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Crossover Prog • Finland

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Vesilinja biography
VESILINJA was founded in Tuusula, Finland late 2017 by Aake SALMI and Niko SAARINEN following the disbanding of their previous group. The idea at first was continue as a duo with a drum synthesizer and focus on studio work only. This period yielded the singles "Prisma" and "Vaihtoehto järjelle", both of which were subsequently included in their debut album, albeit somewhat rearranged.

During the spring and summer of 2018 the duo felt that they needed to work as a full band again, and recruited Jukka KUUSELA to play bass guitar and Jussi Portaanpää to play drums. Another guitarist was also sought, but a suitable candidate was not found at the time. A couple of songs were written and demoed during this period, notably "Aamulla".

In early 2019 Topias AHOLA joined the band to play saxophone and also sing lead and backing vocals. The song "Heinäkuorma" was written soon after Topias' addition, and was followed by "Valtias" a couple of months later.

Up until the fall of 2019 the band had rehearsed in an old barn owned by Aake's father in Sipoo. As the rehearsal room there became too crowded the band decided to rent a former grocery store in Tuusula to build a home studio / rehearsal room. The group started to record their debut album there in late 2019. The singles "Aamulla" and "Heinäkuorma" were released in the spring of 2020, and the recording process was finished in late 2020, with the release date being set for the summer of 2021.

Soon after the recording was finished Antti TUOMINEN joined the band to play lead guitar and sing lead and backing vocals. Though he did not contribute to the debut album, he will feature on the following one.

The band's influences include (in no particular order): Jethro Tull, Wigwam, Yes, Genesis, Tasavallan Presidentti, Caravan, Camel, Focus, Gentle Giant, Session, Rölli, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, ELP, Haikara, Tabula Rasa, Rush, King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, Kingston Wall & PFM.

: : : David (yam yam), UK : : :

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3.92 | 5 ratings

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 Vesilinja by VESILINJA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.92 | 5 ratings

Vesilinja Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the brand new debut album of VESILINJA, a retro-minded prog band from Tuusula, Southern Finland. The name means literally "water line". The founding member Aake Salmi kindly told me some background for the name: "Starting as a duo of myself and Niko Saarinen, we made up this name referring to our water-themed surnames ['salmi' = strait; 'saari' = island]. In addition, neither of us are heavy consumers of alcohol. The name can also refer to our musical lines drawn in water, so to speak."

The 45-minute debut seems to be a real labour of love as a pure 70's-oriented prog album. The influences include the Finnish prog legends TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI, WIGWAM, TABULA RASA and HAIKARA, and various classic prog acts such as JETHRO TULL, YES, CAMEL, VdGG and KING CRIMSON in their 70's prime. Any modern characteristics in music are indeed pretty absent. All six songs, three on each vinyl side, have lyrics in Finnish. The opening track has a Tull-like flute and lively rhythm. I hear also the Pressa influence when saxophone joins in the hectic instrumental section. The vocal-included parts of 'Heinäkuorma' (= Burden of Hay) are in a calmer tempo. I especially like the moment around 5:40 where the fast instrumental jazz-rock section ethereally calms down. 'Vaihtoehto järjelle' (= Alternative for Reason) combines hectic jazz-rock/prog with lots of sax & flute, and more melodic vocal sections. The vinyl's second side is not radically different, being equally strong.

Guitarist-flautist Salmi and saxophonist Topias Ahola (the latter sings main vocals on two tracks) are rather same sounding as vocalists. Gracefully they are not as weak singers as Haikara's Vesa Lattunen, but sort of commonplace the same way. They do the vocal duties well enough while the emphasis is gratifyingly on the inspired, organic playing. The band sound is always flourishing and fairly democratic. Reeds, guitars and vintage keyboards primarily share the mutual joy of playing with a live-like feel and energy, adding passionate solos on right moments. This is the album's strength, but perhaps its weakness too: none of the six songs is notably different from each other. Instead of clearly having different things such as big epics vs. short ones, emotionally oriented melodic pieces vs. tight prog energy, all- instrumentals vs. vocal songs, etc., these features are well stirred on all tracks. This is why the album whole is not as fresh and exciting as I'd hope it to be.

Vesilinja is warmly recommended especially for enthusiasts of the 70's Finnish prog with a jazz-rock orientation. Hopefully the band will find a slightly more unique voice of their own. A gorgeous debut nevertheless. 3½ stars rounded up for a fine artwork, also courtesy of the band itself.

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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