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PEKKA POHJOLA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Finland


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Pekka Pohjola biography
Pekka POHJOLA (born 1952) is without doubt one of the greatest bassist/multi-instrumentalist in Europe. He knows how to handle several other instruments too... violin, piano, organ, keyboards, synthesizers, and trumpet as well. His style could be described with words as progressive rock filled with invention & Scandinavian folky/jazzy delights. In 1970 Pekka joined WIGWAM, a Finnish group around the English singer and pianist Jim PEMBROKE, staying four glorious years. In 1977, he formed The GROUP and in 1979, he toured with Mike OLDFIELD, who is an admirer of this bass-player. In 1980, The GROUP changed its name to PEKKA POHJOLA GROUP, but along the way the word "GROUP" is dropped, so the band played on as Pekka POHJOLA.

In addition to working with The GROUP, Pekka has released a number of solo albums over the years. Meanwhile, his music has reached new generations of music lovers. During his WIGWAM days, he recorded his first solo-album, the delicious "Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva". This album has symphonic/classical references and is very ZAPPA-influenced with lots of woodwinds and some fine bass soloing. "Visitation" is a real masterpiece of melodic jazz-rock elements on which Pekka shows his talents as a bass-player and composer. This is probably the best place to start getting familiar. "Urban Tango" (1982) and "Space Waltz" are probably more accessible combining classical tendencies, fusion, folk and more. "New Impressionnist" is an excellent compilation CD that contains tracks from "Everyman", "Urban Tango", "Visitation" and "Katkavaaran"... and is probably as good start.

Late September 1997, "Pewit" POHJOLA's new studio album is finally released after five years since "Changing Waters". The musicians are the same as on "Changing Waters". In May 2001, Pekka released "Views", his first solo album in quite some time.

On 27 November 2008, Pohjola died at the age of 56.

CONCLUSION: "You do not have to be a fan of progressive rock, fusion or jazz rock to appreciate his majestic melody lines."

Pekka Pohjola official website

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New Impressionist : A Retrospective 1979-1984New Impressionist : A Retrospective 1979-1984
Audio CD$9.96 (used)
Mathematician's Air DisplayMathematician's Air Display
Import · Remastered
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$11.29
$21.15 (used)
B the MagpieB the Magpie
Import · Remastered
ESOTERIC 2010
Audio CD$11.81
Harakka BialoibokkuHarakka Bialoibokku
Import
Imports 2003
Audio CD$16.67
$13.99 (used)
Keesojen LehtoKeesojen Lehto
Import
Imports 2003
Audio CD$17.22
$17.22 (used)
Space WaltzSpace Waltz
Breakthru
Audio CD$58.85
$43.88 (used)
VisitationVisitation
Import
Disk Union Japan 2011
Audio CD$56.92
$119.69 (used)
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PEKKA POHJOLA discography


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

4.16 | 48 ratings
Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva
1972
4.25 | 103 ratings
Harakka Bialoipokku (aka B The Magpie)
1974
3.71 | 67 ratings
Keesojen Lehto (aka Mathematician's Air Display, The Consequences of Indecisions)
1977
4.36 | 99 ratings
Visitation
1979
4.00 | 29 ratings
Kätkävaaran Lohikäärme
1980
3.73 | 20 ratings
Urban Tango
1982
3.70 | 21 ratings
Jokamies (aka Everyman)
1984
3.49 | 17 ratings
Space Waltz
1985
3.92 | 12 ratings
Flight of the Angel
1986
4.78 | 9 ratings
Sinfonia No.1
1990
3.36 | 13 ratings
Changing Waters
1992
3.85 | 13 ratings
Pewit
1997
3.88 | 15 ratings
Views
2001

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
Pekka Pohjola Live in Japan
1995
4.07 | 9 ratings
Heavy Jazz - Live in Helsinki and Tokyo
1995

