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Sukellusvene - Vesi- Ja Lintumusiikkia CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.83 | 5 ratings

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5 stars Founded in the early seventies, Finnish band Sukellusvene (= Submarine) already had a colourful past when they spent four days in a recording studio in the autumn of 1978. The result, this sole album with a title meaning Water and Bird Music, was released by then-dying Love Records in May 1979, and it sold 300 copies. For a long time it was a collector's item remembered only by a limited number of people, but thanks to Svart Records and their honourable mission to re-release good albums -- prog and other genres -- with informative, interview-based liner notes, it hopefully has started to rise to the international appreciation it surely deserves.

Although the band had performed also vocal songs, their recorded output is entirely instrumental. At this point featuring two guitarists, a keyboard virtuoso, saxophonist-clarinetist and a rhythm section (all members being highly gifted, educated musicians), Sukellusvene created a six-piece album that doesn't much pale in comparison to fusion's leading names such as RETURN TO FOREVER and WEATHER REPORT, or their countryman JUKKA TOLONEN. Sadly the flautist Maikki Talasmo, sister of Lassi's, didn't get the chance to play on the album. Flute would have been a nice addition to the sound, which is of course very fine and versatile also the way it is.

The opening track composed by guitarist Jukka Mäkinen is called 'Hiilijuna'. That's Finnish for "coal train", see the musical reference? After a classically oriented 3-minute piano intro it starts to groove, several enjoyable solos following each other in a lively and elegant manner. The other guitarist Tapani "Teippi" Tuomanen developed the second track in Montpellier during his Interrail trip and finished the piece in the hotel room on the morning of the recording day! The melodic composition is slightly reminiscent of CAMEL's instrumental stuff. Bassist Pekka Muhli wrote 'Ilmojen halki' (= Through the air) which is a bright and happily jazzy number. Again solos for various instruments appear in turns, always serving the coherence completely; there are no swollen egos in this group.

B-side of the vinyl starts with two pieces written by keyboardist Kari Litmanen. More than the rest of the album, they are spiced with funk, but they are no less jazz/ fusion to start with. I'm not a friend of plain funk, but when it's an ingredient of instrumental fusion music (well, sometimes also prog: Gentle Giant!), it often works really well, like it does here. The other Tuomanen-penned piece 'Tosikertomuksia' (= True stories) finishes the album beautifully. If you purchase the re-release, there are also the tracks from the single which was recorded in the same sessions and released the same month as the album. More of them in a separate review. It's evident that this album is a delight to a listener of 70's fusion. Is it enjoyable, original and well-done enough for full rating? My answer is yes. A classic that simply was too good and intellectual for the narrow-minded musical climate of the time. As fresh today as ever.

Matti | 5/5 |


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