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Höyry-Kone - Hyönteisiä voi Rakastaa CD (album) cover

HYÖNTEISIÄ VOI RAKASTAA

Höyry-Kone

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
5 stars Well this album seemed to be coming out of nowhere back in 95. The Scandinavian prog resurgence had only touched Sweden until now, but this octet will break all the rules and make a completely different music, even if they held some friendly ties with Anekdoten and especially their drummer Nordins. But as far as early Scandinavian groups are concerned, HK seems to be taking only after the superb Haikara which recorded three albums in the 70's and were seeing a bit of a return in the mid-90's with another two albums, even if those two are unrelated soundwise to this group.

Right from the first notes of the opening tracks, you wonder whether these guys are really serious in their music, for those "sick operatic" voices and the Zeuhl-ish jumpy bass has you wonder if they are not spoofing Magma (I'm not saying that Kobaian sounds like Finnish though) or just having a ball smoking one joint too many. Certainly throughout their short recording career (two albums), Kone will often have zany Zappa-esque moments combined with the Finnish propensity at being a little oblique to the good old Anglo-Saxon world. Even if their second track is calmer, HK will remain rather hard to grasp, even if their influences are clearly heard, they manage to remain completely original and even a tad innovative (love that cello), thus avoiding the trap that most of their Skaldic fellows fell into.

The album really starts with the lengthier third track (the Barren Dull) where that so-typical melancholy of the Far North and the Frippian guitars (League Of Crafty Guitarist) rule, providing some calm before the short stormy Pannuhuoneesta (well don't trust me, check up the page ;-) that breaks loose with an untameable RIO ala Miriodor criss-crossing with X-Legged Sally. In many ways, this last group might just be one of the closer resemblances (but this is still far from close) to Kone's musical realm.

The marvellous Luottamus track, IMHO, is one of the album's highlights because of its delicate soft jazz and its delicious final section where you'd swear you heard Baltic choirs calling you to paradise. Directly dominated by a wild instrumental Kaivoonkatsoje (yes, I swear I'm not making this up ;-) with Crimsonian guitars and a certain ambiance sometimes resembling Harmonium's twiddling with the Martenot Waves on L'Heptade. The lengthier Kosto (Revenge) is again another tour de force with an excellent booming bass, weird and wondersome vocals and a wild violin, reminiscent of David Cross. With each new track, the album is getting stranger and strangest and the instrumental Hätä takes us out of this galaxy for the second highlight of the album. While the group never gets as violent as X-L S (this might be due to the weaker production job), they do strike our imagination as hardcore by certain aspects of their music. The last two tracks are more of the "same" (as if these guys managed to make the same) and ending on the title track (Insects) and how to accommodate them to your liking. Oh yes, there was a time where hidden tracks were in and we get woken up after a minute of silence by a mad chaos lasting some 30 seconds.

The sad thing about the group is that they had signed for a small Swedish label Ad Perpetuam Memoriam, which unfortunately will not remain for posterity and HK albums are now hard to come by, with few chances of a re-pressing. Sadly so, because Kone's music is probably one of the most original since the closing of the 70's. In any case, should you one-day find one of their albums, jump on it, and discover one of prog's best kept secret. But be forewarned that your brains and ears will suffer an irreversible alienation that will transform you further into a sorcerer of sounds emanating from your speakers

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#3519)
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Höyry-Kone was one of the most astounding experimental rock bands to come out from the periphery of the Anglo-Saxon and Center European scene during the 90s: what this Finnish act offered to the public ears was an unearthly mixture of 80s King Crimson, Samla Mammas Manna, the most aggressive facet of RIO, Zappa-esque vocal arrangements, gypsy folk and trash metal in a fluid sonic continuum that portrayed the band's own signature. The penchant for surprise is the most recurrent factor in the album; in fact, no matter how many you have already listened to "Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa", its sundry adornments and unexpected shifts will shock you over and over again as if it were the first listen. This album has the strange virtue of keeping itself fresh through repeated listenings. Of course, if you are already a fan of KC's radical storms of sound and are very keen of the sense of absurdity proclaimed and practiced by the traditional RIO-and-alike bands, this album shouldn't take too long to grow on you. But if you're not, you might as well prefer to keep yourself apart from it unless you feel ready to be challenged in a brutal way - this album has been clearly designed to choose its own audience. The ensemble's instrumentation is solidly built around the 2 guitars, drum kit and bass - the violin, cello, occasional keyboards and oboe come around as musical colours that either light up or draw obscurity to the main landscape. Tracks 1, 6 & 10 are perhaps the most accurate showcases for the band's rockier side, while 'Hämärän Joutomaa' and 'Myrskynmusiikkia' turn out to be the most complex numbers. 'Kosto' finds the band leaning closer to early 80s-Univers Zero. 'Raskaana' and 'Luottamus' go to quieter places: the former is an old-fashioned melancholic blues, the latter, a delicate bossanova, but again, both include some deconstructive interludes that give them a weird twist in an artsy way. The brief uncredited 11th track is a demented exercise on musical tsunami - this ravaging storm of sound serves as an accurate finale for such an extravagant delicatessen. This ain't rock'n'roll! This is 'circus- meets-mental health institute-meets-Dadaist paintings exhibition' prog!

