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Utopianisti - Utopianisti II CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 23 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Utopianisti's second artifact for the music markets resonates vibrantly, featuring a vast concentration of other local musicians, reaching nearly strength of thirty talented players (!). With the vivid bombast of the record´s personal style, having elements from jazz fusion, prog rock standards, folk music leanings of different cultures, avant-gardist solutions and even some heavy metal licks, I believe the owl, rabbit and fox presented on the cover could blow out the Musicians of Bremen to some other fable. Frank Zappa has been mentioned as a source of inspiration for the album: an artist certainly being an idol for Mr. Pajakkala, as there was even a song credited for his honor on Utopianisti's debut album. However this fascination has not been a motive to mimic the style of Frank, but to create something own with similar courage and intelligence as the mentioned innovator.

The album seems to be segmented in three phases, starting with Pajakkala's solo own compositions. Begin is rough; A song inspired by messy diaper change oppresses the listener immediately with trumpeting stampede, associating for me due their tonal resemblances to Stabath Akish's rampage, and having hints of Kauhukakara's cavalcade of different animal forms expressed through logical sonic idioms. Some heavier guitar driven sequences blend in pleasantly to the horn dominated starting motives, and turn the feeling from cinemascopic feelings towards new territories. The second track brought me some memories of Höyry-Kone's mixture of sung classical music and heavy prog or Zappa's vocal classical sequences from the film "200 Motels". This song also features two uprising operatic singers, soprano Suvi Väyrynen and baritone Waltteri Torikka. The third song "Pohjola" ("Northern Land") is a mournful and beautiful lamentation for the late Pekka Pohjola. "Tango Succubus pt.2" reminds then again the more disorderly second composition of the record, but the fifth track "The Forest of The Bald Witch" rose for me as one of the highlights of the album, having some Jethro Tull reminding motives, fine guitar solo explorations and Mellotron carpets decorating the black woods of the hair-lost conjurer. The organic sounds and compositional varieties are first countered with the electronic minimalism of "Bisphenol A", which later succeeds to annihilate the presumptions from the song by discarding the electronic pulsing with a electric guitar power and weird tricks from the arrangement level. "Kynttilöitäkin on vain yksi" rejoices in acoustical, almost klezmer oriented moods, and the final track on this first phase of the album sums up the heavy metal jazzcore fusion adventures, and passes the microphone to Finland's own Captain Beefheart, Mr. Pharaoh Pirttikangas.

The second phase of the record locates at the JJ Studio in Tampere, being recorded with group Black Motor and pianist Jon Ballantyne. Possibly the setup forced the studio session master Pajakkala on direr proposition with levels of dominance and risk-taking impulsiveness on the takes captured with live playing method. This area oscillates with more relaxed feelings and the already familiar aggressive gonzo-attacks than the carefully recorded studio takes; "The Sundays of Love and Peace", "Too Many Eyeholes" and "Derelicts of Space" linger on the bar stand with serene jazzy lounging, only "Mechanoid Makeout Music" blends more the avant elements familiar from the record's first phase. I would recommend the featured group Black Motor to anybody interested in fine free jazz, the group has reached very convincing merits at Finland through several releases, collaborative projects and awards.

The third phase of this trip is a long improvisation mash-up, featuring some interesting raga-rock contemplations from Mr. Mentu known also from the local group Aalto. Ca. ten minutes long afterquake sums up the two first phases of this album, and leave an appetite for later listens. Personally the softer pieces from the middle of the record were first easier to digest, but having history of rejoicing capabilities of late Mr. Zappa's chaotic productions, the more vivid rootin' tootins' opened up after some listening.

So according my own judgment, this CD is a warm-hearted and personal recording from talented musicians, meeting certainly the standards of global interest from direct local activity and presence is on the edge of your current awareness. Also the goal of the composer of doing music by avoiding some conventional rules of music and thus reaching new angles to sonic arts is in my opinion reached. What matters more to me is a hope of honesty on art creation process, a spiritual factor I believe shimmering from this album. During year 2014 there should be also a line-up formed from this collective ready to perform on concert venues, and it would be delightful to see them doing their thing on a stage.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 4/5 |


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