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Haikara - Iso Lintu CD (album) cover

ISO LINTU

Haikara

Eclectic Prog


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4 stars This is absolutely hardest to find of every Haikara albums. I have only borrowed it from the library couple of times and there is only one Iso Lintu vinyl in only one library of whole Helsinki area. It haven´t been released in cd format. That´s real pity, because this one is also very good, thought quite uneven. The songs are much different and shorter than in the two first albums averagely and there are some weaker pieces, like the starter Hotellinainen. But there are four songs which are very great. The track Romanssi is a piece from the Kuutamo, which is a composition for Haikara group and symphony orchestra including five parts. The whole composition is recorded for radio, but I have no idea how one could hear it nowadays. But this Romance track from it, is very, very good. Other good track is the longest and absolutely most progressive track Kuinka ollakaan. Last songs Aamu and Jäähyväiset are very good and attractive songs, both, but Aamu is the better and more versatile. If you find this record, don´t hesitate to pay, (if you don´t think the price is too much) there are real jews in it!!
Report this review (#32752)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars Of course, it's a good record, actually pretty good psychedelic/heavy prog. Except first terrible, completely ugly and nasty song, because of which I almost threw this record away in anger and stomped over it gazillion times (think jiggawats) to shred it to the microscopic dust particles.

This fortunately didn't happen. However, if this song reminds me something, it is "Trout Mask Replica", which is my prog Nemesis number one. Except this, other tracks are quite different, following path of Eclectic prog (but not as much as KC, or VdGG), they simply remains mild and calmer during late minutes of this album, to the extent that they became something, undefinable, mellow keyboards driven thing that escapes definitions. Again. Some songs (variant on "some argue") sounds even like rock 'n' roll more than prog.

And everything is extremely rough, raw and sounds almost like demo. Not bad quality of sound, but of record instead. But at the same moment, there's beauty of flute passages with minimalistic sound (and almost lacking other instruments), reminding me old classic films from 40-50's. Very weird feeling, which I haven't had for a long time.

4(-) with skipping first song, or at least only to play it when I'm "in mood". Some songs, however, are extraordinary and are little bit "out", reaching high ratings and conceptions, while others are just nice fillers, with not so heavy weight. Unequal album.

Report this review (#262938)
Posted Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars (2/10)

First to second album was somewhat of a change for Haikara, but second to third was a drastic change. The band is now almost entirely removed from the music of their excellent debut. This is strange, because a lot of things are the same. The cover art is still weird, the instruments are the same, the vocals are still in Finnish, the flute and saxophone are still around, and the guitar is just the same. We even keep nearly the same lineup from "Geafar" (with the only change being that Matti Heinänen comes in to replace Auli Lattunenno on vocals). But "Iso Lintu" is very different to the first two albums, and I'm afraid it's a turn for the worse.

The album is composed of much shorter, and much more simplistic songs, none breaking the 5 min mark. The album itself only comes in at about 29 min! The band was with a record company that wanted short catchy singles (see the bonus tracks also) and were having to make a lot of compromises. Actually, some of the members of the band were pushing in this direction too, which is probably why they subsequently broke up and went on a 22 year hiatus (Vesa Lattunen would return in 1998 to reform the band). In fact, Lattunen himself says "The main reason was that the drummer and the bass player wanted to play more commercial music to make more money". That's not to say short songs or albums are a problem (think Gentle Giant), but in this case, the album is short because the songs are very basic, and there isn't much to them.

Some songs that did catch my attention though. "Romanssi" is a more measured piece, with a slightly more mellow mood in line with Haikara's previous albums. In fact, "Romanssi" is a part of their composition for group and symphony orchestra "Kuutamo", that will hopefully one day see the light of day. "Für Hanna" is a neat little instrumental track that I enjoy for its delicate flute sounds. "Kuinka Ollakaan" also provides a bit of an early-Tull vibe, with the hard guitar, and slightly dirty flute. These are all rather belated highlights though. A handful of other tracks also achieve this same kind of style, but nothing else is particularly good, they just come off more as mild and unremarkable rather than elegant or energetic.

Songs like "Hotellinainen" and the (arithmetically problematic) short track "2+2=5" are completely not prog. The former is a hard rock 'repeat-the-name-of-the-song-to-form-the-chorus' piece, and the latter sounds exactly like if The Kinks had sung in Finnish. That sort of music has it's place, but it is not in a prog rock collection. Looking at the English names of the songs (e.g. "The Hotel Woman") it also seems like this time it probably isn't worth searching for a translation of the lyrics. The vocals are pretty forgettable for the most part anyway.

What we are left with is a band where the ambition is mostly gone, and much of the music is not even that progressive. A lot of this is just verse/chorus/verse fare, with nothing to mark it out but the embellishments of flute, sax and occasional strings. The guitar has got very standard too. Being short is a saving grace of the album. It is often boring, but I wasn't bored to death, only because it is over very quickly. This is not a good compliment to be given. Perhaps this is not a tedious experience, but the album does not really stand up at all to repeated listens. Don't waste you time on "Iso Lintu".

