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NURKOSTAM

Neo-Prog • Finland


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Nurkostam biography
Nurkostam is an art rock band from Finland. Nurkostam creates new music under its name and also as a customization. Live performances include original songs and some of the classics of progressive music. Nurkostam was founded in 1998. The founders were Tero Koski, Toni Nurmi and Janne Tamminen. Soon after the band name was created from the surnames - Nurkostam would describe this unique musical experience.

The band itself has roots in improvisations and project oriented performances. Since the beginning Nurkostam has cultivated its multidimensional expression like their musical forefathers - The Beatles, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Wigwam and Yes - did in the 60's and 70's.

If Nurkostam's live performance is a characteristic experience, its records are even more profoundly extraordinary. Rich soundscapes are created with some of the most legendary instruments: Hammond organ, Mellotron, Rhodes and analog synthesizers are an essential part of the band's identity. However, the innovative and improvisation oriented nature of Nurkostam won't always settle for this but wants to extend and rediscover the concept of sound. Samples, loops and FM synthesis created with software and Synclavier are another part of the entity.

Nurkostam has released three albums and one DVD. 'XIII' was released in 2005, 'III of Dreamers' and 'C' were released in 2009 and a DVD called '1908' came out in 2010. Furthermore, Nurkostam has composed soundtracks for short movies and documentaries.

: : : Toni Nurmi (Nurkostam), Finland : : :

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NURKOSTAM discography


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

3.00 | 16 ratings
III Of Dreamers
2009

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
1908
2010

NURKOSTAM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NURKOSTAM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 16 ratings
XIII
2005
2.50 | 15 ratings
-C-
2009

NURKOSTAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 -C- by NURKOSTAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
2.50 | 15 ratings

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-C-
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Released the very same year as III OF DREAMERS, Nurkostam's second attempt at an EP in -C- sees the band regress back to the trappings of their debut EP. The whole EP sounds like a bunch of tracks that were left over from the album proper sessions.

The predominant style that I can pick up on is dreamy indie pop rock with jazz and prog undertones. I listened to this album first overall, but since I've gotten a chronological order to the band's work, I'm more confused than ever before with -C-. III OF DREAMERS showcased a slight potential that Nurkostam might have in prog rock; -C- sounds like an about face with none of the great soundscapes from the proper album. The EP really lacks dynamic performances, and that is a huge disappointment. It's as if the band wanted to play it safe here; there's no risk taking in the music, and that saps the fun out of enjoying this.

I've mentioned before that this was the first thing I've heard from the group. One good thing to do when making an album is not to confuse the listener right away, and that's exactly what happened to me when I first heard ''The Pearl Song''. I really can't describe how this song functions in a musical context, so let me try put my mental visual into writing. The moment I first heard this song, I thought I was watching the menu screen to an NBA game on Super Nintendo. Nurkostam has this habit of tacking an instrumental song at the beginning of their albums, but ''The Pearl Song'' disrupted the fragile nature of the EP before it really began.

It's disappointing when one bad decision buzzkills an entire EP experience. I might be harsh, but the way -C- presents itself, it's hardly recommendable.

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 III Of Dreamers by NURKOSTAM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 16 ratings

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III Of Dreamers
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The lone full album from Nurkostam (at the time of reviewing) might be a preface to this band unlocking their full musical potential. It just doesn't come fully.

Unlike the two EPs the band has distributed, III OF DREAMERS feels more confident of a work of art. The actual preluding ''Overture'' really does function like a good overture and helps solidify the sound at least for the first few tracks. Maybe not the most dynamic of sorts, but the symphonically jazzy atmospheres the band produce are mesmerizing. The one problem is that during ''The Camel Song'', there are some awful off-key vocals that ruin the mood.

Nurkostam can be a pleasant instrumental neo-prog soundscape type of artist because they can make a good niche for themselves there. The tracks ''Dike'' through ''Anon'' sputter the continuous motion of the mood set earlier by wringing out the concept (or so I interpret), but lacking the confidence in the vocals to do so. It's frustrating to sit through a song only to endure weak padding to underline a philosophical speech that I simply have not the bother to hear. At least on ''Anon'', the group can crescendo well enough to the point where sitting through the whole thing was worth the trouble.

It is without a doubt in my mind the best of the Nurkostam works so far. If the group can make an instrumental album in the future, then I would be very intrigued. Sadly, the back half of III OF DREAMERS doesn't quite cut the mustard, and the artsy guitar feedback on ''Motherside'' sounds like it came directly from a Sonic Youth album.

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 XIII by NURKOSTAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
2.82 | 16 ratings

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XIII
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Eight is first

I'm usually not a huge fan of EP releases simply because most are so short and really only apply to fans of the band or the band's style. Nurkostam's debut EP (strangely titled XIII) is no exception to this rule.

