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Nurkostam -C- album cover
2.55 | 15 ratings | 14 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Pearl Song (4:51)
2. Crawlin' Nation (4:12)
3. Prison 4 (3:31)
4. Myplanet (2:47)
5. Slo Lee (3:43)
6. Intentionally Left Blank (0:40)
7. Gone (2:30)
8. Shrine (0:32)
9. Darkmoor (6:01)

Total Time 28:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Tero Koski
- Toni Nurmi
- Janne Tamminen

Releases information

Self released, downloadable upon iTunes Store (2009)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
and to Conor Fynes for the last updates
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More places to buy NURKOSTAM music online

NURKOSTAM -C- ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (27%)
Poor. Only for completionists (13%)

NURKOSTAM -C- reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
2 stars Once again, I want to add a note here that I am reviewing this album at the request of a member of the band. I have strived to make sure this does not affect my review, but you may want to keep that in mind.

-C- is listed here and on iTunes as an album, which is puzzling to me because it's actually shorter than the XIII EP that the band put out back in 2005. Like that EP - and the III of Dreamers album that preceded -C- by only a few short months - -C- creates a picture of a band who seem to have talented instrumentalists to hand and a large number of musical influences, but appear to lack the overall creative vision required to draw all of these ideas into a coherent and compelling whole. Once again, the songs just don't seem to belong together; here the band experiment with a funk/dance music bassline, as on the opening song, there they're doing dark ambient by way of King Crimson (on Darkmoor), over this way they seem to be trying to sound like Porcupine Tree, over there they're doing a good impression of late Mercury Rev.

Lacking any song of the standards of the best work of III of Dreamers, and retaining that album's crisis of identity (the crisis being that the band haven't really established an identity for themselves), and continuing the trend across all other Nurkostam releases for the band to dabble in a large number of musical approaches without committing to take the plunge in any of them, I can't give -C- more than two stars. There's a good band here waiting to get out, but it requires them to sit down, look at their influences, look at their music to date, and deciding what they want to sound like. Because sounding like *everything* and everyone who has ever influenced you is a dead end.

Review by progrules
3 stars I was asked by Toni from Nurkostam (first three letters from each member's surnames) to investigate their music so here I go. Reading the band description the most significant info to me is the fact their influences are wide but obviously go the progressive way. Let's see what comes out with this first release from 2009.

I like the opening semi-instrumental Pearl's Song with clearly fusion tendencies. It has things in common with fusionband Where's the Nine. Interesting track, nicely done (3,5*)

Crawlin' Nation is a carefully crafted song, slightly dark but also laid back. I like the keys on this one. Interesting melodic elements I have to say (3,25*)

Prison 4 is a very vocal track. A mellow song with some spacy atmosphere (3*)

My planet starts with space travel communication followed by normal vocals. Again the atmosphere coming off the song is crucial (2,75*)

Slo Lee must be an alternative way of writing slowly (another similarity with Where's the Nine). This one gets a bit creepy halfway but gets normal again after a few seconds. Another very vocal composition (3*).

Two very short tracks (Intentionally left blank and Shrine) are ok but no more (2,5*).

Gone is a short track with out of tune vocals. Kind of special thanks to emotion but not really mindblowing musically (2,5*)

The longest track Darkmoor starts off as an almost poppy song but just before halfway the instrumental part doesn't sound accessible at all and is done in Anathema style (slow with ambient feel). Best song on the album along with the opener (3,5*).

I'm not sure if I can detect so many styles and influences on this album. Ok, starting off with fusion and finishing with experimental/post rock could give that impression but it's not that I'm tossed to and fro in all kinds of musical directions. Nurkostam is more vocal than I had expected. Personally I feel their strength lies in their instrumental sections. And unfortunately they were pretty scarce on this album. But I wouldn't call this short debut a poor performance by any means so I will give them and encouraging three stars. There is potential in Nurkostam !

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars '-C-' - Nurkostam (3/10)

My third and final experience with the band Nurkostam is also the most disappointing. It is clear that these mellow Finns have always been trying to change up their sound, but what this has resulted in is a string of releases that often hint at great things, but come out sounding incoherent and- as a friend and fellow reviewer put it- 'muddled'. Things are no different with their third release and second EP '-C-'. 'XIII' impressed me with its vintage sounds and even 'III Of Dreamers' was something of a melancholic trip into the dream world, but '-C-' seems to lack most of the things I found myself really liking about those ones.

