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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars A long-standing Finnish band (still playing nowadays) that explores the frontiers of folk and jazz, Piirpauke's first few albums of mega-interest to most progheads, because of their enchanting musical realm, that allows some worldwide ethnic escapes. Basically a multi- instrumentalist quartet (a lot of exotic instruments are used), led by kb and winds man Kukko, Piirpauke can be sometimes likened to their Swede equivalent of Archimedes Badkar, but the Finns are more focused and tighter. Graced with a superb folk artwork, the album was released by the inevitable Finn label Love Records in folk-rock landmark year of 75. Almost all of the tracks re traditional folk/ethnic pieces that received plenty of rearrangements and were adapted to fit the group's quartet format, which is one of the prime interest of the album.

Opening on the absolutely spellbinding Kuunnousou, the mood is a melancholic mix of folk adventure with a sprinkle of jazz arrangements that announces the color of the album, reminiscent somewhat of Pentangle. The more ethnic folk (let's say more Celtic) mood of the lengthy Legong allows plenty of semi-psychedelic soloing, but halfway through it breaks into non-raga Indian-music and follows in a percussion solo, before returning to its former mood. The Paimenille track is a fast Andean-folk piece that could've been written and played by Los Jaivas. Over the flipside, Cybele is a slowly evolving dronal piece that will crescendo for its almost 11-mins duration. The melancholic alto sax and slow drones will slowly lead into a raga-rhythm, where Walli's guitar plays a fantastically serene solo. Much more hypnotic, the album-closing Kirkonkellot is again featuring some superb guitar (multi-tracked, this time) to slowly die down in icy northern winds.

A rather short debut album (around 35 mins) that is rather enchanting that could be likened to Embryo, early Agitation Free, Archimedes Badkar and a few more, Piirpauke gives another facet of what fusion music was like before the "world music" name would become a household name on the planet. Recommended for adventurous world proggers.

Report this review (#643422)
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This Finnish band has released over 20 studio albums and counting and this is their debut from 1975. Quite an impressive run I must say. This record is more Folk than anything but there is a Jazz flavour for sure. We get sax on a couple of tracks and some guest french horn on the closer. Flute on the three middle tracks which is the bulk of the album. Flute is one of the more prominent instruments on here. A four piece band of bass, drums and guitar with the bass player adding harmonum. The fourth member adds the horns, flute, piano and some steel drums on one track. Two guests adding that french horn on one track I mentioned earlier and synths on three tunes.

The opener is pretty much piano and soprano sax throughout. It's okay. "Lelong" is very much flute led and the flute gets a little crazy around 2 1/2 minutes. Bass only comes out of a calm then some distant spoken words can be heard. Percussion only 5 minutes in and it goes on for far too long ending well after 8 minutes. It comes alive again late with flute and more. "Cybele" opens with harmonium and sax and eventually the soprano sax starts to solo over the harmonium. A change 4 1/2 minutes in as piano, synths and percussion take over. Guitar around 6 minutes. The closer is my favourite. It opens with the wind blowing as piano joins in. The wind dies down and guitar arrives around 1 1/2 minutes in. Guitar will lead as other sounds join in. French horn around 3 1/2 minutes and it leaves after 4 minutes as the piano leads again late.

Folk music is one of my least favourite sub genres and even though this is well done and also quite different at times in a good way, in my musical world I just can't go higher than 3 stars.

Report this review (#2508950)
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2021 | Review Permalink

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