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Esa Kotilainen - Turquoise Planet CD (album) cover


Esa Kotilainen

Progressive Electronic

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4 stars Kotilainen is a veteran of the Finnish Prog music scene, whose contribution to many of credible artist's works span about four decades. A solo artist, he is much less adored and perhaps there is a reason for that.

Embracing rather minimalist approaches as a one-man band, he is prone to be held hostage to rather mid-Winter Arctic images, "The Big Sleep" I was fortunate to experience a number of times visiting friends living beyond the Arctic Circle. At =40C when the snow appears pink - for lack of Sun and your nose is on the verge of breaking off, observing the scene from a relative comfort of a "shelter" is an experience to remember. The stillness of that "Big Sleep".

It seems that Kotilainen had become captive of that scenery expressed in musical terms where one album would have been sufficient before boredom would set in.

This album is a pleasant relief, invoking early Tangerine Dream approaches of "cosmic" nature and fans of that period may find it interesting - albeit delivered by a single artist, lacking team effort. 3.5 rounded up.

Report this review (#1206450)
Posted Monday, July 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have found it quite hard to enjoy some of ESA KOTILAINEN's recent albums, but this is a happy exception. By the way, this Finnish keyboardist legend - who has played in Wigwam since Nuclear Nightclub (1975) and on the albums and gigs of dozens of other artists, in addition to his own distinctive one-man band discography starting from the seminal Ajatuslapsi (1977) - is again actual as his new album is arriving to shops. Turquoise Planet is the most enjoyable Progressive Electronic album I've heard for a long time. Inspired by the untouched nature of our blue-green planet, or more precisely, the arctic nature, it contains plenty of melodicism and - what's the most important - emotion to keep the listener charmed, and the multilayered sounds from his massive keyboard arsenal are pure joy to friends of VANGELIS, TANGERINE DREAM, J-M. JARRE, STEVE ROACH etc. In the liner notes Mr. Robert Moog is given special thanks "for inventing such a fabulous instrument".

The album includes seven tracks between 3½ and 11 minutes in length, all of them interesting. 'Jääpuikko' (= Icicle) is majestically slow, and in its brightness it paints icy images. Slightly reminiscent of "Antarctica" soundtrack by Vangelis. The 8½-minute title track sounds pretty orchestral. 'Sumuinen uni' (= Foggy dream) is also a slowish track. The melancholic accordeon sound arriving in the halfway is a nice addition into the otherwise quite Berlin school oriented sound. 'Korpi' (= Backwoods) begins with dryly experimental screechy sounds but for the latter half it returns to the more normal synth music expression.

To summarize, there's usually the steady, pulsative low level and the upper level with wailing notes and ghostly Moog decorations. This album is less pop-flavoured - and averagely notably slower - than the usual JARRE stuff but much more compact than the likes of KLAUS SCHULZE. He's not as romantic and soft as the latter-day VANGELIS, which may be a good thing to many listeners. He doesn't actually sound like any particular artist, but on the other hand this music wouldn't strike you as something very unexpected in the high quality nature documents on TV. I noticed that it makes a greater impression when listened with headphones after you've put yourself into bed for night-sleep, than with less concentrated listening in daytime. If you give it your full attention, it may lead you to fascinating inner movies.

Report this review (#1427846)
Posted Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Review Permalink

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