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NIITTOAIKA

Uzva

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Last year , as I asked Anekdoten drummer Peter Nordin what had become of Hoyry Kone , he had told me that they had broken up which I knew but then asked what they (musicians) were doing as he knew most of them personally (he had played on their albums). He told me most of them had joined either Alamaailmam Vasarat or Uzva. As for AV , this is correct but for Uzva , I am still trying to find a link to HK (other than nationality or that they are also entirely instrumental & acoustic as AV is. This is where comparisons stops as Uzva is much more lyrical in their songwriting but still very jazz-classical-folk-prog. Not that this stops them from developping some incredibly dynamic and energetic moments - the last movement of the third number is particularly awesome. Please note that the influence pointed out in the first composition is not too overly obtrusive as Uzva manages to have its own sound somewhere between Mahavishnu , Canterbury and Genesis or GG. Quite a small find. Greg Walker told me their debut is out of print so hurry-up for this one as it is likely to also.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#32743)
Posted Monday, September 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars Greetings to previous reviewer who thought in the forum that his text was so lonely (yes, I'm a Finn). Unfortunately I haven't listened to Niittoaika more than couple of times a year ago, so I can't say anything deep about it. I taped few minutes extracts from each 3 long titles - that reveals I didn't fall in love with the whole album but found it interesting. I would compare it mostly - not to Canterbury scene or Gentle Giant but to the early works of Mike Oldfield (TB, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn); the sound and (totally instrumental!) structure are quite similar - not that Uzva is plagiarizing or even necessarily influenced heavily by those mentioned records. Also I sensed Soft Machine's fusion-rock, which probably HAS influenced, due to the name of the first piece. All in all, just a bit sleepy in its entirety (or maybe I didn't try enough) but definitely very nice, and in these days quite rare kind of art rock played with the addition of classical instruments, which makes the sound warm and pleasant. Worth checking if you like instrumental, folkish fusion.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#32745)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
petri.siikand
4 stars Very organic and orginal music from Finland. Haven't heard anything like this for a long time. Resembles Mahavishnu Orchestra and early Jukka Tolonen. Very peaceful album that at the end grows stronger. Recomended for all mankind.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#36846)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a very happy and playful summer record, which creates a small theme of seasons, as the band's previous album was a peaceful winter album "Tammela at January". Some listening of 1972-1974 era KING CRIMSON was probably done during the time between these albums, as there are great freeform improvisations between the composed themes and more structured jams. The band also performed "Red" as an encore in their concert, where they also played material from this CD. The first two suites are pastorals, "Afrodite" being specially mellow, and "Drontti" has a more aggressive beat in vein of early 70's FRANK ZAPPA.

When I first listened to this record, it didn't quite catch my complete interest, and I first graded "Niittoaika" as a three star album. Luckily the problem was not in the album but in my own state, as I was both stressed and sick; Now carefully listened again, I got the good kicks which it can offer. Recommended sincerely!

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpaa (BETA) | Report this review (#39113)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Uzva's Niittoaika is a fantastic album. This band plays only instrumental music. The band plays some sort of a combination of jazz, folk, chamber music and even RIO (in my opinion), and this combination is well combined! The members of this band play well, and the songs have been composed sophistactedly. I had had to listen to it few times before I was capable of enjoying this music, however, after listening to it enough I discovered a fantastic band which is actually original. In short, Uzva offers an instrumental album that begins smoothly and ends up with a lovely dissonance played mostly by accoustic instruments. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to Dan Yaron (BETA) | Report this review (#42524)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Uzva is nature-like-sounding instrumental symphonic fusion combo from Finland. In addition to guitars, bass and drums we can listen such kind of instruments like vibraphone, marimba, piano, cello, flute, violin, accordion and clarinet. And so we can be in quite acoustic but sometimes very expressive soundspectrum. There are three longish multi-part- compositions: Soft Machine, Afrodite and Drontti. Sometimes we can hear little relationships with best-days-Mike Oldfield, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, Maneige, Pekka Pohjola, even instrumental Frank Zappa or Steve Reich. This record gets step-by-step more and more delightful. In my oppinion Afrodite and specially Drontti are real masterpieces - gentle, full of dignity and quite original (4,5 stars really)!

