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Höyry-Kone - Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa CD (album) cover





3.86 | 72 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
5 stars Well this album seemed to be coming out of nowhere back in 95. The Scandinavian prog resurgence had only touched Sweden until now, but this octet will break all the rules and make a completely different music, even if they held some friendly ties with Anekdoten and especially their drummer Nordins. But as far as early Scandinavian groups are concerned, HK seems to be taking only after the superb Haikara which recorded three albums in the 70's and were seeing a bit of a return in the mid-90's with another two albums, even if those two are unrelated soundwise to this group.

Right from the first notes of the opening tracks, you wonder whether these guys are really serious in their music, for those "sick operatic" voices and the Zeuhl-ish jumpy bass has you wonder if they are not spoofing Magma (I'm not saying that Kobaian sounds like Finnish though) or just having a ball smoking one joint too many. Certainly throughout their short recording career (two albums), Kone will often have zany Zappa-esque moments combined with the Finnish propensity at being a little oblique to the good old Anglo-Saxon world. Even if their second track is calmer, HK will remain rather hard to grasp, even if their influences are clearly heard, they manage to remain completely original and even a tad innovative (love that cello), thus avoiding the trap that most of their Skaldic fellows fell into.

The album really starts with the lengthier third track (the Barren Dull) where that so-typical melancholy of the Far North and the Frippian guitars (League Of Crafty Guitarist) rule, providing some calm before the short stormy Pannuhuoneesta (well don't trust me, check up the page ;-) that breaks loose with an untameable RIO ala Miriodor criss-crossing with X-Legged Sally. In many ways, this last group might just be one of the closer resemblances (but this is still far from close) to Kone's musical realm.

The marvellous Luottamus track, IMHO, is one of the album's highlights because of its delicate soft jazz and its delicious final section where you'd swear you heard Baltic choirs calling you to paradise. Directly dominated by a wild instrumental Kaivoonkatsoje (yes, I swear I'm not making this up ;-) with Crimsonian guitars and a certain ambiance sometimes resembling Harmonium's twiddling with the Martenot Waves on L'Heptade. The lengthier Kosto (Revenge) is again another tour de force with an excellent booming bass, weird and wondersome vocals and a wild violin, reminiscent of David Cross. With each new track, the album is getting stranger and strangest and the instrumental Hätä takes us out of this galaxy for the second highlight of the album. While the group never gets as violent as X-L S (this might be due to the weaker production job), they do strike our imagination as hardcore by certain aspects of their music. The last two tracks are more of the "same" (as if these guys managed to make the same) and ending on the title track (Insects) and how to accommodate them to your liking. Oh yes, there was a time where hidden tracks were in and we get woken up after a minute of silence by a mad chaos lasting some 30 seconds.

The sad thing about the group is that they had signed for a small Swedish label Ad Perpetuam Memoriam, which unfortunately will not remain for posterity and HK albums are now hard to come by, with few chances of a re-pressing. Sadly so, because Kone's music is probably one of the most original since the closing of the 70's. In any case, should you one-day find one of their albums, jump on it, and discover one of prog's best kept secret. But be forewarned that your brains and ears will suffer an irreversible alienation that will transform you further into a sorcerer of sounds emanating from your speakers

Sean Trane | 5/5 |


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