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Tai Shan

Crossover Prog

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Tai Shan Iceflower album cover
3.48 | 20 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

01. Highlands (6:24)
02. Red Light Fusion Boots From California (4:56)
03. Above The Ground (5:21)
04. After Rain (6:52)
05. Sudden Change In (4:25)
06. Rio Del Olvido (7:48)
07. Seven Minds (7:32)
08. Expedition (4:27)
09. What Remains After (6:15)
10. Iceflower (7:10)

Line-up / Musicians

Janne Särkelä - Guitar, guitar synthesizer
Markus Jakola - Keyboards, synthesizers
Janne Jakola - Bass, Percussion
Jorma Tabell - Drums, Percussion

Releases information

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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TAI SHAN Iceflower ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TAI SHAN Iceflower reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
3 stars This is a great little instrumental album from Tai Shan of FInland. It is quite different from most instrumental albums, as it doesn't seek to impress with bombast, riffing, or technique. Instead, it presents a wonderful mix of symphonic prog combined with a little neo-prog and jazz.

The musical is well-composed, and performed very well. While I want to give this album a better rating, I can't help but feel a little complacent about it, though. The first nine tracks are nice, but not much else. They are well done, even beautiful. Yet, they are just kind of...there.

The final track on the album, the title track "Iceflower", is a completely different story. It represents the perfect fusion of all the elements that Tai Shan wished to include in their music. Everything comes together, and we get great keys, some awesome sax solos, flutes, and a wonderful symphonic rock atmosphere. It is one of the better tracks I've heard this year!

Like I said, this album is nice. It's pretty and done well, but nothing new or spectacular really happens. "Iceflower" is the one exception, however, as all the elements combine perfect here. Good? Yes. Essential or even great? Besides the final track, no.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Tai Shan from land of 1000 lakes is an unfairly unknown prog/jazz rock band with two albums under their belt so far. I was really impressed by their second offer released this year named Iceflower. Very strong musicianship and quite intresting and memorable arrangements overall. All album is instrumental and I'm saying with my hand on heart this is one of the top al;bums of the year for me, really awesome band work. The album beggins with the kick ass tune Highlands, 6 min of pure magic for me, the keyboards, the guitar , drums, bass lines are top notch, very strong piece who sets the mood for the entire album.Janne S'rkel' the guitarist really knew to compose a great inspired tune. Is up tempo with nice shifting passages where the keybords and guiatar are well balanced and alternated in great manner. Another highlights are After Rain, another worthy example of prog meets jazz rock , the result is quite excellent to my ears, specially the guitar is impressive, nice atmosphere with a scandinavian feel, lots of twists and tempo changes. Seven minds and the title track are another worthy listning. All in all the album really smokes, is not overly complex to get bored, is not simple to be almost mainstream, is fairly decent with plenty of memorable and colorful soundscapes. For me easy 4 stars, one of the better albums of this year for sure. And as a bonus notice, Janne Jakola the bass player is the son of the keybordist Markus Jakola, both making an excellent performance here. Very underrated band.

Review by Matti
3 stars This is the second album by the Finnish instrumental quartet (from Kemijärvi, Lapland). The music operates on the borders of the progressive rock genre, it's more like easy-going jazz-rock/fusion, keyboards and guitar being in the central roles. Composing credits are shared mostly by key-player Markus Jakola and guitarist Janne Särkelä, but also Jakola's bass-playing son Janne has given his contribution. At least at the first listenings it's hard to spot big differences between them as composers. Hopefully further listenings reveal more variety, because I do get a feeling of thinness and monotony on the emotional aspect.

Many tracks have a laid-back groove with a slight funkiness. The gifted musicians seem to sincerely enjoy playing and that's always important too. It also can't be said that any of the tracks would be without nice solos and changes in dynamics and tempo. Especially the keyboards often have an enjoyable airiness. But perhaps something is missing and I can't exactly put my finger on it. "Nice, not much else", like another reviewer here has said. Considering that the album is over one hour in length, the feeling of sameness begins to be a bit disturbing. Happily the closing number 'Ice Flower' is the unquestionable highlight. Emotionally it's richer than any of the other nine tracks.

Here and there the melodic, light, jazz-oriented fusion reminds me of MIST SEASON (also from Finland) which band however have clearly richer arrangements - featuring reeds - and more variety in composing too. As a quartet Tai Shan is technically very good and it's not completely fair to compare them to a larger and more experienced group. On the other hand, that comparison can be taken positively. Does this music sound recognizingly Finnish - or Scandinavian? Well, not very much in my opinion. I believe especially in America there are several jazz/fusion groups with more or less similar approach. Certainly a nice, finely produced album suitable for relaxed background listening, but maybe a bit unexciting from the prog rock's point of view.

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