Chief among my concerns is the fact that Nurkostam makes some much more optimistic music here. Of course, musicians should not necessarily be admonished for being happy, but I did feel that Nurkostam's sombre feeling of sadness in their music was one of the things I could enjoy most about it. Here, the music is still generally mellow and hodge- podge, but there lacks the emotional adhesive to tie it all together. The album starts out with a fired-up bass groove, although like other Nurkostam albums, they seem to have a while at hinting at one sound, before going off in the opposite direction. Most of the 28 minutes on '- C-' is devoted to soft vocals and keyboards; sometimes acoustic guitars even pop in. One thing that I can say to '-C-'s credit is that the vocals here are significantly better than they were before; although the music is not nearly as powerful as even 'III Of Dreamers', I will say that the band is improving their act in some areas.

While the actual music here is fairly mediocre, it is not painful to listen to, just perhaps scattered and aimless. The album takes a beating when it comes to flow however. Like 'III Of Dreamers', it never feels like the album is going anywhere, and as a result, the album ends rather suddenly; on first listen, I thought the disc was malfunctioning when it ended without warning. The Sigur Ros-like vocals and acoustic guitars are the best thing about the music here, although the songwriting feels incredibly scattered and not particularly inviting. The ambient sections of garbled air terminal dialogue also don't help.

Hopefully Nurkostam will tap into the good sounds of their music and work on their album structure, because as it stands, I find myself rather underwhelmed by the music here.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Nurkostam is a Finnish trio whose name is made up of the members surnames. I listened to this release and the other two by this band but I focused on this one because it seemed the most interesting to me of the three. They are listed here under Neo Prog but on this EP anyway, there is very little I could call Neo. I actually liked this EP a lot and hope their next release is more in this vein. The vocals have a Finnish accent at times which I don't mind but might turn some people off. The music itself is very accessible but not too commercial.

"The Pearl Song" has an electronic sound which I like. Nice vocal harmonies in this song. A little bit of acoustic guitar appears at one point, but otherwise mostly electronic. Features a cool synth solo in the middle. Some electric guitar near the end. This song flows really well. Now the song order on the album page is a little different to the order I heard the album in; I'll go with the order I'm familiar with because it includes a mini-suite made up of three songs. "Gone" is a more acoustic and melancoly song, reminds me of Radiohead but with a different vocalist. Some Mellotron near the end.

"Prison 4" begins with an acoustic guitar style similar to some 1990s music. Vocals and 1980s style keyboards fill out the sound. Halfway it gets more interesting with a nice groove and cool altered background vocals. Gets more electronic sounding later. "Myplanet" starts and ends with astronauts talking. The song is built upon acoustic guitar arpeggios, synth bass and a trip-hop beat. This track features some of the best singing on the EP. I like how there is singing over top of the vocal samples, you don't hear too much of that. "Crawlin' Nation" starts out as a bluesy song, then gets more folky with synths. Later gets more hard rock sounding.

The next three songs almost form a suite musically but they are not segued together. "Intentionally Left Blank" is a 40 second electric paino piece which is nice. Then the song "Slolee" which is the highlight of the whole EP. This has a great rhythm. Nice mix of real drums and drum machine. Love the synth sounds used here. Features some great vocal melodies and harmonies. The lyrics being spoken over the singing is a nice touch. The song gets darker and more sinister sounding before it goes back to that great rhythm, now with slowed down backup vocals. Just a fantastic song. "Shrine" follows and is a 30 second vocoder piece (think Floyd's "A New Machine" from AMLOR).

"Darkmoor" is the last and longest song. It begins as an almost indie/alternative song. Then it goes symphonic prog. Gets almost classical sounding and stays in that section for a few minutes. Becomes more intense with some double-tracked fuzz guitar. The drumming changes to miltaristic and there's some great cymbal bashing. Love the Oldfield meets Canterbury ending featuring some Mellotron at the very end. These are well written songs with great production. I was sent Mp3 files at 192 kbps; as good as they sound, I would like to hear where those files were compressed from. The lyrics sound pretty deep but I'm not exactly sure what they are talking about (they sing in English). This is a really good EP and very consistent. I will give this a 3.5 but round it up to 4 stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I'm wondering why this album is so underrated on PA and I think there may be mainly two reasons. The first is that it effectively requires more than one "careful" listen; the second is probably the fact that the band is included in the neo-prog subgenre and this can be misleading. There's nothing of Marillion, IQ or even Flower Kings in this EP. The dissonances can remind to the King Crimson but I don't think that this is the biggest influence.

After some more listens I've been able to appreciate this EP, and let me say that if you look at the Wyndham Hill catalog just as example, you can find "Full Albums" with the same length.

It opens with an impressive jazzy bass riff on "ThePearlSong" coming from the land of Pekka Pohjola. The EP proceeds with a Floydian, or better Gilmourian slow song. I mention Dave Gilmour not as guitarist but for the kind of songwriting of "On An Island".