As far as the music style is concerned, I found most of this EP has tinges of prog rock underneath a mostly dream pop base. Many bands have been name-dropped over the reviews, but I can hear a lot of Radiohead and Mew in the sound.

The vocal department is not good. It seems the band has two singers, one who has a feint, whispery tone but not strong at all, and the other who sounds like Eddie Vedder. Yarling doesn't quite fit the tone of the EP.

''Iscream'' is the anomaly track in which the band attempts avant-jazz-rock. It's fine for what it is, but to stick a track like that at the very beginning is complete buzzkill. The opening few minutes should establish solidity in the sound; the way ''Iscream'' veers into ''Dome'' so suddenly pops the balloon and it just spurts from then on.

Albums proper are usually the way to truly discover music artists. Nurkostam is no exception.

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 -C- by NURKOSTAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
2.50 | 15 ratings

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-C-
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 5/10

In "C" Nurkostam show talent and promise, but still a strong deal of immaturity.

Nurkostam is a Finnish Art Rock project who back in 2006 released their first EP. The same year as their debut studio album, they publish their second EP, "C". Even though of humble origins and very modest sound recording, (quasi-lo-fi, to be frank), Nurkostam promises a good career, but some things, in order for that to happen, will have to change.

The Art Rock this band plays is very unique, that is unquestionable. Nurkostam have a great sense of melody and are really good songwriters, when they try hard. A lot of the songs here are quite memorable, some times even haunting. The heavy electronics of the drum machine, the arrangements that feel like plastic, and the overall instrumentation are the elements that ruin it. Even if Nurkostam truly wished to deliver a piece of work that was a mix of artificiality and minimalism, it wouldn't have harmed to have some of the sounds polished: the synths are very amateurish sounding, the rhythm section gets close to unbearable in some points, seeming a little uncoordinated, and honestly needless in a few spots. Nurkostam's vision is definitely an interesting one that would potentially be very effective in this reviewer's eyes. But the process of creating an album is like organizing a room's aesthetics: if one's wish is to have strange furniture around, or to make this room as minimalistic looking as possible, it's much more than acceptable, but there still must be some sort of harmony that gives the room a purpose. "C" is far too short and hasty, as if the band quickly laid down some songs, and messily glued them in these twenty eight minutes of space. It can't be denied however that It is packaged in an interesting way, thus the structure itself of the album does feel a bit more studied. Yes, it is undeniably a room with a purpose, but this purpose feels a bit vague and confused.

The sense of melody, again, is very sophisticated, and is the reason why I personally will be looking forward to seeing this band mature: "The Pearl Song", despite the annoying electronic background, has a beautiful melody and very soothing vocals. But the best song of the EP is unquestionably "Slo Lee", because of it's lack of excessive background: mostly acoustically driven, once again the vocals are the best dish. "Gone" is a bit more paranoid and tense sounding, and it is the final episode where useless nuisances are minimal: The drums are sharply played, the atmosphere is tense, the hook brilliant and memorable.

Nurkostam have potential, but there has to be something more to the releases: while the songwriting in itself is really promising, everything that surrounds it can be significantly improved.

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 III Of Dreamers by NURKOSTAM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 16 ratings

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III Of Dreamers
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Nurkostam is a young band from Finland totaly unknown to me until few month ago. This is their first full length album from 2009 after 2 EP released.. Hmm, at first spin I was not impressed at all, realy , another one of those bands that embrace a moder prog sound, not far from Porcupine Tree fame, but aswell melted with passages that remind me of King Crimson, folk parts, some more symphonic ones, a soup that turned to be ok in the end after more listnings, but for sure nothing groundbreaking. Definetly I don't find the neo prog elements here, and why is puted under neo prog flag, is kinda missleading for listners. The album sounds pretty sterile and in places lifeless, specialy the drums sounds to cold for my taste. The arrangements overall are not entirely bad, there are some good moments that worth purchase this release like on Until We Sleep, The Dreamer or The Camel Song, the rest are quite ok but nothing realy to talk about. So, in the end , hardly 3 stars, maybe in the future they will come with more solid parts, because this album, even is not totaly forgettable is very dull and with monotonous parts.

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 III Of Dreamers by NURKOSTAM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 16 ratings

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III Of Dreamers
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars I have left some time pass before reviewing this first full-length album of the Finnish Nurkostam. I have enjoyed the first two long EPs, even if "long" and "EP" are quite am oxymoron, and I had some expectations over this album that haven't been deluded.

It opens very Floydian, or better, with drums like David Gilmour's "Until We Sleep", but with the guitar playing few high pitched notes reminding a bit to Alan Parsons. It's just a start. soon the things change and the ambient is darker with atmospheres and dissonances close to King Crimson.

