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KYTAJA

Eclectic Prog • Finland


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Kytaja biography
KYTÄJÄ is the love child of two finnish guys, Jarno Alho and Janne Lastumäki. Named after a little village that they spent their adolescence in, KYTÄJÄ binds together both the good and the bad that they've gone through during their fifteen years of friendship.

Musically it all got started by banging drums and shouting. Shouting and banging, in the cellar, in the garage, in the outdoor sauna. Then gradually there came a bass, some guitars, even a synthesizer. Listening to Black Sabbath, Cream, The Stooges and Led Zeppelin taught them what rock was about. And sure, everything got really sophisticated and streetwise in the end.

The debut album by KYTÄJÄ blends together influences from a wide variety of sources. There are absolute echoes of the Finnish rock history. Some WIGWAM and Jukka TOLONEN lurking behind the bushes. The songs are delivered in a sort of an jazzy way somewhat reminiscent of the British Canterbury scene. More self-taught than educated, that is. Add an overall Scandinavian pastoral mood, touches of atonality, soul music and maybe even traces of pompousness of the Zeppelin kind and you're starting to have a hunch of what it's all about.

No matter how mature they may nowadays seem to be, they're still the same childish boys from a tiny remote place where, because of the lack of real-life influences, they could reign over a kingdom of their own.

And judging by the music, it's all for the better of it.

Official biography (with minor edits), taken from kytaja.net, with the band's permission




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Powerful and interesting instrumental music, modern as taste and pressure, flamboyant (almost) as power and style. Approved by the Eclectic Prog Team.



Discography:
Kytäjä, studio album (2006)
II, studio album

Kytaja official website

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KYTAJA discography


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

3.25 | 4 ratings
Kytäjä
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
II
2013

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KYTAJA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 II by KYTAJA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
II
Kytaja Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Many years passed before KYT'J', the finnish instrumental duo of Jarno Alho and Janne Lastum'ki, released a follow-up to their eponymous debut. If the categorization was based on this new album, Eclectic Prog hardly would be thought of at all! First, this calm music is quite far from rock, and even less it has anything to do with the usual edgy and Crimsonesque ideas one gets from the term Eclectic Prog. The music on this album was composed and recorded during 2008 - 2012 and it features many guest musicians and vocalists (though the voices are in a very minor role).

'Sailing Stones' is a very serene and beautiful opener starring piano and flute, reminding of some CAMEL tracks such as 'Elke' from Rain Dances. The next one features soft, wordless singing by Ville Leinonen (a pop solo artist) and Minna Sihvonen. The arrangement is colourful and cute, with a dreamy and relaxed atmosphere. Instead of rock this is more like (unusually good) chill-out / relaxation music, but there's nothing wrong with that. '65 Knots' has a laid-back, bossa nova -reminding mood with slightly faster tempo and various instruments from xylophone, flute and synth taking brief steps into the front.

In 'August Doves' the soft playing of marimba, guitar and flute-reminding synth (I suppose) leads the way into a very beautiful, nocturnal soundscape. 'Under the Sails' features some effects such as seagulls. The dreamy music approaches New Age perhaps, but stays more interesting than that, comparable to JADE WARRIOR. The whole album is - instead of "rock" - more like Ambient Music of e.g. BRIAN ENO but with wider instrumentation and influences from various kinds of relaxed music; a perfect listening when in need for a peace of mind. One could also think of vocal-less NO-MAN at their calmest.

Just as I started to feel the album lacks of stronger emotions and that perhaps a vocal track would do good, there came one. Ville Leinonen is given a bigger role in 'Song to the Sea' (sung in Finnish, even if the track titles are given in English too). In the beginning the main instruments are piano and double bass, but the arrangement gets richer along the way, and the song has a nice dose of emotion. Very atmospheric and elegant! 'Indian Paths' also has some smilarities with Jade Warrior (without really sounding like them). The whole album stays pretty much on the relaxing side, but at the same time it weaves deep atmospheres suitable for inner pictures.

'Moon Shines, Dead Rides' paints slightly darker and more dramatic mood; I get an association towards Hergest Ridge (MIKE OLDFIELD). The closing track 'Horizon Painters' could have given a fitting title for the whole album if it wasn't such an overused clich' (at least in Finnish language, don't know about English). It's a laid-back, happy tune given a sense of a jazz ballad by the presence of double bass and saxophone, but it's far enough from sentimento or naivety.

I was positively surprised by this album. You don't too often hear an album which is so peaceful and also so elegantly arranged.

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 Kytäjä by KYTAJA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.25 | 4 ratings

BUY
Kytäjä
Kytaja Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Kytaja is a project formed in 2003 by two young Finnish musicians, Janne Lastumaki and Jarno Alho, both members of the Indie Pop band Sister Flo.The name of the band derives from the small village in Finland, where they grew up.They debuted in 2006 with a self-titled release on the German label Bone Voyage Recordings, which got both CD and vinyl issues, with the second one containing one bonus track.In a few tracks Kytaja are joined by guest musicians on wind instruments.

The Finnish duo draws influences from Finish Folk music, Progressive Rock, Post Rock and even Ambient Music to come up with an instrumental release, characterized by eerie, trippy and ethereal soundscapes.There is some great work done by these young musicians, who can easily transform their music from hypnotic and quite psychedelic to rich and melodic.The album contains a fair dose of instrumental ambiences and Lounge textures, based on a deep atmosphere and supported by breezy trumpets, flutes and oboe, while there is always an intense Post Rock feel, that dominates the release.Half about of the tracks though have an evident Prog Rock inspiration, somewhere between refined Melodic/Symphonic Rock and traditional Scandinavian Folk Rock, led by excellent work on organ, nostalgic flutes, dreamy vibraphones, jazzy and psychedelic guitars and even some great synthesizers.The combination is quite succesful, as all tracks sound very atmospheric and the changes between the styles are always welcome.Generally the album sounds very fresh and modern, but the addition of organs and more folky tunes serves excellent a very vintage-sounding aura.