I don't understand the rationale of putting 30 seconds fillers, but in the middle of two fillers we have the best album's song: "Slolee" with its dissonances and a King Crimson flavor.

This is an album that I took some time to enjoy, but it's worth a listen. I didn't pay attention to the lyrics, so I don't know what the songs are about, but this mixture of jazzy sounds, dissonances and pop-like melodies is quite unique. "Prison4" is an example of what I mean. Radiohead fans can probably enjoy more "Crawlin'Nation", even if can't be called a Radiohead song.

I honestly think it deserves at least the status of "good album" so I'm rating it with 3 stars. If you are going to give it a try, don't stop at the first impression. It takes a while to grow.

Review by lazland
3 stars The second of three pieces of work from the Finnish trio, rather misleadingly classified as neo-prog on the site, this one shows a distinct improvement in terms of sound quality over the debut EP. In addition, there is a sense of the band now finding their feet somewhat in terms of style and striving for better consistency. By and large they succeed.

The EP opens with The Pearl Song, which, at its commencement, is a gorgeous mellow track, with very well sung lyrics, set off by a jazzy, almost sampled, bass & drum. It is a pity that this very nice track is somewhat spoiled by a completely unnecessary messy keyboard solo halfway through which is absolutely out of keeping with the rest of the track.

Gone is far better throughout. A distinctly spacey feel with some rather angry lyrics make for a good listen.

Prison 4 has a rather late 1960's feel to it. In fact, some of it very much reminds me of some of the stuff that bands such as The Bee Gees were putting out at the time. This is probably utterly unintentional, but I mean this not as a criticism, far from it.

Myplanet brings us right back to the present day, and is, like much of the first EP, clearly influenced by bands such as Radiohead and is full of Floydian sound effects backing another repetitive drum bass and a very nice, simple, guitar lead.

The highlight of the whole work, for me, is Crawlin' Nation, a track where the band fully realise the promise shown on the debut work. Wholly original, with some lovely vocals accompanied by a very upbeat backdrop, and three minutes in, you get the burst of energy that proves that this band can really play as a cohesive unit to deliver a very strong piece of music.

There are two very short fillers less than a minute long. Intentionally Left Blank is a very good piano piece which really should have been longer, whilst Shrine is even shorter and, again, should have been a lot longer. A great sci fi influenced keyboard and effects piece with a tremendous cymbal finale, why on earth was this only half a minute long? Very Floydian, and criminally short.

Another highlight is Slo Lee, which features some delicious vocals and harmonies before descending into an altogether darker mood halfway through with menacing bass & drum accompanied by swirling keyboards. The vocal led track reasserts itself at the end, and this is a very good piece of music which, again, promises a great deal for the future.

The longest track, Darkmoor, at six minutes in length closes proceedings. There is all sorts in here, and another example of why this band really should be properly described as eclectic. From post indie to symphonic, with very strong Floydian influences in the pounding monotone bass leading a lush piano before becoming almost akin to some of Banks' work in mid 1970's Genesis, this, once again, promises a great deal for the future, and is never less than interesting.

I like this EP, and I am grateful to the band for making it available to me to review. I am going to award it three stars, but, in reality, it is more like 3.5 if we had such a rating system here. This is a very good EP which only just falls short of excellent, but is clearly the sound of a band finding their feet and growing in confidence both in terms of songwriting, performance, and, most definitely, production values. Recommended.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nice, dreamy and sad!

Those are some adjectives that come to my mind when I think of Nurkostam, a Finnish band that has been together since the latter 90's days, creating different kind of pieces, reaching the progressive rock realm and experimenting with some music for films. Since then, they have released three albums, one of them is "-C-" which saw the light in 2009. This trio has some kind of mellow and dreamy music to offer, so let's see what can we listen to here.

This is a short 28-minute album divided in 9 compositions, some of them are very short, and a couple of them are longer ones. It opens with "The Pearl Song" which immediately caught my attention due to that addictive bass sound, and those soft but delicious drums. The voice is mellow, so is the atmosphere. The last minute is pretty good, and I dare say this is the best track of the album, or at least my favorite.

"Gone" is a shorter track with a sense of sorrow, a disarming vocal sound complemented by a keyboard background. A dreamy piece. "Prison 4" is another mellow and soft track at first, which later changes a little bit, having some backing vocals and chorus. Not really my favorite here. "Space Travel" has a cool atmosphere, first with some radio-like voices and then with nice acoustic guitar and mellow vocals.