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#37742)
Posted Sunday, June 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I've to say thanks to Jimbo once again for providing the debut by this excellent Finnish band to me as well. This album (BTW the title means something like "One might love insects") is probably less suitable as a starting point, since it's more introverted and a wee more difficult to get into than its successor, but its quality is as top notch as the one of Huono Parturo.

The opener Örn starts almost like a pop song from the 80's but after the first few odd bars the listener realizes soon what he's listening to that is highly inventive and humoristic Avant Prog music. Raskaana is a very weird mix of blues and chanson played with extremely odd-timed rhythms. Third song Hämärän joutomaa is the first highlight of the album, excellent and very beautiful slightly Fripp-ish guitar combined with the great voice of Topi Lehtipuu. After about five minutes of a rather slow rhythm the band is breaking out into a more furious up-tempo playing. The short Pannuhuoneesta even intensifies this speed almost in a punk-ish vein before the tempo is slowing down again with Luottamus, which is actually a very nice more melancholic song, of course not without some strange weird effects in between.We have some awesome guitar and violin playing in this one! Kaivoonkatsoja is certainly the second highlight with an incredible interplay between guitar and violin. Beautiful, heavy and mind-bending at the same time! Kosto starts with melancholic pastoral vocals and violin, then suddenly a break and the music becomes really aggressive, Topi Lehtipuu presents some operatic vocals before an awesome interplay of violin and bass is starting. There are that many mood shifts in this song, really another impressing one! Hätä continues quite furiously again with an excellent guitar and violin playing and many sudden rhythm shifts. Another mind-blowing highlight! Myrskynmusiikkia is starting as well in a quite heavy vein before it slows down to a rather thoughtful mood and vocals are setting in. Then a short section of weird and furious violin, guitar and bass playing combined with aggressive vocals. For sure another highlight with incredibly frequent mood shifts. The album closes with Hyönteiset in a more cheerful, crazy and funny way, as well a very good song with many changes and amazing moments. After some silence there is still a very chaotic and cacophonic finish.

SUMMARY

HÖYRY-KONE's debut is not as full of humour as their second album and it takes a couple of spins to fall in love with it but then it's more and more enjoyable with each repeated listening. It contains quite a lot of highlights, especially the second half is full of them and not inferior at all to their masterpiece "Huono Parturi". I really like the band Alamaailman Vasarat since quite a while, but since I listened to their original band I can't decide anymore which one I like more. They are both just awesome, maybe HÖYRY- KONE even a bit more adventurous and exciting. I can't resist to rate this one as well with the full score, although I'm usually careful with giving five stars. But both albums by this great band are just masterpieces in prog!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#39078)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Incredible, what a progressive rock in the most pure tradition! The first track from this Finnish band is titled "Örn", it starts with swinging keyboards (pump organ!) and theatrical chorus. Halfway wailing violins and a Pavarotti-like voice enter and in the end we can enjoy a distorted guitar. The tracks "Hämärän joutomaa" and " Kaivoonkatsoja" contain an ominous atmosphere with Fripperian guitarwork. The song "Luottamus" sounds mellow featuring oboe and a beautiful finale with acoustic guitar and violin. Most of the other compositions sound very complex and experimental, not really accessible but more than adventurous: frequently changing climates, experimental sounds, theatrical vocals, a wide range of instruments and strong guitarplay (like in "Myrskynmusiikkia"). To be discovered!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#51859)
Posted Friday, October 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is very much what I would consider "wannabe" Prog Rock - or, more kindly, an album which shows a huge amount of potential.

