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Pekka Pohjola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Pekka Pohjola Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva album cover
4.18 | 105 ratings | 13 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Metsonpeliä - Capercaillie Games (10:33)
2. Virtojen Kiharat - Curls of Streams (5:28)
3. Armoton Idylli - Merciless Idyll (3:47)
4. Nipistys - Pinch (3:32)
5. Valittaja - Complainer (10:22)

Total Time 33:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Pekka Pohjola / piano, bass, violin, organ (5), arrangements

- Jukka Gustavson / organ, piano (4)
- Risto Pensola / clarinet
- Pekka Pöyry / flute, soprano sax
- Reino Laine / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Mats Huldén

LP Love Records ‎- LRLP 71 (1972, Finland)
LP Svart Records ‎- SVR321 (2015, Finland)

CD Love Records ‎- LRCD 71 (2002, Finland) 24-bit remaster by Pauli Saastamoinen

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PEKKA POHJOLA Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva ratings distribution

(105 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

PEKKA POHJOLA Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Jimbo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While many seem to think of this debut as a rather mediocre effort (in Pohjola's standards), I truly believe it is his second best album, after the brilliant Harakka Bialoipokku. Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva was my introduction to Pohjola, and thus has some nostalgic values as well. That is not the reason why I rate this album so highly, though. It is amazing how coherent this album is, considering the age of the main performer. Pohjola, still a member of Wigwam at this time, did this album at the age of 20. I'm fully aware of the fact that this is not the most original album to walk the face of earth - The Zappa-esque leanings are quite evident, but the indisputable quality of the compositions here still manages to stun me. Admittedly, Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva is hardly flawless. The album opener "Metsonpeliä" starts promisingly enough, but soon becomes rather tedious when we have to listen to Pohjola's bass solo for five minutes. He's a fine bassist, no doubt, but this part of the song seems rather pointless, if you ask me. The classical leanings are strong, especially if you listen to the pianos - which are one of the main instruments here. The compositions are full of subtle, little details that'll surprise you time after time. While the music is complex, it becomes surprisingly catchy and easy on the ears by the time you've listened to this album for the 5-10th time. The only thing that slightly bothers me about this album, is "Nipistys". Now, don't get me wrong, it is one of my favorite Pohjola compositions, but the version here is much inferior to the one Wigwam used to play on their gigs. In many ways, this is Pohjola's most complex and ambitious album. It is not a success in every level, but it is a mightily fine effort from one of the pioneers of Finnish progressive music. Strongly recommended to anyone interested in the jazzy side of prog. For those who've heard Pohjola's compositions in Wigwam - if you liked those, I bet you'll love this one. I know I do. 4,5 stars!
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars If I was to make separate rating for each side of this vinyl , the first very classicaly oriented tracks would get 2* and the second much more jazzy-rock-fusion-classical would get 4*. The first track is marred by a too long boring drum-bass solo in the modern classical style (Faure-Boulez) and the music is rather direction-less. The real treat is the last two tracks (merged into one on CD) that are much more energetic and show that Pohjola was one of the leading bassist (he was in the Wigwam/Tasallavan Presidentii crowd) of Scandinavia and his style is very much as Jefferson Airplane's Jack Casady. The long improvisation pieces is simply riveting to your seat and when hearing the piano and the organ making superb interplay , one could almost say that this alone is worth the price of admission , but this is not indispensible to your collection. Hence the 3 star rating.
Review by Progbear
3 stars Pohjola's debut album, recorded while he was still a member of Wigwam, shows him still feeling the space and discovering his unique voice. He wears his influences on his sleeve, particularly instrumental Zappa, on his sleeve here more than anywhere else.

That said, it's still a relatively strong album. "Nipistys" is probably the best-known track here, which was performed live with Wigwam at the time. Here it's paired with the airy, organic "Valittaja". Already, Pohjola's predilection for massing wind instruments to orchestrate surfaces here, albeit in a more modest form, with only Risto Rensola and the late, great Pekka Pöyry along for the ride.

