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AQUAPLAN

Prog Folk • Finland


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Aquaplan picture
Aquaplan biography
AQUAPLAN are a new Finnish band who blend prog rock with folk and are somewhat reminiscent of TURQUOISE and MOSTLY AUTUMN. Their idea is to create music that combines prog's challenging structures and time signatures with a bit of jazz, while still retaining the accessibility of pop and the sensitivity of folk. They started as a tribute band covering Frank ZAPPA but soon went on to perform their own material, newly tinted by the smooth vocals of Maarit Saarenkunnas who sings with great feeling. Her voice has been compared to that of Sade or Joni Mitchell at her jazzy best.

Their only album, Paperimeri" (2003), features some light jazz, Celtic, pop as well as smooth, melodious prog and a few other surprises. The soft guitar and keyboard passages together with the rhythmic drums and heavy bass guitar create an intense atmosphere, giving a particularly dynamic power to the music. Saarenkunnas' vocals are mostly Finnish but the few English ones suffer from no noticeable accent. The only drawback is the poor quality of the lyrics themselves (a bit too 'sugary' perhaps); a better writer would certainly bring them to par with the music.

Not essential but a nice find if you're into folk bands such as MOSTLY AUTUMN or TURQUOISE.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Aquaplan official website

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Buy AQUAPLAN Music


PaperimeriPaperimeri
Sound Of Wood Oy
Audio CD$21.23
Old Waves New SeasOld Waves New Seas
Sound Of Wood Oy
Audio CD$21.23

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AQUAPLAN discography


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AQUAPLAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 2 ratings
Paperimeri
2003
3.02 | 4 ratings
Old Waves New Seas
2007

AQUAPLAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AQUAPLAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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AQUAPLAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Paperimeri by AQUAPLAN album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.95 | 2 ratings

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Paperimeri
Aquaplan Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Formed in 1999 in Oulou, Finland, Aquaplan's core was installed by guitarist Ari 'Suti' Sutinen, female singer Maarit Saarenkunnas and drummer Tuomas Erkkilä.The expanded 6-piece original line-up included bassist Ari Kivelä, acoustic guitarist Pasi Korhonen and keyboardist Juha Anttila.After the CDR demo ''Tekee jäljen veden pintaan'' from 2000 Kivelä left to continue a career as double bassist in the Classical Music field, replaced by Trusties bassist Ville Veijalainen.The refreshed Aquaplan recorded the band's official debut ''Paperimeri'', a private CD release from 2003.

The band chose the easy way of Progressive/Art Rock, building the ideas of Sutinen around relatively simple song-based compositions, which however contain a high degree of emotion, atmosphere and sensitivity, akin to bands like IONA, YOU AND I or PAATOS.The very sensitive and crystalline singing in Finnish (with the exception of a couple of tracks) by Maarit Saarenkunnas is combined with relaxed musical themes, characterized by careful electric passages, measured use of background keyboards and a fair dose of acoustic textures.And while the music has a strong poppy feeling at moments, it combines elements from Art Rock, Jazz and Folk in a very accesible way, based on the well-written melodies and the lovely lyrical atmospheres.The long eponymous track though is a very good example of a band writing really demanding material if needed.Elaborate, polished but also adventurous Progressive/Art Rock with extended electric guitars and edgy keyboard work next to more lyrical atmospheric passages.

Really nice debut by Aquaplan and a great discovery for anyone into the more lyrical and accesible side of Progressive Rock.Warmly recommended.

 Old Waves New Seas by AQUAPLAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.02 | 4 ratings

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Old Waves New Seas
Aquaplan Prog Folk

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I found spontaneously the second album of this group from my home country, and listened to their musical heart which I believe pulsing like a light, modern sounding symphonic rock group does. Also some tender neo prog stuff which I have heard came into my mind, along with the record of Hungarian group And You and I. The rhythms and arrangements are quite complex, having some full stops and wild runs to many directions. Some comparisons to other Finnish bands might be Ageness from the more vivid proggy parts of the album, and maybe the record of Open Eye Band.