PEKKA POHJOLA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.00 | 5 ratings
New Impressionist
1987
4.20 | 6 ratings
Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva / Harakka Bialoipokku
1989
5.00 | 3 ratings
Beauty and the Beast (Pekka Pohjola with UMO Jazz Orchestra)
2010

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

PEKKA POHJOLA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Keesojen Lehto (aka Mathematician's Air Display, The Consequences of Indecisions) by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.71 | 67 ratings

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Keesojen Lehto (aka Mathematician's Air Display, The Consequences of Indecisions)
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars In mid-70's Pohjola was involved for a short time with the Jazz/Fusion group Uni Sono, before returning to his solo works at the second part of the decade, actually his third one was among his most succesful also.And that's because he collaborated with the rising star of Mike Oldfield on guitar/mandolin and his sister Sally on vocals on the album ''Keesojen lehto'', released in 1977 in Finland on Love Records (also as ''Skuggornas tjuvstart'' in Sweden and ''The mathematician's air display'' in the UK via Virgin Records).His backing band was again very talented: Georg Wadenius from Solar Plexus on guitars, Wlodzimierz Gulgowski from Pop Workshop on keyboards, Pierre Moerlen on drums/percussion and drummer Vesa Aaltonen, with whom Pohjola would collaborate on The Group.The album was recorded at two different studios, the Througham Slad in Gloucestershire, UK and at Marcus Music in Stockholm, Sweden.It would be released a few years later as Pohjola with Mike and Sally Olfield in Germany and the USA.Pohjola plays bass, guitar and keyboards.

No surprise, the album comes as a mix of Pohjola more Fusion stylings, featuring a nice Scandinavian edge, and Oldfields more dreamy soundscapes, which often flirt with Orchestral Music.This is actually a great description for a Symphonic/Jazz Rock album with the musicianship alternating between smooth and melodic lines through furious instrumental interactions with big, symphonic keyboards and jazzy guitar exercises.The atmosphere is great.It passes from fairytale-like tunes with laid-back keyboards and guitars to a style close to the likes of FOCUS with dramatic guitar playing and beautiful, sensitive piano and keys with symphonic overtones.But when it gets really serious, the music is really kick-ass, especially during the opening side.A genuine mix of orchestral underlines, jazzy interludes and progressive structures with plenty of changing tempos and interesting interplays as well as a solid rhythm section.The long ''Pääntaivuttelun seuraukset-part 2'', which should be the pinnacle of the album, sounds a bit inconsistent with a few funky moves blended weirdly with bombastic Progressive/Jazz Rock.The rest of the album is very tight, instrumental Prog Rock with fast-paced passages and mellow themes, always led by sensitive piano and sharp guitar/keyboards shifts with Sally Oldfield providing a good bunch of atmospheric, wordless experiments.

I do not know if this surpasses the fantastic debut of Pohjola, but ''Keesojen lehto'' in nonetheless a great, instrumental Prog Rock album, sure to satisfy both fans of Symphonic and Jazz Rock.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Harakka Bialoipokku (aka B The Magpie) by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 103 ratings

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Harakka Bialoipokku (aka B The Magpie)
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars In 1974 Pekka Pohjola released his second solo album ''Harakka Bialoipokku''.It was however a hard year for him, as he also closed the life chapter called Wigwam forever.The album was released again on Love Records and featured a different line-up that on its debut, still quite impressive: A huge sax section with Eero Koivistoinen, Paroni Paakkunainen and Pekka Pöyry along with trumpetist Bertil Loefgren and drummer Tomi Parkkonen, while Coste Apetrea offers his guitar touch in one track.

