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Paidarion - Behind the Curtains CD (album) cover



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3 stars Hailing from Finland is Paidarion, one of the more unique acts on the modern progressive rock scene. Their sound consists of various styles of prog rock, as well as a liberal dosing of jazz, funk, pop, and a host of other genres. Behind the Curtains is their second full-length album, and in spite of its diversity and complex nature, it manages to remain surprisingly accessible and user-friendly. Paidarion have crafted a pretty enjoyable record this time around, and anyone who enjoys the more eclectic side of modern art rock should be sure to give this a listen. Though not essential, Behind the Curtains is an interesting effort that has ultimately left a positive impression on this reviewer.

Paidarion's sound doesn't strike me as revolutionary, but there's no denying that they deliver some pretty original prog rock on Behind the Curtains. I have a tough time finding any other band that serves as a valid comparison to the blend of neo-prog, art rock, fusion, funk, vocal jazz, and retro symphonic prog found on this record. The gentle vocal jazz in "A Springtime Meadow" (complete with female vocals, a soprano saxophone solo, and the whole ordeal) offers a stark contrast to the complex progressive rock you'll find in "A Leap Into the Unknown", which also varies significantly from the atmospheric nature of "Behind the Curtain (A Song For Michael)". Behind the Curtains has something for just about anybody, and I find myself entertained throughout most of the album's one-hour duration.

At the expense of the diverse nature of the music, the album tends to feel a bit incoherent at time. The compositions are somewhat hit-and-miss, and not all of the tracks are up to par with the best that Paidarion has to offer. Maybe a slightly shorter running length would've helped this issue, but it's not a major problem since all of Behind the Curtains is still pretty enjoyable. The musicianship and production are also both astounding, and I especially have to give a nod to keyboard player Kimmo Tapananinen who delivers plenty of impressive parts throughout the album. Jan-Olof Strandberg is also one of the more talented bass players out there, with his prominent playing style and occasional solos really grabbing my attention.

Behind the Curtains is a pretty interesting effort from Paidarion, and I challenge every fan of adventurous art rock to give this album a spin. While not flawless, it suggests a bright future for this promising Finnish act. I'll be keeping an eye on these guys, and rate this pleasant album with 3.5 stars. Behind the Curtains is recommended to fans of progressive rock that is distinctly modern and unique.

Report this review (#570251)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here we have the second album of this very talented band from the cold Finland-the land of the 1000 lakes!BEHIND THE CURTAINS is the proud successor of the first album of PAIDARION ,HAURAS SILTA!Definitelly,this second musical effort marks a logical progression compared with the musical message of the first opus!It's also slightly different-less traditional than the first one and definitelly more jazz fusion and prog orientated!The production is excellent-as usual-and the compositions are well structured and inspired too!BEHIND THE CURTAINS is a diverse album,made by real pros,and the atmosphere of the album is one of passion and pure delightment to play high quality music-timeless and out of trends and tendences!It's real good music,with strong influences from the bands of the 70's and some classical fusion and prog rock ingredients too!As I've mentioned above,the musicianship is at the highest level,all the great musicians from this album are doing an excellent job!Great interventions of each instrumentist-but,definitelly,a strong colective effort!We must mention the presence on one track of the bassist extraordinaire MICHAEL MANRING-a great name in music-the certificate of quality and musical excellence of this album .The vocal tracks are provided by a excellent lady singer-ELINA HAUTAKOSKY-very enjoyable and pleasant to any ears-BOB PRICE is the male voice-he delivers also some excellent interventions on the vocal tracks too!!Overall,an excellent album,loaded with strong compositions-an album that needs more auditions to be fully understood and musically appreciated.It's not a difficult audition,no way about it,but the album has many fine complex passages and moments of real musical delightment and enchantment!4 strong stars without any hesitation and the conviction that PAIDARION has a huge musical potential!
Report this review (#581366)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nice to see this Finnish band is here already, and even with some reviews. Their first album from 2009 is for some reason classified under Gospel Rock in Tampere Library. Naturally I'm going to borrow it as soon as possible. However this second one is a plain prog album - you can see it right from the Neo-Proggish cover. Some of the musicians (e.g. Risto Salmi, saxophones) are from MIST SEASON, which is a Jazz/Fusion group. The line-up has changed since the debut, and the introductory text - featuring praising words about the new members - gives an idea that now they are much more seriously in the Finnish Prog scene. They have even invited some foreign prog musicians such as Michael Manring (bass) and Steve Unruh (violin). The new vocalist is Elina Hautakoski, a young lady with a beautiful voice.

For a prog connoisseur their sound is not very unique with its clean, nearly sterile production, but they blend various music genres into a logical artistic whole without ever sounding pretentious. Neo-Prog, pop and jazz flavours are obvious, and I'd like to add Entertainment Vocal Music (Elaine Paige, Katherine Jenkins and such). One song started pretty much in that style but evolved into proggier direction. Instrumentals (were there two or three of them) are something you might hear on older ARENA or IQ albums too; the jazz side actually could come out more strongly. Also I believe that Elina could manage to handle some more ambitious vocal parts too. All in all this is very fine work, enjoyable from start to finish. Perhaps I miss some more depth or rougher edges in this polished album. Maybe they are still on their way to really find their uniqueness.

I wish this band a good future!

Report this review (#612353)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Behind The Curtain is the second album from Finland's Paidarion. Whilst it won't set the world on fire it's nevertheless a highly competent and enjoyable collection drawing on various styles. Light jazz is fairly prominent; the kind of stuff David Sanborn did (probably still does) mixed with prog - mainly symphonic and all done with a commercial touch. If there's a problem it's that it's all just a little too polite and smooth, mainly on the mellow side. Occasionally Jaan Jaanson's guitar takes things up a notch and he puts in a few fiery solo's, a few more of which would have been very welcome.

The band are all good players and Elina Hautakoski is an excellent singer with a jazz inflected style. Making the band stand out from the usual prog fare is the heavy use of sax but don't expect any wilder David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator) style moments, the afore mentioned David Sanborn coming more to mind.

Those enjoying the wilder excesses of prog may find Paidarion a bit on the dull side but despite this there's no denying their ability as players and composers of light and easily accessible prog. Perhaps a new sub-genre is in order - easy listening prog.

Report this review (#772299)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Second album of this finish band named Paidarion is an excellent one in every way. Behind the curtains is the name of the album released in november 2011. I was quite pleasent surprised of the first album and I decided to check the second one aswell. With this album Paidarion change little the musical direstion and the result is more then ok, even great. Optaing for a more jazz fusion lanscapes here but aswell combining with folkish atmosphere of their previous one Behind the curtains is a winner for sure. Pieces like instrumentals Trapeze or A leap into unknown or with vocals A vertical rope and A small wish are simply excellent pieces that shows Paidarion in good form with great inventive passages, tight musicianship. Alternating up tempo fusion parts with more mellow ones, Paidarion succeded to overcome their first album from two years prior and offering an album that for sure will please fans of progressive rock. Having some guest here like Michael Manring on bass, Stebe Unruh on violin they integrated very well in the album atmosphere. Some impressive bass lines and keyboards on all pieces, complex and very well played, sax aswell did a good job here - Risto Salmi is the sax player of jazz fusion band Mist Season, the influences might apper on this release . All in all a very promising band that needs recognition, if first album was good this one tops it easely, more mature more intresting. Great , 4 stars easy, excellent booklet and art work. A band that I will keep an eye on in the future.
Report this review (#776732)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2012 | Review Permalink

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