The actual Rock appears to have been surgically removed, instead, a highly clinical and tightly rhythm focussed approach has been used with very simple little fragments woven together to make up pieces that are intended to seem complex or experimental.

While the approach to harmony often makes many nods and winks to bands such as Magma in its dischordant richness, and the apparently contradictorily sparseness of overall texture makes me think of 1980s Crimson, the structures here are generally very simple pop song forms.

Where they are not, the band gets lost in the trap of unrelated tangential changes, indicating a distinct lack of developmental prowess. On the positive side, where the band uses the more familiar structures, they have a good feel for continuity in flow, and relate all the ideas smoothly, with adept arranging skills.

Much of the music here seems to be "for its own sake" - which may be a good thing to many listeners, and there's no shortage of variety in textures, which will please those who enjoy the sound of a piece as much as the piece itself.

I enjoyed many of the variety of textures and different stylistic approaches in this album - particularly the over-sampled techno feel of "Pannuhuoneesta".

"Luottamus" shows great potential in song-writing ability, albeit with many uncomfortable moments of uncertainty in direction - as if the band wanted to avoid some of the more predictable moments. This is a pity, as when they leave the piece alone and let it flow, predictably or not, it really works as a superbly melancholic song with some great arrangement touches, particularly in the vocals and synths.

It does have to be pointed out, to the Pavarotti fans, that the vocals have a kind of operatic tendency, but are not fully fledged operatic tenor by any stretch of the imagination ;o)

"Myrskynmusiikkia" is a real piece of fun, with its 3 main contrasting sections; 1) A chunking metal-based riff, 2) an undulating guitar/keyboard supporting a rich vocal melody and 3) The band going off on one.

So while the basic musical ideas are very simple, the overall sound is incontrovertibly that of a Prog music band. There's very little real experimentation here - more a recycling of old ideas - but there are a lot of really great touches, particularly in the keyboards, vocals and arrangements.

Unfortunately, these tend to be moments rather than a consistent feature of the music as a whole, which is happier to settle into musical ideas as a butterfly settles onto a flower then moves onto the next one.

Some people enjoy watching butterflies flitting around flowers - and why not? :o)

A good album - really good in places - but not an essential part of your Prog Rock collection.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#75692)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I believe a certain type of humor is needed for appreciating this music, and as humorless gray traitor "We weren't amused" by this album. Possibly the truth is my sense of humor differs, and this hopingly honest construction just misses my appreciation. In order to try build up my problems with it, I skimmed the tracks trough, and hopefully do not offend anybody with my hostile remarks (haha).

Like Nightwish uses classical operatic female voice within a rock context, this band does the same with male vocals. There are some quite difficult rhythmic movements in the song, so the players are quite skillful, but I dislike their style highly. The opener "Örn" is right from the start nearly impossible for me to listen through due the annoying humor solutions. Also the lyrics are very artsy and lack any kind of meaning for me (maybe that's the aim, hey how clever). Also the few emotional and skillful moments are lost among the infantile joke parts. "Raskaana" starts as slow & bluesy rock, and it has extremely irritating fooling around middle part (powerful "we are CRAZY" signals). "Hämärän joutomaa" is then clear King Crimson tribute song; It starts with their 1980's "Discipline" quoting, this particular part sounding quite good. The following moments adds some elements resembling their 1970's "Fracture" atmospherics. Also the singing is done here without unnecessary jokes, making this as the best track of the album for me. The faster end part returns to the "Discipline"-styled straits. "Pannuhuoneesta" is another song that makes me want to vomit, being some kind of faster lo-fi replication of the Knight Rider TV-series theme with sampled voice listing some chemical and technical elements. "Luottamus" is acoustic softer tune with elements from easy listening jazz, folk rock and Curved Air resembling violins. In the middle part there's a quite good acoustic tender movement to be spotted (yeah!). "Kaivoonkatsoja" is a jumpy and aggressive instrumental composition with some smoother movements making it more "progressive". "Kosto" starts quietly and moves later to more oppressive and chaotic feelings, being very boring and irritating rant. "Hätä" has again interesting rhythms, but I don't like the style of the arrangements here, the composition swifts from one theme to another without creating anything interesting in my opinion. Somehow this track resembles some movements of Änglagård's "Hybris" with its pretentious chaos. "Myrskynmusiikkia" is another aggressive track as the name suggests, still having some calmer parts for contrast, continuing the stylistic line of this album; Being irritating. The last track "Hyönteiset" is fast and repulsive sonic entity, and only thing good in here is the fact that it's the last track on the album.