With such a huge sax section you can expect a mindblowing Jazz Rock album, considering the great talent of Pohjola in arranging music pieces.Pohjola's second offering sounds a bit more flexible than his fantastic debut, not equally satisfying to my ears, but still containing plenty of fine moments.The endless sax deliveries with the melodic, twisting and virtuosic themes make ''Harakka Bialoipokku'' flirting dangerously with the emerging R.I.O. movement of the time.The saxophonists are accompanied by the great and deep bass lines of Pohjola, who again performs the piano parts, either offering short Classical-inspired introductions or catching up the groove of the tracks.Again a Pohjola album delivers lots of different approaches and the music ranges from pleasant to dramatic and cinematic.However it lacks the impressive interplays and unique rich sound of ''Pihkasilmä kaarnakorva'', with the exception maybe of the opening piece ''Alku'', which is a marvelous Jazz/Fusion/Prog track with symphonic references and amazing musicianship.

Not on the same level as Pohjola's debut, but again Virgin Records' executive Richard Branson was so impressed by this work that decided to release it the next year under the title ''B the Magpie'' for the English market.Warmly recommended to all fans of jazzy Progressive Rock.

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 Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva  by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.16 | 48 ratings

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Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars Pekka Pohjola was still a member of WIGWAM when he started his solo carer with this album. It has deservedly gained a classic status in Finnish Fusion, and internationally it is something charmingly unique. Featuring Jukka Gustavson of Wigwam, the soundscape has a lot of organ, but not any fast and furious one you hear in prog. I think this music has a very forest-like atmosphere. Other instruments include clarinet, soprano saxophone and flute, plus violin (by Pekka).

The biggest fault is the shortness of the album, but of course the quality comes before quantity. Pekka Pohjola's melodic and introspective musical identity has its recognizable trademarks here in the most beautiful and economical manner, and compared to his later albums featuring less organ and more brass and guitar, this one simply sounds better and more progressive. A great start for one of the most notable musicians in Finnish rock and jazz scene. Recommended warmly to fans of Finnish Fusion and early Wigwam to which this has a close relation.

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 Jokamies (aka Everyman) by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.70 | 21 ratings

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Jokamies (aka Everyman)
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Having heard Pekka Pohjola's first four solo albums before taking on this one, this one came across as something of a departure to me, dominated as it is by synthesisers. It comes across as an attempt to blend classical choral work with New Agey synthesiser meditations, and whilst there's nothing inherently silly about that idea at the same time I don't think it works particularly successfully here; rather than creating a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts, I feel that the album ends up adding subpar New Age music to subpar choral music and ends up with something mildly more irritating than either of its halves.

Those who come to Pekka's music specifically looking for his Zappa-esque hyperactive workouts or his more sedate fusion styles (as seen in albums such as Visitation) will find this album a disappointing oddity. Those who are particularly interested in fusions of electronic music and choral music might consider this a worthwhile attempt, but I'm sure there's better examples of this sort of thing out there.

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 Visitation  by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.36 | 99 ratings

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Visitation
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having spent two albums edging away from the comedic, Zappa-inspired whimsicality of his debut solo album, Pohjola injects a sense of fun back into his music with Visitation, particularly on the energetic and almost funky Dancing In the Dark. What's particularly notable here is that at this point the overt Frank Zappa homages are entirely out of the picture, Pohjola having arrived at his own distinctive style of fusion which is expressed with style and verve over the course of the album. Without any guest stars of the stature of Mike Oldfield to overshadow him, Visitation is purely Pohjola through and through, and an excellent expression of his maturing musical personality.

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 Keesojen Lehto (aka Mathematician's Air Display, The Consequences of Indecisions) by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.71 | 67 ratings

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Keesojen Lehto (aka Mathematician's Air Display, The Consequences of Indecisions)
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For his third solo album, Virgin offered Pekka Pohjola the chance to take advantage of the talents of Mike and Sally Oldfield and Pierre Moerlen - an inspired choice of guest artists, since the musical direction here moves yet further away from the Zappa-influenced sound of Pohjola's first two albums to explore a more serious brand of contemplative jazz-rock of a sort which would appeal to fans of Oldfield's work or of Pierre Moerlen's Gong's albums from this era.

