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Utopianisti The Third Frontier album cover
4.02 | 128 ratings | 3 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Voodoo Mammoths from Neptune (4:25)
2. Dr. Gravity's Evil Plan (4:01)
3. Universe for Dummies (5:52)
4. White Dwarf (1:24)
5. Life as We Thought We Knew It (4:56)
6. A Hundred Rabbits (5:02)
7. Spanking Season (2:33)
8. 13 Demons in the Disco Dimension (3:14)
9. The Last Reflection (7:00)

Total Time 38:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Olli "Trumpenator" Helin / trumpet
- Markus Pajakkala / saxophones, flutes, clarinets, additional keyboards & percussion
- Antero Mentu / guitars
- Anssi Solismaa / keyboards
- Jaakko Luoma / bass
- Tuomas Marttila / marimba, percussion
- Rolf Pilve / drums

- Suvi Väyrynen / vocals (3,6,9)
- Pharaoh Pirttikangas / vocals (7)

Releases information

Label: Pohjola Records / Rockadillo Records
Format: CD, Digital
May 27, 2016

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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UTOPIANISTI The Third Frontier ratings distribution

(128 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

UTOPIANISTI The Third Frontier reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
5 stars UTOPIANISTI is a Finnish act led by composer and sax /flute /clarinet /additional keyboards & percussion player Markus Pajakkala. The albums No. 1 and 2 were quite patchy, all-over-the-place kind of works in which the musicians varied almost from track to track. In 2014 Utopianisti grew from a recording project into a stable live band and started the real action with a successful Mexican tour. I myself have also witnessed the group's cheerul energy in their hometown Tampere last year. It is evident that this third album benefits from the tight band, and it was even recorded mostly as a live in the studio except for some instruments and solos. All material is new on this 38½-minute album that is a whole lot more focused set of complex jazz- rock.

Pajakkala tells in the publisher's info sheet how he wants to bring together all things he loves in music: the overwhelming energy, tight combo playing, instrumental acrobatics, challenging harmonies, influences from especially FRANK ZAPPA and PEKKA POHJOLA, wild groove, the search for beauty from unexpected places and so on, but at the same time staying away from self- indulgent difficulty. He's truly succeeded in his goals. Must say that the preceding albums contain some hilarious stuff I'm not so fond of, underlining the will to be humorous. Now all nine tracks grow from a very solid musical substance and I enjoy them all, with one exception though: 'Spanking Season' features quite brutal vocals by Pharaoh Pirttikangas and I always skip that brief track.

Female voice (of Suvi Väyrynen) colours three tracks nicely. My clear favourite is 'The Last Reflection' that features the vocalese element and operates on the more emotional side than several uptempo tracks full of rhythmic complexity. I'm proud to say that the man I've changed few words with makes fantastic and excellently played music that any lover of fusion by Zappa, Pekka Pohjola, PASSPORT etc. from all over the globe will find deeply gratifying. Although it's not a perfect album, and also it could be a bit longer, I believe now is an appropriate time to use the rare full rating. Remember the name UTOPIANISTI!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The next (third) album from the incredibly talented Finnish avant jazz composer/bandleader, Markus Pajakkala. I find myself liking this album much better than the previous albums because of it's conhesive flow. On II each and every song sounded and felt so different--which makes a lot of sense considering the use of completely different musicians on each and every song. Also, the increased presence of the operatic vocalization of female vocalist Suvi Väyrynen (on three songs) gives the album a bit of a Zeuhl (UNIVERSAL TOEM ORCHESTRA) or Canterbury (AMANDA PARSONS, ELIZABETH GASKIN and THE NORTHETTES) flavor--which I love. I just think Markus has probably matured, clarified his vision, and polishing his songs as well or even better than before (he has always shown impeccable attention to detail in the engineering room).