"The Camel Song" doesn't have anything to do with Latimer & co, apart the rhythm that has the same lazyness of Rajaz. The slow rhythm of a camel in the desert. Musically is like Roger Waters joining the King Crimson as the bass reminds to the pre-dark side Floyd (Set The Controls or even Careful with that Axe) while the other instruments are playing in a very Crimsonian way, specially the keyboard with sounds similar to Mel Collins. The final is almost symphonic. It's a very good track.

"Ocean" is quiet and relaxing, with just guitar and bells. It makes me think to the dreamy world of Syd Barrett or to the early Floyd of Grantchester Meadows.

"The Dreamer" is a great track. I hear a classic influence and the title is very appropriate. In general I like this kind of ambient music that's capable of let your mind fly away below your level of conscience. The choir in the last two minutes is an enhancement to an already excellent track.

"Almost Famous" opens with a very bass keyboard note and acoustic 12 strings guitar between Gilmour and Anthony Phillips, probably closer to the second. This song is probably one of the reasons why Nurkostam are (incorrectly IMO) included in the neo-prog subgenre. It's melodic and the usual dissonances are missing.

"Dike" is totally different, instead. Dissonant guitar opens the most Crimsonian track of the album. The dissonances are soon absorbed by a more melodic ambient with only the bass continuing on the guitar notes. The vocals are in the background. They unexpectedly sound in the same way as vocals sound on the Dan Britton's project "All Over Anywhere".

"Motherside" is more rocking but still in the vein of KC with a bit of experimentalism, not so accentuated to be suitable for avant, but surely far from the symphonic and the neo-prog. The speech in the middle accompanied by guitar only, first, then by electronic noises reminds me the post-rock band "From Monument To Masses", probably just for the speech. Then the voice leaves and we have the most experimental moment of the album. If I had listened to this track only I would have thought to avant.

The last track, "Anon" has a symphonic and melodic start but the sounds are again very "early Crimson". Then it calms down then the voice and the subtle atmosphere give me the idea of a smoky jazz-pub. The final is a dramatic crescendo. Out of the pub waiting for something to happen...a pause and a new crescendo that grows symphonic. An excellent closer that suddenly stops.

The Crimson influence is very strong but the band has an own sound. I don't have doubts in giving this (underrated IMO) album 4 stars.

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 III Of Dreamers by NURKOSTAM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 16 ratings

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III Of Dreamers
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A Finnish band with their debut album. Well, they have previously released two very long EPs to mixed reviews so this is really not a debut album. But officially, it is.

The first thing that strikes me is the lack of mastering on this album. It seems like the mastering has been done by a computer and not by a mastering engineer. An artist/record label can save hundreds of euros on this. But the result is always bad sound. Which this album has. It feels a bit lifeless. Like lifeless beer.

Getting past the sound, the music here is very varied. From Sigur Ros via King Crimson to prog folk and Renaissance. Most of the music here is pastoral. I have yet to hear any Neo Prog here so a re-labelling is in order, me thinks.

This album most of all reminds me about the English female fronted bands from the 1970s with a lush, symphonic prog sound. There is plenty of orchestral instruments here and a lot of references to classical music. Then again, there is a lot of references to King Crimson and eclectic prog too.

The sound is a problem for me and the reason why this is not the great album it should have been. But the music here is full of intricate details and is very good. I have no favorite songs though. One or two killer tracks would had done wonders for this album and for the band. But they are onto something and I hope they continue their good work.

3.5 stars

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 III Of Dreamers by NURKOSTAM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 16 ratings

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III Of Dreamers
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Sweet album!

This is the only full-length album this Finnish outfit has released so far, after two EP's and a recently cooked DVD. Released in 2009, "III of Dreamers" is composed by eight tracks that make a total time of 46 minutes approximately, in which we will find some spacey soundscapes, melancholic tunes and even rockier and crimsonesque ones.

It opens with "Overture (Ulrich)" which has a dreamy mellotron sound accompanied by bass and drums creating a constant and repetitive rhythm, and a nice guitar playing low notes. After a minute it slows down and a delicate piano sounds enters, but lasting only some seconds before the song changes and that mellotron appears once again.

"The Camel Song" is the longest track and probably their most ambitious. It starts slow with vocals and a calm sound, a minute later keyboards appear and create an extraordinary background, changing also the mood of the track. The sound of the bass is sweet, and the addition of acoustic guitar notes puts new colors in the scene. There is a moment of tranquility that suddenly ends when the music volume increases along with emotional vocals. Later there is a beautiful cello that perfectly complements the disarming sound. Very nice track!