Sadly, the presence of a star of Mike Oldfield's stature on the album would enable a scam which proved too tempting for the publishers to resist: in some territories, the album was entitled The Consequences of Indecisions and released as a Mike Oldfield album, a completely outrageous decision particularly considering that Pekka has sole songwriting credit on the album! Some other releases of the album credit it to Mike Oldfield, Sally Oldfield, and Pekka Pohjola - with Mike Oldfield's as the most prominent. These incredibly disrespectful rebrandings of the album represents a blatant attempt at deceiving the record-buying public into thinking that they were buying another Mike Oldfield album, but whilst the album would appeal to Oldfield fans, it's very much Pekka's show, and to misrepresent that is not only insulting to him, but is also kind of disrespectful to Mike Oldfield too.

None of that is relevant to my final rating, of course, which I am basing solely on the music presented here, but I did want to highlight that because I don't like the idea of people paying top dollar for a "rare Mike Oldfield album" only to find it's this.

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 Kätkävaaran Lohikäärme  by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.00 | 29 ratings

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Kätkävaaran Lohikäärme
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Vibrationbaby

3 stars Structured around Pekka Phjola's fluid bass melodies and arrangements this Finnish fusion jewel from one of modern music's unsung composers and arrangers breathes fire from the opening title track Katkavaaran lohikaarme ( The Dragon Of Katkavaara ), an extended showpeice that, like all the 4 tracks, was recorded straight with almost no overdubs which gives an intimate live group atmosphere. There is a lot here that will recall tyhe sounds of Larry Coryell's Eleventh House, John Abercrombie's Gateway albums as well as Focus' early seventies work with Jan Akkerman on guitar on this 1980 departure into a more compact group format territory of guitar, piano, bass & drums. Being familiar with Pohjala's earlier solo work as well as his collaoborations with Mike Oldfield and as bass player in Finnish progressive rock band Wigram I was pleasantly suprised when, on a whim, dug this out of the jazz section in a second hand shop in the early 80s when he was just becoming a bit more known on North American shores.

The first ( title ) track could have been cropped down a bit from it's 15 minute running time and can come off as a directionless jam at first but develops into a series of guitar freakouts interspersed by a groovy theme that gives it contrast and depth in between guitarist Seppo Tyni's electric outbursts. A traditional folky intro theme creates a lighthearted aura to the second track " tehdasmusliikia " and reveal the similarities between Tyni's and Akkerman's European electric guitar stylings and the main guitar melody sounds like it could have been lifted right out of an early 70s discarded Focus outake ( think " Tommy " from "Eruption " ), but Pojola's crafty arrangements save the day. Side two really rocks it out with " Sampololiini ", a fast jazzy track with a catchy bassline that cleverly morphs into a cool mellowed out bass solo that burns with passion that makes one wonder why it took Pohjola so long to be recognized out of his native Finland. The track is rounded off with a bright piano solo and a return to the theme. The last track " inke ja ma " has a spooky supernatural feel to it with it's minor keyed development that builds and builds to a intense conclusion. ( I wish I had the translations to this and the other 3 track titles. My LP copy is all in Finnish ).

This is perhaps one of the most interesting and fun Pekka Pohjola projects up to 1980. Prefering to work in larger group settings ( he had a full orchestra on 1979s Visitation ), The Dragon Of Katkavaara exposes a more laid back Pohjola and perhaps one of his last albums with a progressive rock appeal. Although not as adventurous as both previous and subsequent work Katkavaaran Lohikaarme is definitely an accessable starting point for those not familiar with this unsung Finnish maestro.

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 Visitation  by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.36 | 99 ratings

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Visitation
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by talha

5 stars This album will leave you speechless. It's a trip of wonderful moods and melodies.

Strange Awakening: You find yourself in a melody which has the energy, sweetness, epicness, and a little bit of craziness. It's not sad, it'll never make you cry. It's Pekka Pohjola. It's incredible. The melody continues on a more symphonic way while you stop thinking you are listening to jazz. It's not jazz. But then a sax solo, you're in it again. Then the melody again, it has a great instrumentation where everytime you hear the same melody, it feels different and stronger. Then Pekka gives us a great bass solo. Thank you, I didn't think I deserved that.