"Crawlin' Nation" has a very gentle sound, relaxing and soft, with nice vocals and acoustic guitar. This might be a tricky one, because you either feel interested or bored after a couple of minutes. However, I suggest you to stay until the very end, because the song becomes a bit heavier and more emotional.

"Intentionally Left Blank" is a 40-second piano piece that leads to "Slo Lee" , a piece that has a nice and more elaborated sound. However it may become repetitive and boring (just as I said with a previous track), though I actually like it. Not the best, but not bad at all. "Shrine" is another thirty-second instrumental piece, nothing to be proud about.

And finally the longest track, entitled "Darkmoor" which is an interesting composition. There is a constant sense of tranquility and melancholy, the music is soft and delicate, and the vocals perfectly complement it. After two minutes there is a moment of stillness, and then little by little the music is being rebuilt, a nice piano leads while some drums can also be heard. The last two minutes are instrumental and share a symphonic-like sound, with cool guitars and a tense feeling.

It is a nice EP, with highs and lows, but if you are in the mood and listen to it carefully, surely you will like it. My final grade is three stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Despite less than stellar production, I actually like Nurkostam's first EP, "XIII". That album showed a lot of prog ideas, many of them quite original. This, their second EP, is almost devoid of prog, and very disappointing.

I suppose I should have known, when the EP opened with The Pearl Song, an infectuous but ultimately empty little piece of techno. The majority of the rest of the album consists of rather plain mainstream styled songs, with the odd sounds thrown in to give them the appearance of originality. My Planet has spaceman chatter in the background, how original is that?

The only prog moments come in Darkmoor, luckily the longest song. If the EP had more songs like this (as the first EP did), it would be an enjoyable experience.

2.5 stars

Review by Andy Webb
3 stars An Unfinished Pearl

Nurkostam is a relatively underground young neo-prog formed in Finland in 1998. The band's first seven years of existence were spent playing live and developing their unique sound. The band blended countless influences, ranging from the psychedelic prog rock expanses of Pink Floyd to the symphonic graces of Yes to the experimental nature of King Crimson to the alternative rock tastes of Pearl Jam. The band was debuted with their first EP, XII, in 2005. The band released nothing else until 2009, when they released their first full length album, III of Dreamers, and finished the year with their second EP and second 2009 release, -C-. The EP displays much of the same qualities found on their first EP, as well as new twists that were incorporated from their full length album. On the EP, the listener can hear the band's innumerable influences, ranging from gentle symphonic prog, funky passages, gloomy rock sections, and so much more. The compositions, nine relatively short pieces, range in intensity and emotion, but they all share a certain damning quality; they all seem mostly undeveloped and unfinished from their potential. Although the production is spectacular (although the drum machine is an odd addition to their sound), I feel the music could be more developed, which gives the EP an overall rather unfinished feel.

The album again has an opener that is redolent to the band's two prior albums: it is virtually opposite to the rest of the album! The opener, "The Pearl Song" is a pleasant funky track, full of great bass lines and interesting rhythmic structure. The rest of the EP, however, has only traces of this funk influence, with most of it being mellow rock ranging from symphonic, acoustic, alternative, and folky types. The instrumentation is similar to much of the band's music as well, with mellow, non-virtuous, but determined strumming, drumming, and thumping (bass lines). Nothing overly special, but enough emotion to give the music energy and appeal. The vocals are redolent to the band's previous music as well, with minorly strained yet melancholically melodic vocal work that gives the music subtle harmony and an interesting quality. Overall, the performance and production are very good, showing the great progress this band has made in its 11 years of existence.

Overall, the EP -C- is a good release by the band, but is nothing special. The compositions leave me dry for the most part, but the music retains a very subtle quality that shows their love of what they do. The depth and complexity of the music may be lacking, but the band still comes out in the end with an overall decent outing of creative and eclectic prog rock. Although it's not neo-prog through-and-through, the music has some neo qualities, such as the obvious 70s-Genesis-in-an-80s-way that presents itself occasionally on the EP, and various other little tidbits of influence that pops up here and there. In the end, -C- , although not being the greatest EP ever made, is a decent showing for this young Finnish trio. 3- stars.

Review by Rivertree
2 stars This EP definitely has some great moments. Speaking of nice melodies and even an hint to experimental approach. They don't care for any concept or expetation here, I assume. Which implies that the nine featured songs overall sound 'neither fish nor fowl' to me on the other hand. Radiohead references are shimmering through here and there, I can't say that there is much prog essence all the way through.

They start with The Pearl Song - the only snapshot which is kinda fascinating really. There is a synth pop fundament to state somehow, I really like the funky bass lines and the expressive synths though. This song is definitely challenging. Starting with the next one Gone they open a series of mellow pop ballads with charming vocals then. Darkmoor finally brings them back on the more tricky prog track, where you can even detect some mellotron in beween.