Though there are more ethereal new-age oriented sequences for synth soundwalls and the voice of Maarit Saarenkunnas, the dominating feeling remains however slightly distant and cool, emphasized by modern sounds, especially present in the drums. In the album's song cycle there are some progressive solutions to be detected. The start and end of the disc are done to a circle form basis. These conceal the four more shorter and accessible tracks in the first sequence, being compositions which are merging to each other quite fluently, making the track changes irrelevant. Latter are two eight minutes passing longer tunes, showing little more the musician's technical talents. The pop-oriented songs with lesser complexities sound quite much like sophisticated and well done late 1980's pop rock to my ears. All songs are written by Ari Sutinen, who is also playing electric guitar and synths. The compositions have quite much musical content, and also some tamer sequences with beautiful melodies counterbalancing the more vivid turmoil phases. The musical skill potential of the group has been properly used and also displayed. Achieving harmony and success arranging all these to pleasant packet must be quite challenging, and I think those aims along with getting a powerful emotional presence to the record weren't totally reached, at least from the viewpoint of my own taste. Also the feeling on the record is slightly dull; Though performers are precise, there doesn't seem to be much passion burning in the music. But if this possibly objective quality doesn't matter, there are very nice moments found here, and I believe the record is a sincere output of the musically talented people who made it. This is always fun, allowing some communication channels to other kind of people's ideas. I liked most the open and free ambiences, and the sweeter and acoustic pop-oriented tracks like "Choose" and "Oridinary Life". Fine compositions and performances certainly, and evoked some further thoughts about music. Though institutional art music elements are interesting, with this record I did not feel they would have brought very much extra value to the end result. From the longer tracks, I believe "Infrequency" is quite nice due impressionism which I prefer, as the form of the song is not very complicated, being more like a constant flow of musical virtuosic outbursts floating with calm jazzy manner.

Thus I took a pilgrim voyage to grand seer, proclaiming a vision revealing those people, to whom this Finnish prog rock album should be recommended; - If you liked Wigwam's "Titan's Wheel" and/or Tasavallan Presidentti's "Take Six", if should you study music theory at university, if you should be "a nearly middle-aged Finnish humanist, who has not been alienated from the society", complete your quest of new CD containing adult oriented intelligent pop-rock, as this record might be a potential candidate for your evenings' listening pleasures -

 Old Waves New Seas by AQUAPLAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.02 | 4 ratings

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Old Waves New Seas
Aquaplan Prog Folk

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars I had (and still have) problems with writing review for this album. More than 3 months since I rated it with 4 stars, I still can't find proper words. So excuse it for being little bit dull, I really don't know about this one. Maybe it's important element in understanding nature of this album, that it confuses me, even

I like it. Not so much, but I do. In certain way, specific occasion and only special mood for it. Because it's quite calm album (you know, sea waves), like a sea. But the question is (because being calm is just a way how to do good music, not content is the important thing) . But just

3(+), because there are things. Bad things. Bad feeling I have about this album. Nothing too clear to know exactly what it is. Maybe that entire album sounds almost the same, or rhymes (really, unpleasant rhymes), but for me, it's average album.

Don't expect more from me about this one, writing this was already torment.

 Old Waves New Seas by AQUAPLAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.02 | 4 ratings

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Old Waves New Seas
Aquaplan Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second album by a Finnish band, this time sung completely in English, unlike their debut Paperimeri. I had this new CD for nearly two months on my shelf of the borrowed CD's before I even re-listened it. Well, the bigger reason for that postponing must be that I've been busy with other albums, but nevertheless... On the first round I remained quite cold to this music - there was something I didn't like, without really being able to put my finger on it - , but the later listenings were whole lot better. Though instead of learning to love the music I figured out what it was that I don't like.

The cover art (sunlight on water) reflects the nature of the music: flowingness, impressionism, richness in little details and the lack of grand gestures or solid structures. Also the lyrics paper has pictures of seashells, shrimps and such. The lyrics themselves don't much deal with oceans. They are not the easiest ones to get hold of; I think they tell something about human behaviour on a psychological and environmental point of view. The music has some folkish touch here and there but not as much as jazz element. Aquaplan have been compared to MOSTLY AUTUMN but certainly they don't have majestic Floydian solos or anything like that. They do have a female voice quite similar to MA's Heather Findlay. Also Sally Oldfield came to my mind (and Liisa Tavi from Finland). Musically Aquaplan has some resemblance with early WIGWAM (albums like Being), or Pekka Pohjola's solo material. Less keyboards perhaps, and more acoustic guitars.

The music is well played and sung, good and harmonic in a very mature way. It never uses cheap tricks to win the listener's heart. In fact, it has a sense of UNDERSTATEMENT. I mean while it keeps having that jazzy floating nature, it never starts flying. No notable contrasts. No solos or visible multi-part structure even in longer (8-9 min) songs. That's the thing I didn't like: it all remains so - how would I put it - introvert. As if no player has the guts to show off a little, to step forward from the ensemble playing. This gets irritating especially when there's no singing for a while. But otherwise, fine album, certainly worth checking out.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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