1. "Voodoo Mammoths From Neptune" (4:25) has such clarity in its sound production! It is an odd, cinematic piece with a nicely extended introductory section which allows the listener to get hooked in for the ride. Simply stunning sound! (9/10) 2. "Dr. Gravity's Evil Plan" (4:01) treads more into cinematic jazz like a good spy thriller--or a spoof of a whodunnit. Great ensemble timing opens before multiple trumpets are given solo lines--at the same time! At the end of the second minute some nice organ play bridges into the next section. (Again, the clarity of sound distinction is remarkable!) Awesome organ play gives way to flute while the background ensemble keeps things so tightly glued together! How Markus gets this kind of collaboration from his band is remarkable! Awesome, simple bass line near the forefront holds it all together so well. (10/10)

3. "Universe For Dummies" (5:52) opens with some staccato arpeggi from the electric bass before the wonderful vocalise of Suvi Väyrynen betrays the composer's Canterbury intentions. Great weave of some quite disparate threads--like from horns, vibraphone and electric guitar--breaks into full force at the one minute mark. Very much like a song from INNER EAR BRIGADE. Great soli (and from some odd instrumental choices/sounds) parade around the foreground while bass and organ continue tip-toeing around with the foundational bob and weave. Truly an astounding song! (10/10)

4. "White Dwarf" (1:24) slows things down as an electric piano (Rhodes?) solos slowly before being joined by reed instruments. Cool sound! (9/10)

5. "Life As We Thought We Knew It" (4:55) opens with a metronomic electric piano riff which is built upon by horns, vibes, guitars and cymbals. Very pretty. At 1:32 the volume turns up though the play of the horn section gives it all a kind of CHICAGO feel--if however briefly. At 2:38 things get more serious. This could be right off of FROGG CAFÉ's 2010 classic, The Bateless Edge (which makes me beg for the presence of some lyrics--like "Terra Sancta"). Nice song! (9/10)

6. "A Hundred Rabbits" (5:03) opens with a little funk coming from the rhythm section of bass, drums, congas, vibes and clavinet. These are shortly joined by horns and woodwinds and, a bit later, the synth-horn-like vocalizations of Suvi. Things are toned down a bit toward the end of the second minute to allow for the isolation of a flute solo. HUBERT LAWS would be proud! A little bass solo bridges our way into a protracted solo from a seething electric guitar. HENDRIX would be proud! Awesomely woven into the funky horns until it finally fades away into the background so that Suvi and the horns can take us out. Awesome song! (10/10)

7. "Spanking Season" (2:33) the first song I heard from the album has vocals! Odd, cabaret-like vocals--not unlike the stylings of HUMBLE GRUMBLE, PINGVINORKESTERN, KNIFEWORLD or MAJOR PARKINSON. Fun, funny, laughable and eminently clever song! Great solo from a 'Space Invaders' synthesizer toward the end. (9/10)

8. "13 Demons In The Disco Dimension" (3:12) opens with some odd radio clip before a campy melody and odd time rhythm establish a kind of Zappa-esque envirnoment--sophisticated, highly disciplined, and sleek. Not my favorite song but I truly respect and understand it. (8/10)

9. "The Last Reflection" (7:00) Has a bluesy soul and proggy feel to it, as the whole band seems to ride as one wave while the drums are free to play beneath! The delicate part in the fourth minute which opens up space for the vocalise soloations of the gorgeous voice of Suvi Väyrynen is perfection! Great restraint is shown throughout this song from both the composer and his musicians. Even the climax starting at 5:15 shows great emotion and sympathetic feel from all: horns, bass, drums, organ, electric guitar--I can really feel it from all of them! Amazing! (10/10)

All in all, Markus Pajakkala has packaged together a masterpiece of incredibly well contrived and well executed theatric jazz. Consistently, this is one of the best ensemble performances of very sophisticated music that I've heard in a while. Definitely one of the funnest albums of the year (so far).

Five stars; a true masterpiece of progressive music.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Third time is a charm for UTOPIANISTI as they reach the pinnacle of their creative energies on THE THIRD FRONTIER. Once again band leader and head honcho Markus Pajakkala seeks out another cast of musical talent for a whole new jazz-rock fusion experience that reels the listener in with heavy horn-laden hooks and groovy driving percussive rhythms and delivers a sonic splendorous jazzy journey through the jungles of sound. While the previous album had a whopping 31 musicians and vocalists clogging up every possible nanosecond of the album, this one was trimmed down to a mere 7 instrumentalists and two additional vocalists. While the other albums were self released this one found a home on the Pohjola Records label, former label of none other than the legend Pekka Pohjola himself. THE THIRD FRONTIER refines all of the ideas, compositional styles and genre blending to perfection. One of the reasons this album works so well is that much of the material was played live previously allowing the band members to simmer the material down into a scrumptious consummation of content. Gone is the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach and instead we have a perfectly balanced jazz-rock fusion album that still channels the zeitgeist of classic 70s fusion while remaining steadfastly contemporary replete with outstanding musicianship crafted with crystal clear production and mixing. The musicians on THE THIRD FRONTIER basically recorded this album live in a cabin by a lake in the Finnish countryside where they were all entrenched in the charms of their own personal Rancho Relaxo where they ate good food and hit the sauna before bed time. It sounds like my kind of party actually :)