I borrowed this album from the library, as I noted this band and Alamaailman Vasarat were going to perform with Anekdoten at the Tavastia Club, Helsinki. As I'm a huge fan of melancholic Anekdoten, and these bands have some sort of friendship relation, I was kind of interested. What was an insult of highest degree for me was the fact, that Anekdoten was the first "warm up" band to perform, and these idiots were "The Main Feature" of the night. Anekdoten even had to skip their last song, as " there was no time" due the schedule of the Finnish prog masters about entering the stage. I watched Alamaailman Vasarat with repulse, an as Höyry-Kone started to play, I had to leave the building, go home, and new get back.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#95199)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars For those who enjoy '80s King Crimson, Henry Cow and Anekdoten. Another point of reference already mentioned would be Samla Mammas Manna. The track description of "Luottamus", I once read - was like "Sade on acid bumping into Gong". I guess that's an appropriate description. Of note - when I played the aforementioned track on my radio programme to many listeners on-line across the globe from the Gentle Giant On-Reflection Mailing List, they couldn't stop talking about it for days (re: "Luottamus").

When I first heard this album in the '90s, it blew my socks off. I'd have given it a 5 star rating. Revisiting it the last few months, I don't think it stands the test of time, so I give it a 3 star rating. If the dated thing doesn't get to you, I respectfully give it a 4 star rating for sounding "'90s".

The track "Pannuhuoneesta" is an inside joke with the band, I think. Just an awful techno- track...although, I figure that's their "electronica" stab at the thumpa-thumpa which was saturating the airwaves at the time. Kind of fun at first, but it disturbs the flow of the album. It may be their aural disdain at the music biz of the time, whereas Gentle Giant did it with their classic album cover "Acquiring The Taste". Who knows?

From memory, there are 3 instrumentals on this album. All very Frippy-sounding, yet very unlike King Crimson. Quite good, actually. Vocals are in Finnish and very fine with an operatic delivery, but not over-the-top like most Italian bands in the '70s. The heavy cello makes Hoyry-Kone sound rather unique compared to many other bands of this era in the history of Progressive Rock.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#126421)
Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rating: A-

If you are a progressive rock fan, there's a pretty good chance you think that good music did not exist in the 80s and 90s. I'd like to prove you wrong.

I present the song "Orn" from Hoyry-Kone's debut CD, Hyonteisia Voi Rakastaa (It Is Possible to Love Insects) as all the proof I need. That one song brushes away most everything done in the 1970s with select few exceptions. It's catchy, uptempo, and, need I point it, complex, intelligent, and clearly prog. It has amazing vocals from Topi Lehtipuu, who is currently a successful lyrical tenor. Or, if I were to reduce all of that to just one word, I could just pick "awesome." Because that's what this song is, pure and simple.

As a matter of fact, that's pretty much what Hoyry-Kone (Steam Engine) is in general. They rock hard enough to please the metal-heads out there, they're quirky and "out there" enough for the avant-heads, and they're catchy enough for everyone else. On their second album, Huono Parturi (A Bad Haircut), they managed to find the perfect combination of these elements, and, as a result, they left us with one of the greatest albums ever released.

On Hyonteisia Voi Rakastaa, however, we are not quite so fortunate. While still awesome in every respect I've mentioned (and quite a few more), I find I must disagree with those who would argue that this CD is on the same level as its follow-up. It has some trademark features of a debut album: a mild lack of cohesiveness and some weaker songs. It's still plenty cohesive and has no bad songs, but it doesn't flow and not every song feels essential. This album is actually more diverse in terms of styles covered than their next CD, but their genre-skipping doesn't quite hold up between songs. For an example of a weaker song, "Luottamus" is a beautiful song, but it doesn't really do anything new or noteworthy (and it drags on a bit long). These songs are rare, and are even good songs, but their presence is noticeable, especially given their utter absence on Huono Parturi.

Don't let me trick you into thinking this album is somehow less than essential, however. When Hyonteisia voi Rakastaa hits its highs, it really hits its highs. "Hamaran Joutomaa" is what I imagine Philip Glass mixed with Steve Reich placed in a hard rock band with a vocalist trained in classical music. Or, more precisely, it's the sound of Heaven. "Pannuhuoneesta," which follows, is almost trance with strange vocals. "Kaivoonkotsoja," on the other hand, looks ahead to their masterpiece, but uses more atmospheric violin (whereas on Huono Parturi the violin is in all-out rock mode most of the time). And so on from there.