Vapour Trails: You're in a rock song. But again, it's not a regular one. I'm not going to try to describe the artist's melodies, you just need to hear it. This is the first time I'm listening to one of his albums and it's incredible. Song progresses into new areas where you feel more comfortable. Electric guitar solo begins and works perfectly. Progression. Sax solo. It's the same rhythm behind. Actually the last part of the song reminds me of 80s for some reason. That's ugly, right?

Image Of A Passing Smile: Now you're in a truly softer mood. It's sad, it's mysterious. Then the song slowly turns more insane. You don't know what to do. But it suddenly slows down, it's the saddest moment. Then just after that moment the song starts again with a truly insane rhythm and melody. It progresses into another rhythm, incredible instrumentation. The same feeling I got is from the King Crimson album "Lizard", because the melody actually sounds like a circus("Cirkus") theme, but it's insane, it has some deep problems to work on for years. It's a high point in musicianship to reach feelings like this in your music..

Dancer In The Dark: Reggea? OK, I guess I'll get used to it. I cannot praise this album enough. It's only the third time I'm listening to it, so I hope it's a healthy review. The song progresses with cool brass section. Some rhythm changes, some bass attacks.The song gets back to the beginning, OK we're going in again. With a gentle bass solo, the song fades out.

The Sighting: Another crazy song. I can't believe how I fell in love with his melodies. His chord progressions are the definition of prog rock. And it's symphonic like hell, and it has great solos, it always shifts the mood for a better one. You can embrace all that in this song, it's an incredible one as well.

Try To Remember: OK I will. I promise. The song starts with the gentlest bass melody. The string instruments show you the way, they whisper you the sad truth. But it's not even the third minute, the mood shifts into a more hopeful theme. Then excitement, the feeling of a Grand Finale! Brass section takes you away. The tempo only builds more. Rhythm change with a bass solo. Then the drums get more epic, more atmospheric, it's gonna explode! And it does! The brass section and the drums ends the epic journey with a short but incredible attack. Thank you Pekka Pohjola, thank you guys who put their heart into this album...

It's unbelievable that how many moods you can change in 31 minutes. Pekka Pohjola's incredible melodies and symphonic approach to progressive rock and the incredible instrumentation takes you to places you've probably never been before. Now I understand why some people think that this guy changed their music lives! Undoubtedly 5 stars. Recommended to human species, birds and butterflies. Frogs can listen to it too. But not cows. I don't like their staring. OK cows too.

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 Jokamies (aka Everyman) by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.70 | 21 ratings

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Jokamies (aka Everyman)
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by li.ouhhh

5 stars Pekka will live on in our hearts trough his music, and this album is just one out of all of his adventures

You could say that Pekka Pohjola (13.1.1952 ? 27.11.2008 *R.I.P.*) changed my life when I listened to his albums for the first time. The two first albums (1972 & 1974) and ''Visitation'' (1979) showed me the different side of jazzy fusion rock. Pohjola's production expands from very symphonic bass based jazz to more guitar depended guitar ballads with strong classical music influences. His fingerprint is heard in some Finnish progressive rock masterpieces such as ''Fairyport'' and ''Being'' by Wigwam and he has been associated with people such as Jukka Tolonen, Mike Oldfield and Frank Zappa. Unfortunately Zappa and Pohjola didn't end up into any conclusion whatsoever and the album wasn't ever made and Zappa died in 1991 (yea *R.I.P.* - this is the last time I use ''R.I.P.''-preference in my review). What's more about Pohjola, well, he's a Finnish multi-instrumentalist and certainly good with the touch on his bass. When people talk about Pohjola in Finland, we're talking about the best bass player ever existed in Finland (and one of the best ever existed in Europe) and a remarkable jazz artist.