After a psychedelic sounding intro the feisty cover depicting title "Voodoo Mammoths From Neptune" showcases the first seductive swanky sax groove that gently beckons the guitars, keys and bass in a game of tug-of-war to see who can carry the melodic development in a pass the torch kinda way. This whimsical Canterbury styled jazz-rock scene is only one of many jazz styles on display at the Pajakkala sonic museum of jazz-rock. While swing is in no short supply on the album, its dance with psychedelic organ runs on "Dr. Gravity's Evil Plan" is just divinely delicious as the saxes, flutes and clarinets slowly ratchet up the tension to a climax that once dropped brings a fuzz guitar and bass out of the murky din to expose a most satisfying heavy psychedelic rock underpinning. While Canterbury whimsical titles are the name of the game on THE THIRD FRONTIER, further references to the greats like Hatfield and the North come fully into play with the erratic tinkling keyboards on "Universe For Dummies" that also showcases the angelic diva Suvi Väyrynen doing her best Amanda Parsons and adding an extra dimension to the track that takes the wild and groovy bass and drums culminating with a tasty guitar solo in the clouds and above. The following short track follows the Hatfield and the North theme with Dave Stewart inspired keyboards on "White Dwarf" that basically serves as an intro for the next track.

"Life As We Thought We Knew It" gracefully ratchets up the Canterbury styled jazz-rock with psychedelic touches and remains reserved in the tempo as it simply creeps along with oddly shaped time signatures punctuating a rather sparse canvass as the dominate bass and drum groove allows the swing style horn section to blurt out the recurring melody. "A Hundred Rabbits" on the other hand heads into funk rock territory as the bass and guitar deliver the solid rhythmic background with Latin-jazz flavored percussion and a sultry sax sizzling around every musical curve with Suvi Väyrynen once again joining again with her over-the-top siren vocals sending the track into heavenly bliss territory. "Spanking Season" picks up the steam with an avant-jazz-blues groove with a great Captain Beefheart vocal impression by Pharaoh Pirttikangas and is a sequel to the track on Utopianisti II but has different vocals and different musical parts even though it has similar riffs."13 Demons In The Disco Dimension" is my favorite track on the album with a groovin' synth funk basis and hard driving rhythm and addictive melody including vibraphone and marimba that includes the most dazzling guitar solo i've heard on a jazz-fusion album since John McLaughlin dazzled the world in his Mahavishnu Orchestra as Antero Mentu delivers one of the most off-kilter stylistic guitar solos i've heard in a long time. The album closes with the more subdued closer "The Last Reflection" that ends the album with the listener gently coming down from the jazz-fusion heavens and delivered back to Earth in a mellow mint-under-your-sleepy-time-pillow sort of way.

I can understand why some jazz-fusionists may not find this appealing. UTOPIANISTI is all about groovy, catchy melodic rhythmic developments that swing and allow a whole series of instrumental interactions to reach their full potential and may even find it slightly over-calculated in how slick it's all pulled off. I, on the other hand, LOOOOOVE this album and find it to be sheer perfection for what is intended. The grooves and hooks are instantly addictive. The complexities of instrument interplay add layers of sonic tension and there are just enough progressive twists and turns carefully laid out in the right places to make this one extremely satisfying experience. As with the previous two releases, if crazy psychedelic reality distorting jazz-fusion is what you're craving then this won't fill the bill. If you crave a warm and welcoming swinging sultry good time of seasoned musicians having the time of their lives making great music together at a cabin on a lake and creating a diverse palette of retro meets contemporary, then this will not disappoint. Every track on here is carefully crafted and polished to perfection. I can't seem to get enough of this one lately.

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