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Send comments to Rainer Rein (BETA) | Report this review (#53578)
Posted Thursday, October 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Very pleasant and melodic instrumental Jazz music from Finland. They have divided this recording into three sections with 2 to 3 songs in each.

"Soft Machine" is the first section. Part 1 opens with the birds chirping while vibes, drums then bass comes in. Violin before 2 minutes as it stays pastoral. Flute a minute later. Part 2 has a fuller sound with heavy drums and lots of violin.The flute becomes prominant as well. Guitar after 6 minutes as bass throbs. It settles with violin 7 1/2 minutes in. Part 3 is violin led with a fuller sound a minute in. Some nice bass as well. Aggressive guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. It ends with the birds singing. "Afrodite" Part 1 continues with those birds hamming it up. This is very pastoral with piano and flute. The violin does become prominant.

Part 2 features some great drumming as guitar,then violin come to the fore. I like the guitar after 6 minutes. The birds are back ! Did they ever leave ? "Drontti" Part 1 opens with surprise ! Birds. It's mellow and violin led. Part 2 continues with the singing birds as vibes come in. Flute before 2 minutes. The tempo picks up as violin and guitar arrive. It settles somewhat again. An aggressive passage before 4 minutes. I like the darker section before 5 minutes with violin. A big finish follows. Nice.

The overall mood is fairly light, too light for my tastes. Having said that, there are some really good passages here that I enjoy a lot.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#188273)
Posted Saturday, November 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Niittoaika' - Uzva (77/100)

Uzva is among the rare few that, while entirely deserving of the 'prog fusion' label that's tossed their way when discussing genre, fuel their music with a sensibility that appeals to the heart as much as the brain. Indeed, it's a shame that so many artists who pair progressive rock ingredients with a jazzy context (or vice- versa!) tend to lose sight of the fact that both styles are best when the technical prospects give way in part to hooks and atmosphere.

Given that preface, it should not be a surprise that Niittoaika trumps many of its contemporaries as a solid reinvention of traditional progressive rock. While many of the genre-based expectations a listener might have for either side of the fusion are fulfilled, Uzva's balance of traits is refreshing; the austere atmosphere and tonal experiments (closely resembling King Crimson in their heyday) and flute leads (fairly damned well analogous with prog in a rock setting) are here in full, as are the irregular chord choices that jazz listeners should be right at home with. It's the way that Uzva combines these familiar traits is what makes Niittoaika impressive; the egotism and fertile potential for loose jams are put aside in favour of compositions tightly structured and rich with atmosphere. Adding to that instrumentation heavy in flute and cello/violin leads, and it feels almost as if Niittoaika is the soundtrack to a wordless, woodland nature documentary.

Uzva's second album consists of three tracks, and to my delight, each distinguishes itself from the other two from the first listen onwards. "Soft Machine", as any seasoned prog listener might suspect, takes a fair bit of inspiration from the classic band of the same name. It's slow to build, but even at its most leisurely, there's the certain impression that Uzva haven't left much up to chance or spontaneity. The album's middle movement "Afrodite" is arguably the best of the three; it's helped a great deal by its warm atmosphere and focused attention on melodic lines. "Drontti" (an unassuming epic that reaches past the seventeen minute mark) continues the increasing momentum; after a short acoustic intermezzo ("Drontti 3.1"), Uzva pick up the pace and don't let up until the album is over. I might argue Uzva milk the finale too long for their own good (the otherwise mellow album has a near-ridiculously bombastic conclusion) but it is good to hear a more energetic side of Uzva before Niittoaika finishes up.

While the finale might leave listeners with a different impression, Niittoaika is a fairly mellow album; while the band themselves are tight and clearly focused (this stuff is undeniably far more difficult to pull off than the relaxed atmosphere might imply) Niittoaika demands nothing of its listener. Fans of progressive rock may see this as a fault. From where I'm coming from, it sounds like Uzva have done something that many in modern prog have attempted, and few others have actually managed to pull off; they've taken the traditional aesthetic of the genre and made it their own. Niittoaika lacks the boldness to rewrite the book as it were, but the vision here is refreshing and, above all, enjoyable.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#1347398)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2015 | Review Permalink

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