Hoyry-Kone is often compared to King Crimson (and sometimes also to Iron Maiden), but I think people must be getting them confused with Anekdoten, a Swedish band with whom they were good friends. Anekdoten is clearly heavily inspired by King Crimson. Hoyry-Kone, on the other hand, pull from so many areas that individual influences (including King Crimson) get obscured and their individuality shines through. As for what they actually sound like, accurately capturing their sound is difficult. At their core, they are a hard progressive rock band in the vein King Crimson pioneered (as I said, King Crimson influenced them to an extent), but they throw in classical nods with the violin. Every so often, they will throw in a metal (or at least metallic) riff (on "Hata" and "Myrskynmusiikkia," for example). That defines their main sound; the rest of what they play consists of their interpretations of various musical whims they've had.

So there you have it, a fantastic debut from a fantastic band. Their second is even better, but this one is an incredible start.

If you like these guys, check out their follow-up band, the (almost) equally awesome Alamaailman Vasarat (Hammers of the Underworld). I'd recommend their album Kaarmelautakunta.

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Send comments to Pnoom! (BETA) | Report this review (#163502)
Posted Saturday, March 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hyönteisiä voi Rakastaa is the debut album from avant garde rock act Höyry-Kone from Finland. This album has been a hard one for me to get into. I knew right away that I was fascinated by the music but I couldn´t label it and I had a hard time with the change of style between every song. I´ve come to realise that the album is cohesive even though it´s as diverse as it is though and that Hyönteisiä voi Rakastaa is a great unique album.

The music takes it´s influences from many genres and I hear both avant garde, enthnic folk and jazz in the music while there is an occasional touch of opera in the vocals. The songs are very energetic but there are time for some more emotional and beautiful moments in songs like Hämärän joutomaa and Luottamus. There are lots of challenging and complex time signatures but generally the music comes out being very memorable and pretty easy to digest avant garde rock. The lyrics are in Finish but don´t worry the vocals sound great anyway.

The musicianship is excellent. This is an eight piece band and during the playing time of this album we´re presented with lots of different instruments. I personally love the sporadic keyboards but both the guitar playing and especially the bass playing are also excellent. Fortunately the band has also put emphasis on more organinc instruments like Oboe, Violin and Cello.

The production is very good. A real joy. Listen to the bass sound it´s just fantastic.

I had to listen to this album many, many times before reviewing it because it´s so diverse and every time I reached the end there was something I felt I had missed. I´ve come to a conclusion now though and I think Hyönteisiä voi Rakastaa deserves 4 stars. It´s a very original and unique album. There is just such a great will to experiment on the album and you can´t give musicians enough credit for that. After all that´s what progressive music is all about now isn´t it ? This album is recommended to people who wants to hear something they have never heard before. I dare you: Challenge yourself !

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#183932)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars What a great album this is. The debut of Finnish band Hoyry-Kone. I prefer this one to the slightly more popular Huono Parturi. These guys sing in Finnish, and all the song titles are in Finnish, so apologies for not being able to put umlauts over almost every vowel. This album reminds me of Mr. Bungle, although the music here doesn't jump all over the place like it has a short attention span, like Bungle.

"Orn" starts almost funky with operatic vocals. Then some Crimson style guitar interplay before backwards effects. Later a more mellow section. Then some strong bass before it goes back to the funky opera part. "Hamaran Joutomaa" begins with Crimson like interlocking guitars. Later a nice melody on some instrument...a synth I guess. Singing starts. Later on goes into a different section thats more harder before some more Crimson style interlocking guitars. "Pannuhuoneesta" sounds like Bungle of the time. Very techno sounding.

"Luottamus" is a loungy jazz type of song. Nice melodic playing on violin and oboe. Good singing. Gets more orchestral with some acoustic guitar. "Kaivoonkatsoja" is an instrumental with metal riffing and symphonic violins. "Kosto" starts with acoustic upright bass, oboe, cello and vocals. Later almost slap style electric bass playing and drums. Gets more rocking with guitar near the end. Then just electric bass and cello.

"Hata" is another instrumental. Generally rocking, it changes throughout the song. I like the sound of the bass at the end. "Myrskynmusiikkia" starts out more rocking then goes into a part with vocals and tremolo guitar. Later bass, drums and violin. After some weird vocals. Goes back to vocals and tremolo guitar. Then full band again. "Hyonteiset" has a jazzy rhythm and acoustic guitar with vocals and violin/cello. The song ends and after a moment of silence some cacophony with tape speed altering.

