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XL Surreal album cover
3.95 | 2 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. PlimPlomLePetitBonBon (5:33)
2. Sir Real (2:16)
3. Surreal (2:25)
4. Hitta Någon Att Tycka Om (4:04)
5. Evil Spirit (4:40)
6. The Dark Lord (4:21)
7. Oktober (4:04)
8. Elohopeaa (3:24)
9. Avanto (7:59)
10. PlimPlom II (3:15)
11. Toledo (6:57)
12. YouAndTheStarsAndTheMusic (4:05)

Total Time 53:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Arttu Takalo / midivibes, sequencer
- Jarmo Saari / guitar, sampler
- Tuure Koski / bass
- Tomi Salesvuo / drums, percussion
- Dj. Bunuel / sound effects

Releases information

CD Rockadillo/Pohojla PELPCD 14

Thanks to clarke2001 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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XL Surreal ratings distribution

(2 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

XL Surreal reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
4 stars Sadly I'm still the only reviewer for this highly original Finnish group that came from the jazz circles and broke all barriers with their [mostly] instrumental music. XL was active from 1992 to 2004, and its two main composers, guitarist Jarmo Saari and vibes player Arttu Takalo have both made albums of their own and been respected studio and live musicians for a wide variety of artists.

Surreal is XL's fourth studio album. The line-up had seen the addition of Dj. Bunuel on voice and sound effects. Compared to the earlier albums, the band's eclectic expression has become much edgier and more unpredictable. The funnily titled opening track 'PlimPlomLePetitBonBon' is relatively calm and full of magical atmosphere. The vibes are upfront for the moody melodies and "The XL Orchestra" (consisting of a string quartet, double bass, clarinet, French horns and harps) enriches the soundscape with elegant details. There's also a female voice speaking in French here and there. Fast-paced 'Sir Real' features rather heavy riffs and intense playing. Mix Penguin Cafe Orchestra with Led Zeppelin and you might get some faint idea.

'Surreal' has pulsating electronica-like elements reminiscent of artists like J-M. Jarre, Air or Stereolab, but in the end it is unmistakable XL. 'Evil Spirit' has a threatening atmosphere underlined by Dj. Bunuel's low voice. Interesting details in the sound, but the beat is a bit too strong for my taste. 'The Dark Lord' is mostly unenjoyably hectic and noisy, but the more melodic sections are fascinating. One could imagine 'Oktober' to be an art rock song in which vocals have been replaced by vibes. 'Elohopeaa' means quicksilver in Finnish, and the extremely fast track is indeed all over the place. Frank Zappa would nod his head!

The ride has been so wild this far that it's nice to have a bit calmer piece: 'Avanto' has a psychedelic groove reminding slightly of Ozric Tentacles. There are voice samples in Finnish that sound like being from a priest's sermon -- perhaps from some old film? 'PlimPlom II' is the first track one really could describe as peaceful and soothing. The leading instruments are two harps. Beautiful. After that sonic oasis we're again kidnapped into the nocturnal, murky side streets where a low-voiced man speaks in English. The ending piece 'YouAndTheStarsAndTheMusic' (sic) is gorgeous, perhaps slightly sentimental in its cinematic nature. All in all Surreal is one hell of an album, extremely risk-taking, varied and dynamic, and yet surprisingly coherent. If there were less of the noisiest and edgiest elements that I was a bit uncomfortable listening to, I might think of giving a full rating. A prog listener with ears wide open probably finds a lot to appreciate here, but (s)he may also feel the music occasionally to be too clever for its own good. Definitely not recommended as a cosy background listening!

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