While holding many popular elements 'C' seems to be an arbitrary collection of leftovers from diverse recording sessions, close to a singer-songwriter appeal I would say. Musicianship is in place, not bad at all and listenable, yes. But nothing special, I won't promise to come back to this anytime soon - 2.5 stars.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars 5/10

In "C" Nurkostam show talent and promise, but still a strong deal of immaturity.

Nurkostam is a Finnish Art Rock project who back in 2006 released their first EP. The same year as their debut studio album, they publish their second EP, "C". Even though of humble origins and very modest sound recording, (quasi-lo-fi, to be frank), Nurkostam promises a good career, but some things, in order for that to happen, will have to change.

The Art Rock this band plays is very unique, that is unquestionable. Nurkostam have a great sense of melody and are really good songwriters, when they try hard. A lot of the songs here are quite memorable, some times even haunting. The heavy electronics of the drum machine, the arrangements that feel like plastic, and the overall instrumentation are the elements that ruin it. Even if Nurkostam truly wished to deliver a piece of work that was a mix of artificiality and minimalism, it wouldn't have harmed to have some of the sounds polished: the synths are very amateurish sounding, the rhythm section gets close to unbearable in some points, seeming a little uncoordinated, and honestly needless in a few spots. Nurkostam's vision is definitely an interesting one that would potentially be very effective in this reviewer's eyes. But the process of creating an album is like organizing a room's aesthetics: if one's wish is to have strange furniture around, or to make this room as minimalistic looking as possible, it's much more than acceptable, but there still must be some sort of harmony that gives the room a purpose. "C" is far too short and hasty, as if the band quickly laid down some songs, and messily glued them in these twenty eight minutes of space. It can't be denied however that It is packaged in an interesting way, thus the structure itself of the album does feel a bit more studied. Yes, it is undeniably a room with a purpose, but this purpose feels a bit vague and confused.

The sense of melody, again, is very sophisticated, and is the reason why I personally will be looking forward to seeing this band mature: "The Pearl Song", despite the annoying electronic background, has a beautiful melody and very soothing vocals. But the best song of the EP is unquestionably "Slo Lee", because of it's lack of excessive background: mostly acoustically driven, once again the vocals are the best dish. "Gone" is a bit more paranoid and tense sounding, and it is the final episode where useless nuisances are minimal: The drums are sharply played, the atmosphere is tense, the hook brilliant and memorable.

Nurkostam have potential, but there has to be something more to the releases: while the songwriting in itself is really promising, everything that surrounds it can be significantly improved.

Review by Sinusoid
1 stars Released the very same year as III OF DREAMERS, Nurkostam's second attempt at an EP in -C- sees the band regress back to the trappings of their debut EP. The whole EP sounds like a bunch of tracks that were left over from the album proper sessions.

The predominant style that I can pick up on is dreamy indie pop rock with jazz and prog undertones. I listened to this album first overall, but since I've gotten a chronological order to the band's work, I'm more confused than ever before with -C-. III OF DREAMERS showcased a slight potential that Nurkostam might have in prog rock; -C- sounds like an about face with none of the great soundscapes from the proper album. The EP really lacks dynamic performances, and that is a huge disappointment. It's as if the band wanted to play it safe here; there's no risk taking in the music, and that saps the fun out of enjoying this.

I've mentioned before that this was the first thing I've heard from the group. One good thing to do when making an album is not to confuse the listener right away, and that's exactly what happened to me when I first heard ''The Pearl Song''. I really can't describe how this song functions in a musical context, so let me try put my mental visual into writing. The moment I first heard this song, I thought I was watching the menu screen to an NBA game on Super Nintendo. Nurkostam has this habit of tacking an instrumental song at the beginning of their albums, but ''The Pearl Song'' disrupted the fragile nature of the EP before it really began.

It's disappointing when one bad decision buzzkills an entire EP experience. I might be harsh, but the way -C- presents itself, it's hardly recommendable.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Nurkostam is not making it easy for themselves. This mini CD or a mini album..... whatever..... is a mix of most things. It starts off like a funk workout with a very infectious groove. Then we have the vocalist and his rather peculiar vocals. It is a love/loathe type of vocals. I am not so su ... (read more)

Report this review (#496291) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Do not listen to it! Seriously, if you like progressive music, do not listen "-C-" (or ignore my advice and listen to it ... then do not say I did not warn you ...). This EP is one of the most frustrating experiences I've had in recent times. The little faith I had in Nurkostran over. One ... (read more)

Report this review (#493853) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, July 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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