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NOVA

Eclectic Prog • Finland


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Nova biography
NOVA was formed in early 1975 in Helsinki. Most of the band members had played together earlier in a band called ISOJAKO, which apparently played more pop-orientated music. From the start, NOVA's main figure was Antti Ortamo who was the main composer, lyricist and also played keyboards and sang for the band. In february 1976 NOVA started recording their debut "Atlantis" in Stockholm, Sweden. The music on this album will probably remind you of PINK FLOYD, PROCOL HARUM, WIGWAM, perhaps even ELOY and YES at times. It's not the most innovative album to walk the earth, but it's a nice effort full of warm keyboard sounds and atmospheres.

Unfortunately, the decline of prog had already started and "Atlantis" didn't sell very well. The band had difficulties getting gigs, which ultimately lead do the destruction of the group. They disbanded after making only one album. Recommended, if you enjoy the bands mentioned earlier, but it's not a classic album.

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Well, for starters, NOVA has always been considered progressive rock in Finland (it becomes evident why once you've listened to the album) but they were always such a obscure group that even most proggers in Finland don't know them. Their style is mainly keyboard-dominated, but the music is closer to the warm atmospheres of PINK FLOYD and WIGWAM than bands like ELP.

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NOVA discography


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3.44 | 16 ratings
Atlantis
1976

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3.00 | 1 ratings
Käytävä / Kaupungin naiset
1975

NOVA Reviews


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 Käytävä / Kaupungin naiset by NOVA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1975
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Käytävä / Kaupungin naiset
Nova Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars This particular NOVA - there are two others in ProgArcives alone! - was a Finnish short-lived band that made one album called Atlantis (1976), with a Supertramp-like cover art of a grand piano floating in space. But their first release was this single released by the legendary Love Records. On ground of these two songs, one hardly would be expecting a prog album with epic compositions from this group.

'Käytävä' (= Corridor, aisle) is a very short and basically sincere & simple love song, and yet it manages to sound quite many-sided. At first it's mellow, slightly sentimental, vocals backed only by acoustic guitar and piano. At 0:43 the rhythm section arrives and gives the song some rock spine, and half a minute later comes a joyful harmonica solo, revealing the blues flavour. The organ a bit later makes me think of PROCOL HARUM. The sound and production are pleasant, beautifully aged. A fine little song written by singer-keyboardist Antti Ortamo. His vocals are, how to say it, just common - like some average folk troubadour - , but capable of emotionally strong impression.

The B-side song 'Kaupungin naiset' (= The women of the city) also by Ortamo is a plain blues number in slow tempo, complete with wailing vocals and a delicious electric guitar solo. From prog artists the references could be Peter Gabriel's 'Waiting for the Big One' and The Strawbs' 'Absent Friend', but with more of the authentic blues feel.

The single's drawn cover is nice but why the band name is missing? Quite surprisingly it's the latter song that was included newly mixed on the Atlantis album. Both songs are included also in the Various Artists compilation "Love Proge 2".

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 Atlantis by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.44 | 16 ratings

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Atlantis
Nova Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This Nova was a short-lived Finnish quintet from Helsinki, formed in 1975 around the talents of pianist, composer and keyboardist Antti Ortamo.The original line-up featured also drummer Jukka Marjala, bassist Veikko Kumpula and guitarist Junnu Kostia.After a single on Love Records, Kumpula and Kostia quit and their replacements were guitarists Micca Vasenius and Jouko Helatie along with bassist Petri Peltola.In 1976 they recorded their sole release ''Atlantis'', again a Love Records product.