"Ocean" is a shorter instrumental composition with a melancholic and even sad sound, not bad, but it can be skipped without remorse. "The Dreamer" is another mellow composition but much more elaborated and comprised of several musical elements and textures. This has some kind of neo-classical style that actually reminds me a little bit of Karda Estra. It could perfectly work as a film soundtrack. While the music continues, you (the listener) will be more interested and captivated.

"Almost Famous" has some kind of emptiness in its music, a lot of pauses and a slow development. After two minutes its wings are spread at last, with symphonic keyboards, acoustic guitars, drums and vocals, reminding me a little bit of Yes. Its delicate sound may be a double-edge weapon, because you may feel charmed, or bored.

"Dike" continues with that mellow and calm sound. The vocals are always charming, even relaxing. And here the guitars are a bit more protagonist with different figures and notes that create wonderful textures. There is a great mellotron apparition that help in all senses, when it sounds you are in a different world. This song is of Nurkostam's finest moments.

"Motherside" is another cool track, with a heavier sound made by strings and drums, however their softness and mellow label is always present. After three minutes there is a part where the music almost stops completely, while a man is speaking. It has also some electronic elements that put a different style in the music, creating diverse atmospheres and chaotic passages. I like that tension and how everything explodes all of a sudden.

"Anon" is the other long track, and also the last of the album. Here you can appreciate a well-structured song with some crimsonian hints, with spoken words once again and with that mixture of melancholy, sadness and hope. The experimental side of the band can also be noticed here, with the addition of some quirky sounds made (I think) by guitars. At half the song the piano plays a wonderful role here, creating a cool background while drums and other elements are accompanying. The last two minutes are the best in the whole album, check that tension created and those spectacular atmospheres. Great!

This is a great album by the Finns, however I don't totally love it, and I believe it has some highs and lows, anyway it is worth listening because it will bring you moments of quality. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

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 -C- by NURKOSTAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
2.50 | 15 ratings

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-C-
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

2 stars This EP definitely has some great moments. Speaking of nice melodies and even an hint to experimental approach. They don't care for any concept or expetation here, I assume. Which implies that the nine featured songs overall sound 'neither fish nor fowl' to me on the other hand. Radiohead references are shimmering through here and there, I can't say that there is much prog essence all the way through.

They start with The Pearl Song - the only snapshot which is kinda fascinating really. There is a synth pop fundament to state somehow, I really like the funky bass lines and the expressive synths though. This song is definitely challenging. Starting with the next one Gone they open a series of mellow pop ballads with charming vocals then. Darkmoor finally brings them back on the more tricky prog track, where you can even detect some mellotron in beween.

While holding many popular elements 'C' seems to be an arbitrary collection of leftovers from diverse recording sessions, close to a singer-songwriter appeal I would say. Musicianship is in place, not bad at all and listenable, yes. But nothing special, I won't promise to come back to this anytime soon - 2.5 stars.

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 III Of Dreamers by NURKOSTAM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 16 ratings

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III Of Dreamers
Nurkostam Neo-Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars The first and so far only full-length album from this Finnish trio. I'm still not sure if this or the EP -C- was released first. The style and production of that EP seems to be different to this album, which has a little bit more in common with the first EP. III Of Dreamers is far more symphonic sounding than either EP. "Overture" is the opener and probably the best song on the album. Nice moody symphonic instrumental featuring some Mellotron near the end.

"The Camel Song" does not sound anything like the band Camel. This is some decent symphonic prog on the more sombre side. "Ocean" is a clean electric guitar and vibraphone based instrumental. Nothing horrible but nothing special either. This is followed by "The Dreamer" which is almost straight classical music, like something from a film score. "Almost Famous" starts out very quite. Only after 2 minutes does it turn into symph rock with harmony singing and great retro synth sounds.

"Dike" is acoustic guitar based and slightly sinister sounding until electric piano, bass drum and vocals come in. Some drum machine and Mellotron in this track. A spoken word part in Finnish in the middle. The more sinister sounding acoustic guitars get reprised with some cool synth sounds. One of the stand out tracks on the album. "Motherside" is the only real rockin' song here. Goog guitar and bass tones along with harmony singing. A long echoed spoken word section in English with an almost ambient backing in the middle before the music gets more dramatic sounding until 5 minutes when we get some tribal percussion and synthetic choirs. Strange song.

"Anon" begins almost sounding like Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles. Then minimal piano and more spoken word in English. Around 2 1/2 minutes it turns into darker symph prog. Nice guitar arpeggios halfway. Later the music builds towards a crescendo then mellows out for a bit and comes back rockin' with symphonic keyboards. Odd start but great ending to a song, and great ending to an album. I actually didn't enjoy this album as much as I did their EPs. A little too inconsistent and these guys may be too diverse for their own good. This is still a well-written and made album, just not my cup of tea generally. I'll give this a 2.5 rounded up to 3 stars.

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