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SCAPA FLOW

Prog Folk • Finland


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Scapa Flow biography
SCAPA FLOW is a prog-folk band from Helsinki, Finland. It was originally formed in 1976 by the saxophonist/flautist Ismo JÄRVINEN, though some occasional performances had been held under different setups before this time. SCAPA FLOW would mostly perform their own songs, but also some known compositions from for example J.S.BACH while touring around Finland. A big part of their music is composed folk-rock, though there is always room left for improvisation. The band concentrates very much on singing, as four of all the members would sing together or take turns on the album.


The first solid line-up for the band in 1978 included Timo SEPPÄNEN (guitar), Asko AHONEN (bass), Olavi KYLLÖNEN (drums) and Kari JAKSOLA (keyboards) with JÄRVINEN. Later on KYLLÖNEN was replaced by Leevi LEPPÄNEN (PEKKA POHJOLA GROUP) and JAKSOLA by Eero KOLEHMAINEN. Before the recording of the first and only album of the band, the singer/flautist Pia-Maria NOPONEN also joined the group.

In 1980 the so far only record ?Uuteen Aikaan? was recorded, and mixed by Lasse RÖNKKÄ. The lyrics were all originally written in English, but were then translated into Finnish for the recording by two outside writers, Seppo PARKKINEN and Esko SALERVO. The record is considered to be of very high quality compared to others recorded at the time, but it still did not receive very much attention.

::: Bio written by Tuomas Renvall (Passionist), Finland :::

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3.51 | 10 ratings
Uuteen Aikaan
1980

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SCAPA FLOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Uuteen Aikaan by SCAPA FLOW album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Uuteen Aikaan
Scapa Flow Prog Folk

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars I'm uncertain if this charming album has as much merits for a global listener as it had for me as a Finn, and also as a person open for the stylistic choices of music and moods of the lyrics. The fragile spiritualism of the album flow with visions of early 80's Finnish post-agricultural sceneries, and led me to a sensational voyage of dreams and memories.

In the beginning of the record, sorrowful, longing voice of late Pia-Maria Noponen echoes from the past preserved on the tapes, full of melancholia contemplating the autumn's sadness, and the readiness to awaken to anticipations of distantly approaching next summer. Subtle keyboard driven intro leads to a more dynamic main theme, resembling Tabula Rasa with nice 70's sounding guitars and beautiful flute melody lines. The vocal harmonies of male and female singers resemble the rhymes of Peter, Paul and Mary, arranged to slightly gospel oriented rock passages. The sadness of early Van Der Graaf Generator recordings was also one association received through the saxophone's presence upon acoustic rock texture.

Mystery of the satin carpets are sown to web of anticipating guitar chords, and revealed after a thunder storm has passed by. Strongly audible soft bass line carries forward this song, which has slight feeling of 60's hippie anthems in the vocal lines and euphorically waving melodies. Ethereal verse longs for the arrival of mythic muse hidden to the heavens and riches of the nature. Later part of the song has curious experimental phase for effect-treated instruments, percussions and flautist's innovation, gaining wind to sails for venturing further to the seas of pathos.

The pleasant rhythmic solutions of "Mikä aamu" are accompanied by Jethro Tull resembling flute solos, lyrics focusing to the anxiety of everyday life in controlled society, binding us to the capitalistic enterprises. Both joy of dreams and power of suppressing realities are presented in their own compositional motives. Following them, an acoustic guitar of a lovingly calm pastoral intro leads to another weary description of normal day of life, facing the terrors of technological threats troubling a small man, and thinking what the new age is about after all. Most healing religious rock sphere of passion has solos directed for organ, flutes professionally supporting. After this, piano and lady singer's voice conjure a tender melodic tale of stairs carved to the wind, a really touching anthem of dreaming, yearning to escape searching a better place.

The song title "Koi" could refer to a moth, but I think more likely it meaning the Finnish word for dawn. Acoustic guitar and flute dominate this instrumental song, which reminded in its style the early recordings of Rufus Zuphall. The conclusion of the album opens with fine acid guitar solo, helping to take a step above, strengthening with its words this major lyrical theme of the record. After a quiet folk glade for vocal harmonies, the return to psychedelic sound treated main theme maneuvers forward with religious certainty, shimmering with a warm flame of love. Nice instrumental passage with neat rhythm arrangements follows, exiting the album with darker guitar riff and saxophone solo.