Nova played a soft seminal Symphonic Rock with an evident Scandinavian aura due to the slightly psych-tinged rhythm section and the display of Finnish lyrics, still they endorsed their style with strong jazzy and bluesy elements, like on the short ''Kaupungin naiset''.The rest of the album consists of three long cuts, apparently centered around Ortamo's work on acoustic piano and Hammond organ.The music is very gentle with Classical and jazzy spices, a bit similar to FOCUS, but less grandiose and technically efficient.Generally this goes more into atmospheric and quasi-melodic realms with some minimalistic interruptions for piano themes and vocal performances, there are even some acoustic textures to be found.The album lacks a certain level of dynamics, it swirls around mellow organ waves and piano variations with the occasional guitar twists and solos, however the arrangements are pretty nice with interesting ideas, the last track ''Vanha surullinen laulu'' being the most competent one, showing some tendency towards E.L.P.-like organ experimentations and introducing the sound of melancholic synth lines, supported by quirky jazzy interplays and the standard Scandinavian lyrical essence.

Nova disbanded soon after the album was launched.''Atlantis'' did not sell very well and the limited calls for live performances were the basic reasons for the band' demise.

Semi-symphonic 70's Scandinavian Prog, covered by light jazzy elements.Elaborate, lengthy tracks with a relaxed atmosphere, a bit similar to compatriots TABULA RASA.Recommended, CD reissue out only by the Korean label Si-Wan.

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 Atlantis by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.44 | 16 ratings

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Atlantis
Nova Eclectic Prog

Review by progadicto

3 stars Nova is a finnish prog band which mixes soft symphonic influences with bites of blues, psychedelic and almost popish sections. This album was released in 1976 but it wasn't succesful. Even when Atlantis isn't a masterpiece, it has some enjoyable moments.

The opener is "Se Vuosi", a nice lonk track which starts with a soaring piano intro that derivates into a pop barely psychedelic section which still sound good thanks to Antii Ortamo vocals. That sections slowy turns into a mixture of piano-guitar sequence which reminds me some Yes, Grobschnitt (Rockpommel's era) and even Triumvirat songs with drops of blues and psychedelic marked by the guitar solos that shares minutes with the constant presence of Ortamo's piano melodies and some proggy organ sections.

Secons song of the album is "Kaupungin Naiset" a 3 minutes blues leaded by slow and mellow guitar riffs and Ortamo vocals. Simple but effective.

"Atlantis" is an almost 9 minutes song which starts with the classic psychedelic sound that reminds me Pink Floyd of early 70's perhaps Ortamo vocals are much lyrical than Gilmour or Waters ... In between appears some interesting perhaps melodic rhythmical changes and guitar and organ solos but the song is very predicitble and lacks of epic or at least surprising moments.

The last song is "Vanha Surullinen Laulu", another 10 minutes long track which has some interesting instrumental sections leaded by organ but once again, there's a lack of real epic moments perhaps it's an enjoyable piece that reminds me some mid-70's french symphonic band or Harmonium's best quiet and darkest moments.

Resuming: a very nice album which deserves at least one play, with some enjoyable moments, full of classic 70's prog influences but not surprising at all. 3* ...

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 Atlantis by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.44 | 16 ratings

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Atlantis
Nova Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Nova is a forgotten finish prog band from mid '70's who for some reasons didn't made it in prog circles. Anyway the album was re release at Si-Wan records some years ago and is a real chance to be heared my a larger auditorium because the album is worth investigate. Nova pays some eclectic music combined with jazzy and bluesy interplays and even in places some symphonic elements are there. They remind me of Dragon (from Belgium) or Tabula Rasa , their country fellows, even some Genesis chops here and there. Overall a good album that desearves 3 stars for sure , but really I can't give it 4 or 5 like other reviewers, it isn't a masterpice in my ears not if I listing the album 100 times. In places beside the good atmosphere , some parts are to forced, is like they are bored by this music. Anyway the best pieces are first one - the opening track Se Vuosi (translate in That year) and last one Vanha Surullinen Laulu (translate in Sad old song) with great spacey key passages made by Antti Ortamo, whi is aswell the vocalist and the main composer; the rest of the two are ok, Kaupungin Naiset (translates in The Women of The City) is blues number totaly unintristing and out of this album as a whole, and Atlantis. So finally a good album, but nothing special in my opinion, anyway desearves 3 stars for sure. One of the fine finish prog bands from the '70's along with Tabula Rasa among others.