I recommend getting the 2-on-1 with his excellent second album, HARAKKA BIALOIPOKKU. This particular album is straighter jazz-fusion, with little hint of the orchestral majesty of his later work. And yet, it still sounds like a Pekka Pohjola album, albeit in embryonic form. Recommended, but not as a starter album.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Late Pekka Pohjola's debut album stands for me as the ultimate highlight among Wigwam member's solo recordings, and also a stylistic peak on his own solo career. Though the later recordings have certainly their merits, I was blown away by the energies of this iconic outburst of young talent's furious bass guitar assault. Virtuosic skills are ruthlessly displayed like capercaillie males do on their fight for proprietary rights for the females. Composed jazz-sequences are contrasted with more open improvisational spaces. Pekka's classical music education is implemented on the currents of more tender keyboard and violin driven curls, and traditional folk music is also blended to the stylistic palette. This very fine album culminates in my ears to the entity of two long tracks, which were partly also on Wigwam's live repertoire. There are some wah-wah treated bass licks, and very sensual movements evolving to ecstatic bass guitar solos on freeform musical interplay phases. I hope this record would be reissued on vinyl, as wonderful it is, have not found it with reasonable price yet. I also guess the album might not be most interesting from global perspective, locating more to the local progressive rock scene of 1970's Finland. As instrumental I think it is anyway internationally accessible.
Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Sometimes art appreciation takes awhile. It requires time for that strange and mysterious process of intake, digestion and impact to occur when something new, especially music, demands attention from our senses. If we're lucky, the result is worth the mental and physical investment. Other times we remain unimpressed or, at best, respectful. But what happens in that period? What transformation takes place that allows a renewed perception and even appreciation of fresh ideas? The music is still the same, so it must be some shift in us.

Multi-instrumentalist Pekka Pohjola's first album reflects this phenomenon well. An extraordinary combination of modern chamber music, hot jazz, distinctive European prog rock and a bold spirit that, for 1972, approaches avant-garde. The Finn and a hearty bunch of players on winds, drums and keys make a music that may seem scattered or 'jammy' on the surface but if sat with, Pihkasilma kaarnakorva reveals itself to be a powerful and refined prog treasure house. Intricate and thoughtful angles, driving pulses, unforeseen mutations, all with Pohjola's firm but sensitive direction move this set forward starting with 10-minute 'Metsonpelia' and Pekka's hot walking, hard-bopping bass lines. Twisting metrics between his piano, Risto Pensola's clarinet and Jukka Gustavson's organ-grind followed by a longwinded drums/bass exchange, the piece finishing as strongly as it began. 'Virtojen Kiharat' jazzrocks big time, filled with beautiful, haunting organ scurls and melodic changelings. The playful 'Armoton Idylli' swings, clangs, dances and Klezmers the house down. And 'Nipistys/Valittaja' is a glorious twelve-minute gargantuan that rivals almost anything Gentle Giant ever did as it gradually builds into a tumbling prog snowball of great moments closed by a nifty little organ epilogue.

I do not give this album five stars because it's perfect. It isn't. But it is - and by any estimation must have been - a prog rock masterpiece. Look-- If Daniel Denis and Michel Berckmans had kidnapped Keith Emerson during the Tarkus recordings and forced him with one of his own daggers to play with them, you might've gotten something like this.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Sadly Pekka passed away not even 2 months ago (Nov. / 08) but thankfully we have his music to remind us of how talented he was. Actually Frank Zappa asked Pekka to come over to the U.S.A. to tour with him one year, and you know Zappa will only play with the best. Of course Pekka is more well known for his bass work in WIGWAM, perhaps Finland's most influential band.This is his first solo album and it was recorded in 1972 the year after "Fairyport" was released. Pekka has WIGWAM's own keyboard prodigy Jukka Gustavson helping him out as well as a drummer, sax / flute player and a clarinet player. Besides playing bass Pekka plays piano, violin and some organ on the final track. I was surprised at the symphonic passages on this album, it really didn't sound like I thought it would.

