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Uzva - Tammikuinen Tammela CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.54 | 36 ratings

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4 stars Ewok Canterbury

Taking the back-road into Scandinavia, I've decided to swing round the Baltic sea and head for the majestic forests of Finland. Ever since the early 70s this country has been dishing out a regular swirl of progressive acts - often taking their cue from the psychedelic whims of the Floyd, the avantguarde and perhaps even more so the playful loony-bin energy from the British town of Canterbury. You can hear it in bands like Tasavallan Presidentti, WigWam, Haikara as well as in the eclectic catalogue of bass man Pekka Pohjola. The feel is that of whimsical melodic intonation and roaring galloping fusion.

Uzva too belongs to this Finnish branching of the Canterbury sound. While decisively more influenced by Nordic folk music, you still sense a good whiff of their natural heritage. If you ask me, the combination of the northern folk woof and blazing jerky Brit fusion should've been done a long time ago. Whereas this group would show even more signs of their Canterbury influences in their subsequent releases, the next one even sporting a suite entitled Soft Machine, this is still were it all began, and incidentally also where the lovable northern twist is at it's most audible.

Now don't go ahead thinking this'll have the same manic tempi and brute power of The Softs, because that is certainly not the case. On Tammikuinen Tammela(Man, I'm not typing that again) the Canterbury essence seems to be slowed down to an unhurried dreamy concoction. With all the different traditional folk instruments in play, the moods recall the very nature surrounding it - and why would you make reckless zooming music to portray the vast green carpentry of nature, when you can slow things down to an enigmatic folky steam? Maybe I am not making any sense, but the infusion of violin and cello alters this music and it's otherwise wild locomotion to an infinitely more sensuous and natural sounding entity. I hear deep blue forest lakes, black granite mountain walls, howling owls in trees and a genuine musical adaptation of the light we get up here, that at times gets so white that it feels like it's going to burn straight through your cornea like sunbeams of lava.

You additionally get clarinet, trombone, French horn(Yay!), steel pans, accordion and last but not least acid box(?) to complement the conventional gathering of bass, drums and guitar. With all of this frolicking about in reeds and zany things like steel pans and that acid box, these guys are almost bound to end up in the vicinity of Frank Zappa, and sure they do. Just imagine dear old Franky boy joined by a couple of Ewok musicians after a good healthy dosage of opium.

This album is as relaxing as an autumn breeze - only briefly do you sense a storm front brewing, like on the last track. Otherwise the moods are kept in an alluringly lush folky ambiance that only really shows signs of impending onslaughts by way of the ridiculously twitchy drum-work.

Recommended to Ewoks and people of the jazz forest. Yeah, you know who you are! Remember me for your upcoming winter event, where numerous blind dates with bears are to be won. Count me in - I'll bring this album with me for romance, serenity and peace of mind.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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