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 Atlantis by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.44 | 16 ratings

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Atlantis
Nova Eclectic Prog

Review by progressive

5 stars First I thought this should get 3 stars (2,9), but soon I noticed that "Se vuosi" and "Vanha surullinen laulu" were masterpieces. I don't like "Kaupungin naiset" - I think it's for the bigger audience (which doesn't exist), or just because they like basic blues rock, which can be heard from other songs, too. "Atlantis" is atmospheric song, almost like the first and the last song on this album, but it just has some stupid periods though the melodies are nice occasionally.

But 4 (3,5 or less - but still somehow has to get extra) stars for the songs everyone should hear. And I'm pretty amazed that this album isn't widely known by Finnish progfans. To name quickly something different that reminds this, I say Seventh Wave's "Star Palace Of The Sombre Warrior". Except this is more jazz/fusion, and of course psychedelic/space rock. Nova is pretentious, but not too much - the instruments are a bit lame (like in psychedelic rock..), except keyboards with bass and vocals, which are the center of the music. Background is very harmonic and melodic, like vocals too which has nice modulation in it particularly in the best parts of the songs. Music is rather slow-moving, but complex enough and has different moods and musical styles - mostly JAZZrock instrumentals. Harmonies change very delightfully and the sad lyrics empowers them, or vice versa. "Vanha surullinen laulu" = old sad song is very sad, and although lyrics are also little bit naive, they are very touching. Funny that it's actual and political, song title consists "old".

Timeless, emotional, dynamically sad.

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 Atlantis by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.44 | 16 ratings

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Atlantis
Nova Eclectic Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I was positively surprised by this album, which hasn't got much attention anywhere I have managed to poke my nose in. A jazzy piano sounding a bit Keith Jarrett and Patrick Moraz opens " Se vuosi" (That Year), which is a pretty & slow keyboard driven ballad, resembling quite much both Greenslade's first album and "Bedside Manners are Extra", and it's actually very pleasing. There's room for solos in the middle sections of long verses, and also there's a faster movement in the end, with different rhythmic ideas. "Kaupungin naiset" (The Women of The City) is a slow blues rock filler, a small disappointment after the wonderful opener. But luckily it's short, and the rest of the tracks continue the good style of the first long track. "Atlantis" starts with some soundscapes, which present again very interesting sounding keyboard driven song. These compositions are carefully constructed, having also some thoughtful arrangements and some free solos over predetermined scale progressions. In the famous Scandinavian melancholic way there are lots of minor key melodies and catchy verses to be heard here. The last song "Vanha surullinen laulu" (Sad Old Song) is truly the most depressing number here, and the lyrics are about the political violence of the 1970's in excess of other terrible things. As a counterforce there are the only major key melodies of the album in a short middle section.

As a conclusion I would say that in addition of Greenslade, this music resembles Haikara's first record, if that masterpiece's wind sections would be changed as to old keyboards. The result is not still as great as the Finnish band's debut I mentioned. Also as this was done in 1976, this wasn't a pioneer band, but rather a record done inspired by the artistic style of the English art rock acts from the beginning of that decade. Nothing new under the sun, but a very pretty flower still. I believe that punk along rockabilly culture were quite strong movements in Finland already that time, and probably the vinyl versions of this album didn't sell very well. Thus this sympathetic album was maybe forgotten, sharing the demise of Flemish band Dragon. Now it's luckily back as a well manufactured CD reissue, and all of those who are interested of rarer symphonic progressive rock releases or history of Finnish alternative rock might like this album. I'm still not suggesting of paying ridiculous sums of money of the original, unless the record is surely known to you. Singing is done here in Finnish, so majority of the world's population possibly escape the lyrics, which are not critical for the listening I think, but being very warm and thoughtful poems still.

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