"Capercaillie Games" is the almost 11 minute opener and the longest track on here. It opens with a sax blast then suddenly there is this collage of sounds. So much going on and so intricate.This is very symphonic.The sax is often leading the way and then we get a calm before 3 minutes as light drums and bass take over. They continue until 8 1/2 minutes in, probably too long although it gets better towards the end of that passage. When that symphonic soundscape returns it sounds fantastic ! "Curls Of Steams" opens with piano as organ joins in followed by a great rhythm. The organ and bass are prominant. Sax and clarinet after 1 1/2 minutes. It kicks back in before 2 1/2 minutes as the song continues to shift gears on us. Violin before 4 minutes then it's the organ's turn as the bass throbs. A very proggy song.

"Merciless Idyll" has this catchy rhythm throughout as the clarinet plays over top. "Pinch" is led by sax and drums early. Piano and violin comes in although the sax dominates here. Great sound. "Complainer" opens with piano before the bass starts to take over after a minute. It's deep and snarly just the way I like it. The organ floats in before 3 minutes as the song continues to build until it kicks in at 5 1/2 minutes. Amazing sound as they seem to jam without restraint. It's not often that i've been moved emotionally by someone's bass playing but I alm here. It calms down before the organ comes in to end it.

Hard to believe that Pekka was only 20 years old at this time. Just an incredible release from this influential bass player. Easily 4 stars.

Review by Tom Ozric
5 stars I am deeply indebted to the 'reviewer-formerly-known-as-Sinkadotentree' (Mellotron Storm ! ) for pointing me in the direction of this amazing album a while back. After his review, I managed to track down a vinyl of this 'Pihkasilma Kaarnakorva'. It wasn't cheap. Up until a few of years ago I only knew of WIGWAM by name. Pekka Pohjola was the Bassist of this band, one of Finland's most famous exponents of 70's Prog-Rock. The music on this album blew me away from its opening - first thoughts of the mood of the album that occured to me were - HENRY COW, Canterbury, ZAPPA, and some R.I.O. bands (which I often find have a Canterburian twist to them) as well as a Jazzy/Fusiony attack. The compositions are very complex, involved and highly arranged. Those who focus on tremendous Bass-Guitaring really ought to check this one out. Pekka's Bass skills are equally as good as, say, Chris Squire - if not more advanced, given that it predates these amazing performers - those of Jeff Berlin, Jaco Pastorius, Percy Jones - the usual 70's suspects.... and his taste for arrangement and composition are 2nd to none. His choice of backing musicians includes his Wigwam Keyboardist cohort Jukka Gustavson, as well as some woodwind players and a drummer. Rather than ramble on about the 5 pieces on this album, I have to say that the quality doesn't dip during its short, under-34 minute offering, but mention of the absolute precious highlight goes to the 10min + 'Valittaja' (Complainer) which features an amazing bass-oriented jam where Pekka uses plenty of grungey Wah-Wah bass, alongside a blissful piano and organ dominated backing. Pekka performs a tasteful Hammond section to round off the piece. Amazing album.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars First of all this is a great album. Pekka Pohjola, even if extremely skilled was not self-indulgent as many "monsters" are, so the tracks don't contain so much bass as one could expect, except for the closer "Valittaja" that's quite a masterpiece and contains also a long organ solo with a quasi-classical arrangement

It's a debut album, but from an artist who were already having a career with the Finnish band Wigwam, so everything but a newbie.

There's a lot of jazz but the progressive element is always present and evident. For those who already know his most famous "Mathematical Air Display", this is not much different. The sounds used are similar, but this album is more jazz-oriented.

A mention goes to Pekka's skill as violinist, too. Violin can be heard at the and of Valittaja and on "Virtoen Kharat", a track this with an incredible piano performance.

This is an extremely pleasant album even for who is not familiar with jazz and fusion. Also in the most eclectic moments the music is not too challenging for the listener and personally I can say that it transmits me a sense of joy.

The only defect of this album is its length. A little more than 30 minutes, but each of them is good. There are no weak moments at all.