Jokamies/Everyman didn't gain too much attention in its time in the middle of 80's. It's shame. Pohjola dropped off from the attention little bit he deserved after the 70's and you could say that the new punk-movement has something to do with it. If bands like Sex Pistols had never existed would the things be alike? I doubt not. I know that this is some drama 'bla bla bla' and Pohjola has gained lots of attention in Europe as a bassist but still the albums Pohjola released in his solo career in the 80's didn't grab as much attention as the earlier ones . I'm still not comparing this album to Pohjola's earlier album by any means, but after couple of listens, as in my case, many ears, you realize that this mister isn't joking around. The care is heard in his music and every albums has some of 'it'. And every album is different from another. If Pohjola thought that he had developed something bad ? he didn't release it. Only small flaw in Pohjola's music is that he has sometimes some obvious Zappa-influences, but I wouldn't hate him because of that. If you have heard the ''hot mice'' by Wigwam (from the album Fairyport and composed by Pekka Pohjola) you know what I'm talking about.

Jokamies/Everyman kinda continues the theme of B the Magpie and Visitation and relies on if you like symphonic ballad-kind of jazz. Still the album differs from all other Pohjola's albums by its long range of synth work. Music quite simple all in all but this simple album doesn't need anything else. Some people who won't listen to no other progressive bands like Rush, Yes, Genesis, KC etc. ? I don't know if you will love this album as a masterpiece or something above average, because from its struckture, this album reminds me of some kind of soundtrack. I don't remember if this album was really meant to be a soundtrack for the Finnish series with the same name but the drums have a bit cheap sound on this. They are obviously made by drum machine. Yea it sounds bad if I mention it just like this. But what if I approach it this way. Imagine you're watching a movie, a series whatever. You don't want to hear a drum solo in the middle of a dramatic moment don't you? It's not the part of the theme and yea. After couple of listens this won't bother you anymore. To my mind this album is trying to give you a certain mood. Pohjola hasn't never been those who like to improvise in the live performances and show some lighting speed bass solo'in. Composing is more like the idea in Pohjola's music. When he shows some of his smooth bass playing it has to fit into the song. Bass is Pohjola's guitar.

So, what is so exciting about the album that seemed so off-the-place and boring to some people? I don't know. It's obviously a concept album but doesn't offer you any story but the song titles show you the way. It fascinates me because of some reason. Like in B the Magpie the story of life is told without words and when the story is so simple it doesn't leave you wondering. The empty gaps in the story are created by your own imagination. In my opinion the album is about a simple man who ends up being in debt to some gangsters and when he's not able to pay it he's often harassed and made to pray for his life (''Kuolema?'' and ''Kuristus'' are the ones). The music is about the gloomy and depressive atmosphere caused by the stress and fear. Still this man finds out that there's more of his life and remembers peoples of his pasts and soon he and gets to known by new people (and even a woman?). Still in the end, may be that he gets killed by a hitman (''Umpikuja''). He dies happy, because the end of the album is very beautiful. ''Umpikuja'' is one of the Pohjola's high moments. The song is stunningly beautiful. The album was a story of man's life without words and I think you can identify a person who's about to die with all the people of your life in your mind, smiling.

These are my ''2deep4u''-words but this is what the album made me think. This made me go through my thoughts in a different way. Pohjola succeeded to make beautiful music again. Think of artists like Vangelis and Tangerine Dream and if you're into Rick Wakeman's newest productions this won't be confusing for you as a listening experience. This album is less eclectic of course.

Everyman/Jokamies is very aligned and it will be hard to rate the songs, but yea, let's rate 'em! ( I don't rate intros and outros, never, but exceptions will be made if they can hold on their own or if they're long. This album doesn't really have any long song)

Velka (Debt) (0:45): a short gloomy intro, an opener for the next song

Velkavanki (Gaol) (3:15)/****: Thickens the mood which is till gloomy. As a song it's a nice opener and the synths are good. Still this is the spot where the drum machine hits you. Not so much instruments used that you would hope. Even when this song doesn't hit you with its instrumental managements it'll become very iconic after couple of listens. This is ''the beginning''.