At time of releasing I believe the album was much in opposition for the public taste focusing to rock'n'roll and punk movement, though I understood it was praised by the critics. I believe the band succeeded better than Tabula Rasa in reaching objectives of spiritual oriented art rock expressionism. Though there are no clear doctrines of organized religion mentioned in the lyrics, unlike the album "Ekkedien Tanssi" of group mentioned, which focused to Christianity. The themes are however very powerfully oriented with spiritual subjects, the certainty of other worlds being clearly present in the feeling of the group's melodic idioms and lyrics. The album also enforces the mournful philosophies with glimpses of hope similar from Nova's solitary record and Haikara's debut album from the Finnish 1970's prog scene. My appreciation for this highly spiritual album is as great as for these two mentioned.

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 Uuteen Aikaan by SCAPA FLOW album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Uuteen Aikaan
Scapa Flow Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars One of the lost and newly-found (that is, released as a CD recently) items of the Finnish prog history. Appeared on vinyl in 1980 but if I remember right was actually written years earlier, or at least the band had existed for years before their sole album finally came out to deaf ears. What else could one expect at the time when artistic prog rock was completely out of fashion? Stylistically this album could have come at the later haydays of prog, say 1975 (when TABULA RASA's debut came out); if there are sonic details or production more modern than mid-70's, they are neatly interwoven into the whole. And what's best, the album does not sound dated as so many of the late 70's/ early 80's albums do. Sound is tidy and clear but not clinic at all. It even has a folky feel.

Indeed, as Kenethlevine has already mentioned, this band comes close to the recent Finnish band called VIIMA and especially their wonderful debut which featured a female vocalist. SCAPA FLOW's vocalist is Pia-Maria Noponen who afterwards moved to Italy and has sadly passed away, if I remember the liner notes accurately. Also flute (and sax) is featured, in a more or less same manner as in Tabula Rasa or Viima (don't think of Ian Anderson). Melodic and delicate music bears some resemblance to Camel and Finnforest.

The tracks are not very long but they are quite complex and progressive in nature. Unfortunately, with only seven tracks, the album is only under 34 minutes long. (And in these days when 78 minutes is not rare running time of a CD, that can be frustrating. Actually it shouldn't feel like a fault if an album misses the standard 40+ length by few minutes!) But frankly, when the album is short, the more all of the material ought to be far from dull moments. I agree with Kenethlevine that there are forgettable passages, as well as banal male vocals (why, oh why?) What a pity: easily this could have been a top-notch classic stuff. 3½ stars - rounded up to keep the balance.

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 Uuteen Aikaan by SCAPA FLOW album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Uuteen Aikaan
Scapa Flow Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Something of a cross between OUGENWEIDE, NOVALIS and modern day Finnish prog like VIIMA, SCAPA FLOW, curiously named for the body of water within Scotland's Orkney Islands, released this sole album of symphonic influenced progressive folk in 1980. While it is a mature work with plenty of accomplished arrangements and appealing guest female vocals, the compositions and songs themselves do not rise to the historical prominence of the group's namesake.

The two main highlights are the opener "Salaisuuksien Satiiniverhot" which builds nicely into a full-on Camel-esque romp in the vein of "Snow Goose", and the sensuous "Tuuleen Kaiverretut Portaat" which is a more measured and reflective tune than anything else here. The flute, acoustic guitar and organ combination which promises more than it delivers, with a preponderance of sprightly but forgettable passages, banal male vocals, and pedestrian rhythms reaching low points on "Salaisuuksien Satiiniverhot" and on the dull-Tull of "Mika Aamu" in which the sax and synths intercede without personality.

Worth a listen for lovers of the midnight Sun and flute-oriented prog, "Scapa Flow" isn't quite up to second rate on this specialized channel. 2.5 stars rounded down.

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 Uuteen Aikaan by SCAPA FLOW album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Uuteen Aikaan
Scapa Flow Prog Folk

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Good album and band from Finland formed in 1976 with one album released in 1980 in vinyl format at Kompass records didn't get very much attention in that period and because of that very unknow in prog circles . They have the sound and manner of interpretation something between their country fellows Nova, Tabula Rasa with a touch of folk elements . A very good voice of lady Pia Maria Noponen, warm and beautiful voice. They released a single album in 1980 and after nobody heared of them. Anyway if you are intrested in progressive music with folk leanings, check this one out. Nothing groundbreaking but pleasent all the way, and a record much better than many of that era, 1980 is a year when prog was in the shadow, but from time to time were bands and albums that keep the flag high in progressive music. 3 stars, a good album all the way, worth to be investigated from time to time.

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Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition.

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