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Qumma Connection - Unique CD (album) cover


Qumma Connection



3.87 | 14 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Qumma Connection is a Finnish project led by Qumma = Rami Talja, who makes also visual art and graphic designs -- such as these album covers. Qumma's instruments are Warr guitar and Stick bass, and he's played also on albums of the prog group Contemporary Dead Finnish music Ensemble. Qumma is joined by Pate Kivinen (keyboards), Tuukka Helminen (cello), Pasi Rupponen (drums, percussion) and Marika Liuski (voice). Female voice is used in a wordless, instrument-like manner here and there; we still can talk of basically instrumental music.

Qumma Connection's first album Arabesque (2008) concentrated on the riff-centred and rather dark-toned angularity reminding of the latter-day KING CRIMSON. Liuski guested for one track, in which she sang properly with lyrics. Especially Arabesque doesn't really sound like Neo Prog at all, perhaps Eclectic Prog would fit better. This second album progresses logically from its predecessor, sounding a little bit more open and melodic -- or, shall we say, less UNmelodic -- and thus approaching the Neo-ish, modern, shiny sound with less focus on the low tones of Warr guitar. Another good thing is that Maikki Liuski's voice is heard on several tracks. For the Finnish audience she may be remembered from the semi-prog rock group Five Fifteen (not on PA) that was active mostly in the 90's.

Intensive 'Hysteria' starts the album powerfully. The combo rocks hard but the track contains chorus-like sections softened by chant-like vocals. On 'Euforia' the keyboards are relatively central, giving me an association of GOBLIN or FM. The melody soars majestically, and on more delicate moments the cello gets a special attention. 'Control' has a Crimsonesquely angular guitar riff going on, while cello adds melodies and the vocalese part brings a shamanistic flavour.

The title track is relatively spacey despite the ongoing riff, and especially the cello sounds fine. Nice dynamics on this one, and on several other tracks as well, but the album as a whole could have bigger variety between the tracks, for example by having pieces totally oriented to more delicate playing. The beginning of 'Shining Bright Black Part II' is a ghostly mix of synths and a synthetic male voice, which (deliberately?) is associated with the artificial intelligence HAL going crazy in "2001 Space Odyssey", and I would have preferred the entire track staying synths-only. 'Ra Sole' uses a lot of Mellotron-sounding keyboards. At times this 8-minute composition approaches freaky jamming. The more fast-paced and restless 'Demonia' also contains heavy layers of retro- sounding keyboards. The final track 'Hymn of the Extinct Volcano' does have a hymn-like spirit, but with a rather noisy and sharp soundscape.

As a counterpoint to all the intensity and angularity there are also slightly softer moments to make Unique a rewarding album of instrumental [eclectic] prog. 3 stars rounded up for good-looking graphics.

Matti | 4/5 |


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