This is great progressive rock from 1995. Although this is technically avant-prog, it's not very dissonant or atonal at all. Highly recommended. 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#362238)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars HOYRY-KONE were a Finnish band who released two albums in the mid-nineties. These guys are legendary in the Avant-Garde community. It doesn't hurt of course that these records are out of print and almost impossible to find. Also the band has indicated they won't be re-issued. Three of the members of this band went on to be part of ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT. That would be the drummer, cello player and flute / bass player. This is a highly entertaining and adventerous release with some humour too.

And speaking of humour the opening track makes me laugh. It's called "Om" and has an uptempo beat with these deep vocal melodies that come and go. At one point other vocal melodies trade off with the deep ones. Crazy stuff. A calm with vocals follow then operatic vocals are next then that beat returns and those deep vocal melodiies to end it. "Raskaana" has these lazy vocals and a beat. Guitar too. Things get chaotic for a while then back to the opening soundscape. "Hamaran Joutomaa" opens with angular guitar, crisp drumming and chunky bass. A change 1 1/2 minutes in then the drums return followed by vocals a minute later. It kicks in hard after 5 minutes and we get some excellent guitar too. "Pannuhuoneesta" is a short spoken word piece with weird sounds in the background. "Luottamus" has this pulsating sound with cello and a beat then vocals and aboe join in. A dreamy calm 3 minutes in.

"Kaivoonkatsoja" has a nice heavy undercurrant with guitar. Cello joins in. It's even heavier then it settles before 1 1/2 minutes. Kicks back in before 2 minutes and it's heavier a minute later. "Kosto" has these laid back vocals and a mellow sound. Things change 2 minutes in as it kicks in. Powerful vocal melodies follow. A calm before 3 minutes with cello then huge bass lines join in. It kicks back in before 5 minutes. Nice. "Hata" has these riffs that come in quickly. It does settle some but the bass and drums are still strong. It then picks back up. "Myrskynmuslikkia" is the longest track at almost 7 minutes. It has a heavy intro before settling with vocals. It kicks in at 3 minutes when the vocals stop. These contrasts continue. "Hyonteiset" is fairly uptempo with vocals and it turns heavy quickly.

Without question 4 stars and the next one is even better. Thanks Todd !

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#787186)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars (7/10)

Well the Finnish certainly can be an odd bunch, can't they? Höyry-Kone ('steam-engine' to us English-speakers) popped up in the nineties with an odd mixture of sounds that has rightfully earned them a place in the RIO/Avant-Prog subgenre. On their first album, "Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa", you can hear quite a lot of things. You can hear bits of jazz, in the instrumentation and in the approach. You can hear the influence of other eclectic prog bands, especially King Crimson, and not just the 70s stuff either (a lot of the interwoven rhythmic riffs call to mind KC's 80s classic "Discipline"). You can hear classical, and even some dance/techno-like segments, plus a large number of other ingredients, all thrown together in an intentionally eccentric bundle.

Does it work? Well, mostly, but not entirely. Despite the variety of influences, a lot of the songs actually end up feeling quite similar, and on top of that not every experimental idea is successful. I'm not overly keen on the more electronic/techno influenced sections, though they are luckily not that common. Also, some of the instruments can occasionally be a bit cheap-sounding, which gets a little distracting from time to time.

However there are some strong, memorable moments on this album. There are some really evocative passages of violin, and plenty of engaging odd rhythms to enjoy. The vocals in particular are a real draw, one of the more interesting things about Höyry-Kone. Often powerfully booming in a semi-operatic manner (just one of the many ways that Höyry-Kone call to mind fellow Finnish proggers Haikara), sometimes delicate, but always effective. I sometimes find myself singing small portions of the Finnish lyrics to myself, so it has even managed to cross the language divide, albeit anybody from Finland would probably find my butchering of their mother tongue quite laughable.

"Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa" is a decent collections of songs, songs which are usually short, complex, quirky, and can change quite quickly (which can sometimes be a good or bad thing). Not everything works, but this is definitely an interesting release, though somewhat overshadowed by Höyry-Kone's next album, "Huono Parturi". If nothing else, the band should be commended on their desire to try something new, because they have certainly achieved that.

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Posted Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Review Permalink

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