Blues Vernerille (Blues for Verneri) (3:47)/*****: Very cute like guitar ballad. If you think you can remember some random movie (a cheap one) about young love in the 70's this would easily fit into the theme. Guitar playing is good in this one and even when this isn't an epic it's still above the average guitar solo. Pohjola shows that he has a sense for romantics.

Kuolema? (Death?) (5:17)/*****: Two synths and a piano. Pohjola shows his powers in his style of compositions. A lovely song. Imagine yourself waking up in a place you don't know you are. I could describe this song like it. Atmosphere's a bit dark but a contradictory way to build up melody. I don't know if I should be relieved or scared. It confuses you and that's why this song is so fascinating.

Toivo (Hope) (2:32)/*****: 'Hope' describes this song well. Because of some reason the song reminds me of Camel's production. Here Pohjola tries to hit you with a solo synthesizer and succeeds at it. A nice composition.

Koraali (Coral) (3:17)/*****: Very happy, pure song after another. Mood is like in someone's wedding. A small choir sings something in Latin I guess and synths play a huge role in this too. If you're a friend of potential orchestral music you won't be disappointed.

Kuristus (Strangling) (5:00)/*****: Suddenly the tone become very doom like but still this is beautiful. It begins from a desperate and miserable mood but builds up the hope from the beginning to the end. Imagine yourself hanging from a cliff with one hand and your friend is hanging from the other. Your will is not crushed and you want to make it out. An awesome track and the guitar has a small role within the synths. In this song Keimo Hirvonen plays real drums!

Umpikuja (No Way Out) (7:26)/*****(the best track): Now we're talking. This is 'a song' and isn't tied up to the album so validly like the others. This song can stand on its own. The synths are wonderful, like they would have taken some influence from Italian progressive rock and Pohjola shows his touch in bass real time for the first time in this album (yes we get a wonderful bass solo). Guitars do the penetrating slide impact in the chorus. This is the most eclectic song on the album and the guitar makes the song a bit heavy. Composing is all in all perfect and richest the track on the album in an instrumental way. In my opinion this is one of the Pekka Pohjola's high moments as an artist.

Rakkaus - Vapaus (Relief) (2:50)/*****: Yea this album deserves a beautiful ending. This song is like ''Toivo'', but is more outro-ish. Pekka shows us a wide way to use synths.

Agnus Dei (3:28)/*****: This song could had been the best if it hadn't been so depended on singing. A choir sings and a visiting artist Kassu Halonen (nowdays very famous musician in Finland) shows a fine performance singing from the bottom of his throat. Style is very typical for the Finnish choir. If you have had your first touch in Finnish choir by listening Höyry-Kone's Huono Parturi intro ''Beata Viscera'', this is being sang in the same way. This shows how selective Pohjola can be. The option is very surprising and very fitting. This album deserved an ending like this. Very good!

The final rating: If we say that B the Magpie and Visitation earn full 5 stars then this album gets 4 and a strong half star. This isn't certainly for anyone, but it hit me! Deep! A very special album.

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 Harakka Bialoipokku (aka B The Magpie) by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 103 ratings

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Harakka Bialoipokku (aka B The Magpie)
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pekka Pohjola's second solo album sees him growing beyond the influence of Frank Zappa and exerting his own intriguing vision of fusion. The Zappa influence is still there, but on this album Pohjola also shows an ability to slow things down and adopt a more sombre and melancholic mood here, a majestic and uplifting air there. This greater versatility helps distinguish the album from its predecessor and establishes a unique atmosphere which sets it apart from other efforts in the fusion genre, as well as Pohjola's work in Wigwam. Fans of Pohjola's first album will be well advised to check this one out and witness his growth as an artist.

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