Is it a masterpiece? In its genre it is!

Review by Warthur
4 stars Pekka Pohjola's debut solo album is a technically and compositionally adept tribute to Frank Zappa, one of Pohjola's great musical heroes. Not explicitly, of course, but there's no mistaking that Pohjola on this album is following the fusion blueprint Zappa established on Hot Rats and using it as the basis of his own work. And it's pretty excellent work too - Pohjola's bass playing is of course a highlight, but all the instrumentalists get their chance in the spotlight. Although some of the compositions do outstay their welcome a little - only to be expected when Pohjola also had a fairly prolific career with Wigwam at the time and had to split his ideas between solo albums and Wigwam albums - by and large this is a great contribution to the Zappa-influenced side of the fusion genre, though it doesn't quite match the stature of Hot Rats.
Review by Matti
4 stars Pekka Pohjola was still a member of WIGWAM when he started his solo carer with this album. It has deservedly gained a classic status in Finnish Fusion, and internationally it is something charmingly unique. Featuring Jukka Gustavson of Wigwam, the soundscape has a lot of organ, but not any fast and furious one you hear in prog. I think this music has a very forest-like atmosphere. Other instruments include clarinet, soprano saxophone and flute, plus violin (by Pekka).

The biggest fault is the shortness of the album, but of course the quality comes before quantity. Pekka Pohjola's melodic and introspective musical identity has its recognizable trademarks here in the most beautiful and economical manner, and compared to his later albums featuring less organ and more brass and guitar, this one simply sounds better and more progressive. A great start for one of the most notable musicians in Finnish rock and jazz scene. Recommended warmly to fans of Finnish Fusion and early Wigwam to which this has a close relation.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Perhaps best known as the bassist for one of Finland's most famous progressive rock bands of the 70s, namely Wigwam, PEKKA POHJOLA has earned a stellar reputation as quite an accomplished solo artist as well. On his only solo album recorded and released while still in Wigwam he unleashes all his solo desires and delivers some of the most demanding and intricate jazz fusion that all of Europe had to offer in 1972.

PIHKASILMÄ KAARNAKORVA (Resin Eye Of The Bark On The Ear) shows PEKKA's classical music study along with his Frank Zappa influences commingling in some seriously infectious jazz-fusion. Word has it that Zappa was so impressed with PEKKA's talents that he sought him out to recruit into the Zappa universe but wasn't meant to be.

While PIHKASILMÄ KAARNAKORVA certainly has a early 70s Zappa influence strongly dictating musical composition it is not just a tribute album. There are all kinds of interesting developments on here that keep it fresh and original. Also from Wigwam, Jukka Gustavson lends his keyboard talents. This is really difficult music to describe without getting all technical on ya. Even beyond my vocabulary and understanding. This sounds like very precise and technical music but it doesn't alienate the casual listen.

This is jazz-fusion that has hooks and logical developments. The mixing of the violins, piano, organs, drums, clarinets, sax and flutes with PEKKA's outstanding bass playing is top notch and is a pleasant listen from beginning to end. Unfortunately PEKKA's music can be hard to find and is even to this day still fairly obscure and unknown outside of prog circles and his native land of Finland. That is a true shame for he was talent who left this planet way too young (died of alcoholism at the age of 56). Excellent debut album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Perfect jazzrockfusion with hints of symphonic prog and folk. This is a solo-album by a bassplayer, so you can expect some extended bass-soloiing, but it's never tedious or boring, because the drums/percussion accompanies it. Of course there's also a lot of organ and violinplaying by Pekka, wich is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1874552) | Posted by Kingsnake | Sunday, February 11, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While still in Wigwam, Pohjola decided to make this jazzy solo album. In some ways the compositions are similar to Wigwam, after all Pohjola contributed a good deal to 3 of their proggiest albums. The main difference between this and Wigwam is the lack of any poppy hooks. Jukka Gustavson even cont ... (read more)

Report this review (#132245) | Posted by Salviaal | Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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