Report this review (#812643)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Haikara is a quite famous Finnish band which first and second records have gained a lot of appreciation. This third record though seems to be forgotten. It has an ugly cover, low rating and it's perhaps impossible to get outside Finland, I don't know. Well I saw it on Spotify and couldn't resist listen to it.

"Iso lintu" is Haikara's third record and it was released in 1976. The cover is very special. I wrote it was ugly but it's also quite unique. Please study the picture at least! They look very nice in their white dresses.

I loved this music, that is my statement of this. Even if the song format is short I am not doubting about say this is prog. The instrumentation is very good and Haikara uses different instruments in a very professional way. Actually there is no weak moments here. The Finnish language is allways different but I think it works perfectly here and gives the music a national feel that is necessery to make music real. The record is also varied, from the comical "Hotellinainen" (with a Beatles-noise), to a prog pop song in "Leppäkerttu" and a medieval tune (à la Gryphon) in "Für Hanna". "Leppäkerttu" is so joyful and there is som much vital joy here. Especially the wind instruments adds perfection to this music. In "Romanssi" the sweet melody reminds me very much of The Web's "War and Piece-suite". Listen to both, Web's song is a masterpiece and Haikara's very good.

Perhaps the vocals could have been little more professional and they could have made longer, even more interesting songs. That doesn't make this worse. Yes I admit I haven't heard earlier Haikara. Is it a crime? I'll se when I hear them. This is a recommended record!

All songs: Für Hanna(10/10), Kuinka ollakaan(8/10), Romanssi(8/10), Leppäkerttu(8/10), Golgata(8/10), Hotellinainen(7/10), 2+2=5(7/10), Aamu(7/10) and Jäähyväiset(7/10)

Report this review (#1036125)
Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The highly acclaimed Finnish prog group HAIKARA confronted the dilemma between artistic ambitions and commercial demands, when their 2nd album Geafar (1974) didn't sell well enough to please the record company. Left without a deal, they found a new opportunity after Vesa Lattunen had made arrangements for Jukka Kuoppamäki's album. The popular singer had his own record company, Satsanga Records. Iso Lintu was recorded in March 1975 with a new vocalist, Matti Heinänen, in the line-up. The album received mixed feelings at the time, and basically that hasn't changed in nearly 40 years.

'Hotellinainen' (Hotel woman) sounds nearly terrible: hard and gritty, riff-based rock finished with bad vocals and noisy saxes. 'Kuinka ollakaan' is also rather straight-forward rock song, but the brief orchestration, flute and an instrumental part make it very interesting. In under five minutes (still the longest track of the album) it's extremely economic prog! Actually, nearly half of the songs are less than three minutes; the total length is about 31 minutes. 'Romanssi' is a melancholic and romantic nocturnal song with a very elegant arrangement, especially various wind instruments are put in excellent use. Beautiful, classically influenced prog!

'2+2=5' may also have a nice arrangement, but the repetition of "kaksi ynnä kaksi on viisi!" is irritating. I'm not sure whether I like 'Leppäkerttu' (Lady Bug) or not. It has some prog rock feel in a naiive, tight song structure. 'Golgata' I definitely don't like as a whole, which is a pity since it contains some very nice details within three minutes. Maybe the vocals make it bad to my ears.

'Für Hanna' is a tiny pretty art music piece, or at least an attempt to be one; the percussion is not credible at all, but so what, this is a rock album anyway. 'Aamu' is a beautiful highlight the same way as 'Romanssi', and the final song 'Jäähyväiset' (Farewell) is perhaps the album's finest fusion of art music and pop music elements. So, this album is indeed very uneven. It includes beautiful stuff for a measure of an EP / mini-album.

As bonuses in the 2013 CD release one gets all four songs (by Vesa Lattunen & Company) of the 1979 EP called Lauluja Dylanilta (Songs by [Bob] Dylan). Wasn't 'Mighty Quinn' covered by Manfred Mann? The synths in this translation sound very Mannish. 'All Along the Watchtower' has seen numerous covers from Hendrix to Affinity etc, but it has never been among my personal Dylan favourites, despite its intensity. Lattunen & Co. do a decent job musically, but the vocals are quite bad, maybe the translation as well. 'North Country Blues' was not a familiar song to me. Here its good translation is sung by Liisa Lampi - why I haven't heard of her before? An excellent folk performance à la Joan Baez! 'When the Ship Comes In' was neither familiar. As a song it resembles 'Times They Are A-Changin' and this version featuring both male and female vocals makes me remember The Seekers.

The fifth bonus track 'Janne' was Lattunen's composition for a yearly Finnish song contest (Syksyn Sävel) in 1980. It's about Jean Sibelius, whose Finlandia hymn is also cited in the music. This song may be a bit kitchy cross-over entertainment music, but quite charming! With these bonuses Iso Lintu is without a doubt worth three stars.

Report this review (#1205993)
Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 | Review Permalink

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