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Prog Folk • Finland

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Open Eye Band biography
Long time musician friends from Southern Finland formed this group in 2005. Pale Saarinen plays accordion, Varre Vartiainen guitars, Mikko Löytty bass and Anssi Nykänen drums. The music draws its influences from ethnic folk & world music, jazz, pop and harder rock, accomplishing an end result that relates nicely to the progressive rock musical concept. The album has a huge league of guests musicians (like JUHANI AALTONEN) and also technical production personnel. Songs are mostly written by Pale Saarinen, and arranged together with the core players. In addition of this album, the group has worked material from the songs of JIMI HENRIX, which are yet unreleased at time of writing, if yours truly has understood correctly. Accordion player Pale Saarinen might be considered as the central figure in this group. He is an active musician, who has done both solo career focusing to rock, jazz and world music context, and also collaborated with other artists like JUKKA GUSTAVSON, MILANA MISIC and MATTI PELLONPÄÄ. He has also worked as producer, composer and arranger, and written much published texts about music.

Eetu Pellonpää

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3.09 | 3 ratings
Screaming Baby

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 Screaming Baby by OPEN EYE BAND album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.09 | 3 ratings

Screaming Baby
Open Eye Band Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Open Eye Band is a Finnish one-time recording project led by an accordion player Pale Saarinen. He has composed the music, which "draws its influences from ethnic folk & world music, jazz, pop and harder rock" as Eetu's biography tells. Accordion is in a central role in the sound, but apart from that there's no notable folk orientation in songwriting or arrangements, I think. For the most part the music could probably have been categorized as crossover prog, if there was some less folky/ethnic instrument in the place of accordion. Until my recent goal of getting to know several marginal (prog) bands of my country, I don't remember having heard of this group at all. I'm not surprised there are no reviews - even the library were I borrowed the CD had placed it in storage (mere five years after the release year). But I'm glad that I now have the opportunity to tell more about it. I was personally told it's fumbling and sympathetic. Exactly my thoughts too.

The album is mostly instrumental, partly sung by various guest vocalists. The opener 'Thousands of Lakes' is atmospheric, nature-mystifying, slowly growing and nearly shamanistic track with wordless chanting by two women. Hanna-Maria Helenius sings the following title track, a rather straightforward rocker. In the little vocal-less sections I sense some nice folk-prog flavour. 'Stories' is a six-part suite (approximately 14 minutes in total) and clearly the proggiest thing here. Instrumental first part is very playful with its many tempo changes; fusion-like actually. The next two parts are more romantic ones featuring the beautiful soprano voice of Essi Wuorela, best known as a member in the accappella group RAJATON. Gorgeous melodies on 'So Long Ago'! Then a faster instrumental part with energetic rock combo playing and the accordion lead, continuing directly as an equally up-tempo vocal section. Final instrumental closes the suite nicely with some background singing by Wuorela.

The two following instrumentals are not really progressive, instead, one might say, easy-going upbeat pop tunes with an accordion in place of a vocalist. The tender ballad 'Sä tiedät ehkä sen' (You Probably Know It) has a string arrangement by Marzi Nyman (who guests on this album as a guitarist also) and male vocals in Finnish by Sami Saari.

The groovy 'Aku-Aku' is composed by Upi Sorvali. 'From My Heart for You' recycles the melody of 'Sä tiedät...' with totally another kind of arrangement, starring accordion. 'Stars' has a bold feeling of a finale in its shortness and slow fading out. Yes, this is sympathetic album in its own way, though I hardly expect it to have many more reviews here.

Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the artist addition.

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