Very good first attempt by Lastumäaki and Alho.Not groundbreaking, but overall very pleasant and enjoyable listening, especially for fans of good Scandinavian Prog.Warmly recommended.

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 Kytäjä by KYTAJA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.25 | 4 ratings

BUY
Kytäjä
Kytaja Eclectic Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This record is a result of two musician's work, Jarno Alho and Janne Lastumäki, with a little help from their friends on the wind sections. Album covers give a warm, homemade and sincere feeling, which describes the music concealed within them perfectly.

The songs form some kind of tale of a day at the countryside, starting from the dawn of early summer or late spring with birds singing. A comparison for this record could be either Uzva's "Tammikuinen Tammela" or Vitkaste's "Lestinjoki", a pleasant jazzy, folky and slightly psychedelic theme album from a Finnish everyday life experience. Though I would change their Zappa influences here to 1960's / 1970's Pink Floyd. Also here are maybe little less compositional elements than with them group mentioned (but present though, so not toally abstract noodling here). Finnish folk music elements blend with mellow jazz rock and psychedelic elements. Everything seems to be clam, mellow, without hurry... which is pleasant to counterbalance the hectic urban life. The trip continues with easy and jazzy acoustic guitars delivering nice tender groove and laid back euphoric loveliness. The themes build up song schemes which are then exploited and studied with different instruments, providing much space for playing. Songs flow freely towards little more experimental drum & guitar impressions, painting up a picture of a great wide lakeside, and opening to easy mellow jazz again, then disappearing to open musical space. After this we get a pleasant, nostalgic bluesy song, one very happy slow song containing also some electric guitar soloing, and the album closes to minor keyboard driven slow jazzy blues (time to go sleep children...).

So, the songs form a solid album, pleasant to listen from start to end without pauses, and also there doesn't seem to be any weak tracks included in my opinion. If you like jazzy folk prog, or wish to get relaxed when listening to a record, try this one.

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 Kytäjä by KYTAJA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.25 | 4 ratings

BUY
Kytäjä
Kytaja Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars I didn't know exactly what to expect of this obscure Finnish instrumental Prog album, which the previous reviewer associated to e.g. post-70's KING CRIMSON. It could have turned out to be noisy and avant- gardish not up to my taste at all, but instead I enjoyed at least half of the ten tracks here. I don't mean that the rest were terrible either, that's just my style dealing with albums, skipping the less-pleasing tracks right away. I was compiling a self-burnt 3-CD set of Finnish Prog Albums from recent years and the 5 best tracks of this short album nicely fit together with the chosen tracks from albums by UZVA and MAGYAR POSSE (both instrumental bands as well, and at least UZVA's many-sided jazzy style shares something with KYTÄJÄ).

Just as T.Rox said, one gets many different associations (of bands or genres) listening to this music. He mentions also BO HANSSON which I totally agree. The soundscape is full of surprises and yet quite pleasant, warm and suitably fuzzy, and some orchestral instruments are invited as guests, such as flute and oboe.

So, my first reaction was mostly positive. I admit I haven't yet listened to this very many times, but I believe that further listenings only improve it, as the music is not so easy to memorize at once. One interesting question: how 'Finnish' or 'Scandinavian' this music sounds? It depends on the ears of the listener, but I do think there is something that makes you think of the fields, lakes and forests of my country. Of course the track titles are pushing one's thoughts on that way... I hope these guys continue making albums.

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 Kytäjä by KYTAJA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.25 | 4 ratings

BUY
Kytäjä
Kytaja Eclectic Prog

Review by T.Rox
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Where could Kytäjä have gone with this debut? Let's hope it's not too long until we see where they go next!

This eponymous set from Kytäjä is a work of varied textures, starting out with an almost post rock minimalist feel, before heading off into a myriad of places. There are licks of Canterbury, jazz, funk and folk dotted throughout; times when you can hear a possible King Crimson influence; and then others when psychedelia comes to mind with what seems to be a touch of a Bo Hansson or Vincent Crane influence with the synths and organs. Indeed an eclectic mix!

With 10 tracks and chiming in at a little over 36 minutes Kytäjä is a short album by today's standards. There are only two tracks that step over the five minute mark, leaving the listener feeling there was more improvising and experimentation to be had. "Pato Murtuu, Metsissä Tuulee" is the track that brought this thought to a head for me. It starts off with some energetic acoustic guitar and flute, with the drums kicking in a while later before getting into some low-key synth undertones with a second synth busying itself over the top. The track starts to build in power until, at the 4:46 mark some really sweet fuzzed guitar fires up only to hear that peter out after 20 seconds when the track finishes, leaving a bit of a hollow. To my mind "Pato Murtuu, Metsissä Tuulee" seemed like it was begging to go on a much greater voyage.

Along with "Pato Murtuu, Metsissä Tuulee", the other tracks to catch my attention were "Väärän Koivun Ranta" and "Aava". The former is a psychedelic number that almost had me expecting to hear Arthur Brown singing on a track that very much reminds me of Vincent Crane on the organ circa 1968; "Aava" is the where I thought, "King Crimson!", until it segued into a jazzy little piece with spacey keyboards floating about in the background.

Overall Kytäjä is an entertaining album. For a young duo beginning its musical journey this is a serviceable debut. A solid 3 stars from the Dinosaur!

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Thanks to Ricochet for the artist addition. and to Eetu Pellonpää for the last updates

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