Two are by bassist Pekka Pohjola, who shows a knack for inventive horn arranging in "Planetist." Pembroke is noticably absent from the Gustavson-penned material and is restricted to a spoken voice-over with one of Pohjola's pieces. This calls into question his ability to execute the complex music written by these other members. His tune "Marvelry Skimmer" brings the album to an affecting, autumnal close.

The album seems to make a blanket statement condemning politics and advocating the pursuit of inner peace and spiritual fulfillment. This outlook was to culminate in Jukka Gustavson's becoming an ardent Jehovah's Witness in the ensuing years. There are fairly clear stabs at communism and capitalism, but capitalism gets the worst rap.

Although a lot of musical territory is covered, the band's ability to mix and swap between blues-rock, jazz and cerebral classical constructions makes it a confident recommendation for lovers of Dave Stewart Canterbury bands (Egg, Hatfield & the North) and Steely Dan's most progressive moments, such as the title tracks of _Aja_ and _Gaucho_.

Report this review (#240787)
Posted Monday, September 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars A bit of a goofy album. Well played, but very much of its time - particularly the vocals by Jukka Gustavson. 'Being' leaves me cold due to the unemotional content.

'Pride Of The Biosphere' is the one stand out track due to its shocking lyrics sung by a guy pretending to be upper class English singing about Communism, rape and Nazi's. It's truly stupid. In fact, it really makes me mad hearing rubbish like this, passed off as comedy. Sack the political stuff eh? It just sounds ridiculous.

Thankfully there's a lot going on which takes my mind off such childish wordplay from this band from Finland. For one - there's the redoubtable Pekka Pohjola - bass player extraordinaire who is right at the front of proceedings. If truth be told, he's the only reason I bought this album in the first place. His solo recordings are much better and mature than this nonsense.

Damn those English lyrics though. They really detract. The vocalist is good but I wish he didn't have that horrendous cod American accent. Other than that, it's a well recorded, multi layered Prog album from the mid seventies. Alas, not for me. Pants.

Report this review (#418023)
Posted Friday, March 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Wigwam's being feels like a bit of a step down from Fairyport, their masterpiece. It's my understanding that the album caused a bit of tension in the band, with some members having a problem with the extremely politicised lyrics. It's not the words that irritate me, though, than the delivery. In particular, the album's momentum is wrecked by Pride of the Biosphere, which consists of a long monologue about horrible crimes delivered in a comedy "old man" voice that rapidly gets on my nerves, with an absolutely tepid musical backing of aimless noodling. When Wigwam get their minds back on the music the album is still a decent piece of eccentric Finnish fusion, but the tension in the band tells here. Disappointing.
Report this review (#511328)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Being is a near masterwork from a band truly working at their peak. Wigwam is not a prog group per se--in their infancy they fused jazz and rock and jammed heavily and flipped out. But then they pulled in the reins and made Being--Stevie Wonder meets Robbie Robertson.

Heavy and brooding with lighter undertones sprinkled here and there, the album takes shape quickly and the flow is nice. "Pedagogue" and Prophet" are true highlights, with the latter highlighting vocals you'd swear were Stevie Wonder.

Not a true representation of the bands aspirations, but a great album nonetheless. This record is 39 minutes well spent from a band that has soul.

Report this review (#753027)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Wigwam - Being

Being is a very strange little album. After many listens I no longer agree that this is jazz fusion, rather an eclectic blend of genres that has a dark musical effect somewhat similar to that of Van Der Graaf Generator. I have listened to this album on and off for a while now, and I am not as excited about it as I was at the time I discovered it. The music is dark and matches the cynicism of the lyrics, but it is rather bland in some parts. The musicianship is obviously and undeniably excellent, particularly Pekka Pohjola's bass playing, which is superb. Jukka Gustavson has a great voice, and I can't help but think that it is somewhat similar to Stevie Wonder at times throughout the album. He has a very amusing range of voices that make me laugh out loud.

The songwriting is rather a mixed bunch of similar sounding songs. Some points of the album are rather weak, such as Pride Of The Biosphere, but there are some really great tracks as well. The stand out on the album is Pedagogue, a 9 minute song that is driven by woodwinds and a great electric piano solo. Ooooh...that chord progression. From what I gather this is a song about a lessons in politics and similar such things. This track is probably one of the more memorable tracks in my music collection. Petty-Bourgeois is another great moment, which has some great instrumental work and some very funny voices. Pride Of The Biosphere is one of the more memorable moments of the album, more out of shock than out of wonder. Here we hear an old man reminiscing about the "glory" of the war, which is a rather tasteless account of rape and racism. While the lyrics are biting and cynical and capture one's attention, I can't help but dislike the track's blatant lyrics.

Highly political lyrics do not really interest me, and so I think I am a little biased. The lyrics are well written however, and there are some very genuinely amusing moments. Musically the songwriting is good, though it does lack substance in some places. Musicianship is this albums greatest merit, particularly the bass playing, which is a credit to bass playing in any genre.

A good addition to your prog collection.

Report this review (#943479)
Posted Sunday, April 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars absolutely essential prog masterpiece !!! jim pembroke- pop/prog songwriting genius. jukka gustavson-superb keyboard player and vocalist. pekka pohjola-bass maestro ronnie osterberg-drummer extraodinaire.

how could this album possibly be anything less than brilliant with this line-up? i'm not going to give a track by track review of this album as many people have already done a much better job than i could possibly do, the only fault i could find with this album is that i would have liked it to be 20 minutes longer (pure prog heaven ). here's something interesting to ponder if jim pembroke had not gone to finland and stayed in london, would he have disappeared ( lost without a trace ) like so many others or would we be now mentioning him in the same breath as other great london songwriters of that era i.e. ray davies and pete townshend ? think about it !

Report this review (#1019826)
Posted Saturday, August 17, 2013 | Review Permalink

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