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TAI SHAN

Crossover Prog • Finland


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Tai Shan biography
This band was recently formed and hail from Kemijärvi in Finland. The music consists of deftly constructed songs with tight arrangements and good production.There is a definite Scandinavian feel to the music but overall a great collective of crossover and heavy progressive sounds. Their debut album Lost Horizon was released earlier this year.

Band Members:Janne Särkelä - guitar, guitar synthesizer | Markus Jakola - keyboards, synthesizer | Janne Jakola - Bass | Jorma Tabell - Drums

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Buy TAI SHAN Music


Tiny PlanetTiny Planet
CD BABY.COM/INDYS 2008
Audio CD$9.56
$0.45 (used)
IceflowerIceflower
Presence Records
Audio CD$23.21
Living FictionLiving Fiction
CD Baby 2014
Audio CD$6.35
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TAI SHAN discography


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

3.00 | 2 ratings
Lost Horizon
2011
3.40 | 10 ratings
Iceflower
2013

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TAI SHAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Iceflower by TAI SHAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.40 | 10 ratings

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Iceflower
Tai Shan Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars This is the second album by the Finnish instrumental quartet (from Kemijärvi, Lapland). The music operates on the borders of the progressive rock genre, it's more like easy-going jazz-rock/fusion, keyboards and guitar being in the central roles. Composing credits are shared mostly by key-player Markus Jakola and guitarist Janne Särkelä, but also Jakola's bass-playing son Janne has given his contribution. At least at the first listenings it's hard to spot big differences between them as composers. Hopefully further listenings reveal more variety, because I do get a feeling of thinness and monotony on the emotional aspect.

Many tracks have a laid-back groove with a slight funkiness. The gifted musicians seem to sincerely enjoy playing and that's always important too. It also can't be said that any of the tracks would be without nice solos and changes in dynamics and tempo. Especially the keyboards often have an enjoyable airiness. But perhaps something is missing and I can't exactly put my finger on it. "Nice, not much else", like another reviewer here has said. Considering that the album is over one hour in length, the feeling of sameness begins to be a bit disturbing. Happily the closing number 'Ice Flower' is the unquestionable highlight. Emotionally it's richer than any of the other nine tracks.

Here and there the melodic, light, jazz-oriented fusion reminds me of MIST SEASON (also from Finland) which band however have clearly richer arrangements - featuring reeds - and more variety in composing too. As a quartet Tai Shan is technically very good and it's not completely fair to compare them to a larger and more experienced group. On the other hand, that comparison can be taken positively. Does this music sound recognizingly Finnish - or Scandinavian? Well, not very much in my opinion. I believe especially in America there are several jazz/fusion groups with more or less similar approach. Certainly a nice, finely produced album suitable for relaxed background listening, but maybe a bit unexciting from the prog rock's point of view.

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 Iceflower by TAI SHAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.40 | 10 ratings

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Iceflower
Tai Shan Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tai Shan from land of 1000 lakes is an unfairly unknown prog/jazz rock band with two albums under their belt so far. I was really impressed by their second offer released this year named Iceflower. Very strong musicianship and quite intresting and memorable arrangements overall. All album is instrumental and I'm saying with my hand on heart this is one of the top al;bums of the year for me, really awesome band work. The album beggins with the kick ass tune Highlands, 6 min of pure magic for me, the keyboards, the guitar , drums, bass lines are top notch, very strong piece who sets the mood for the entire album.Janne S'rkel' the guitarist really knew to compose a great inspired tune. Is up tempo with nice shifting passages where the keybords and guiatar are well balanced and alternated in great manner. Another highlights are After Rain, another worthy example of prog meets jazz rock , the result is quite excellent to my ears, specially the guitar is impressive, nice atmosphere with a scandinavian feel, lots of twists and tempo changes. Seven minds and the title track are another worthy listning. All in all the album really smokes, is not overly complex to get bored, is not simple to be almost mainstream, is fairly decent with plenty of memorable and colorful soundscapes. For me easy 4 stars, one of the better albums of this year for sure. And as a bonus notice, Janne Jakola the bass player is the son of the keybordist Markus Jakola, both making an excellent performance here. Very underrated band.

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 Lost Horizon by TAI SHAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Lost Horizon
Tai Shan Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Talented act from Kemijarvi, Finland, formed in 2005.Originally Tai Shan were a guitar/bass/drums trio, but with the arrival of Markus Jakola on keyboards they expanded their music styles.The fact they exclusively performed around the Kemijarvi area prevented them from becoming more well-known, however the band produced a first CD in 2011, entitled ''Lost horizon'', with Janne Sarkela on guitar, Janne Jakola on bass and Jorma Tabel on drums, besides the aforementioned keyboardist.

The majority of Tai Shan's debut is a pleasant and enjoyable Prog Fusion with complex time signatures being followed by more melodious textures and well-executed solos.The sound kind of reminds of DAVE KULJU, RARE BLEND or even NATHAN MAHL with a touch of more guitar-friendly grooves in the vein of RUSH.There are tons of smooth interplays and furious grooves included in the tracks, while a couple of them have slight Reggae, Funk and Latin overtones, cleverly thrown in among the jazzier and proggy tunes.The overall playing is very energetic with an optimistic point of view, maybe a bit too slick at times, but the interesting guitar work, the variations on keyboards, like organ waves, electric piano solos and synth flashes, and the accomplished rhythm section guarantee a nice listening experience.The more melodic and sensitive passages with the balanced use of keyboards and guitars do have a slight CAMEL atmosphere and the playing style of Janne Sarkela is quite close to that of MARIO MILLO's.The best tracks are saved for last, where the band tries a great mix of fiery Fusion with more dominant synths and plenty of Heavy Prog vibes.

There is some great potential hidden behind the music in ''Lost horizon''.An album, that rarely gets tiring, having a balanced guitar/keyboard style, warmly recommended to all Prog fans, especially to those, who love the Fusion flavor.

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 Iceflower by TAI SHAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.40 | 10 ratings

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Iceflower
Tai Shan Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

3 stars This is a great little instrumental album from Tai Shan of FInland. It is quite different from most instrumental albums, as it doesn't seek to impress with bombast, riffing, or technique. Instead, it presents a wonderful mix of symphonic prog combined with a little neo-prog and jazz.

The musical is well-composed, and performed very well. While I want to give this album a better rating, I can't help but feel a little complacent about it, though. The first nine tracks are nice, but not much else. They are well done, even beautiful. Yet, they are just kind of...there.

The final track on the album, the title track "Iceflower", is a completely different story. It represents the perfect fusion of all the elements that Tai Shan wished to include in their music. Everything comes together, and we get great keys, some awesome sax solos, flutes, and a wonderful symphonic rock atmosphere. It is one of the better tracks I've heard this year!

Like I said, this album is nice. It's pretty and done well, but nothing new or spectacular really happens. "Iceflower" is the one exception, however, as all the elements combine perfect here. Good? Yes. Essential or even great? Besides the final track, no.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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