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Scapa Flow

Prog Folk

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Scapa Flow Uuteen Aikaan album cover
3.59 | 21 ratings | 5 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Valmiina heräämään (4:24)
2. Salaisuuksien satiiniverhot (6:14)
3. Mikä aamu (5:38)
4. Uuteen aikaan (4:22)
5. Tuuleen kaiverretut portaat (4:48)
6. Koi (2:17)
7. Askel ylöspäin (6:08)

Total Time: 33:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Timo Seppänen / guitar
- Asko Ahonen / bass
- Ismo Järvinen / flute, saxophone, vocals

- Leevi Leppänen / drums
- Pia-Maria Noponen / vocals
- Eero Kolehmainen / keyboards

Releases information

Kompass KOLP 22
cd reissue by Rocket Records ROK-045 (2010)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Eetu Pellonpää for the last updates
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SCAPA FLOW Uuteen Aikaan ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SCAPA FLOW Uuteen Aikaan reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Good album and band from Finland formed in 1976 with one album released in 1980 in vinyl format at Kompass records didn't get very much attention in that period and because of that very unknow in prog circles . They have the sound and manner of interpretation something between their country fellows Nova, Tabula Rasa with a touch of folk elements . A very good voice of lady Pia Maria Noponen, warm and beautiful voice. They released a single album in 1980 and after nobody heared of them. Anyway if you are intrested in progressive music with folk leanings, check this one out. Nothing groundbreaking but pleasent all the way, and a record much better than many of that era, 1980 is a year when prog was in the shadow, but from time to time were bands and albums that keep the flag high in progressive music. 3 stars, a good album all the way, worth to be investigated from time to time.
Review by kenethlevine
2 stars Something of a cross between OUGENWEIDE, NOVALIS and modern day Finnish prog like VIIMA, SCAPA FLOW, curiously named for the body of water within Scotland's Orkney Islands, released this sole album of symphonic influenced progressive folk in 1980. While it is a mature work with plenty of accomplished arrangements and appealing guest female vocals, the compositions and songs themselves do not rise to the historical prominence of the group's namesake.

The two main highlights are the opener "Salaisuuksien Satiiniverhot" which builds nicely into a full-on Camel-esque romp in the vein of "Snow Goose", and the sensuous "Tuuleen Kaiverretut Portaat" which is a more measured and reflective tune than anything else here. The flute, acoustic guitar and organ combination which promises more than it delivers, with a preponderance of vivacious but forgettable passages, banal male vocals, and pedestrian rhythms reaching low points on "Salaisuuksien Satiiniverhot" and on the dull-Tull of "Mika Aamu" in which the sax and synths intercede without personality.

Worth a listen for lovers of the midnight sun and flute-oriented prog, "Scapa Flow" isn't quite up to second rate on this specialized channel. 2.5 stars rounded down.

Review by Matti
4 stars One of the lost and newly-found (that is, released as a CD recently) items of the Finnish prog history. Appeared on vinyl in 1980 but if I remember right was actually written years earlier, or at least the band had existed for years before their sole album finally came out to deaf ears. What else could one expect at the time when artistic prog rock was completely out of fashion? Stylistically this album could have come at the later haydays of prog, say 1975 (when TABULA RASA's debut came out); if there are sonic details or production more modern than mid-70's, they are neatly interwoven into the whole. And what's best, the album does not sound dated as so many of the late 70's/ early 80's albums do. Sound is tidy and clear but not clinic at all. It even has a folky feel.

Indeed, as Kenethlevine has already mentioned, this band comes close to the recent Finnish band called VIIMA and especially their wonderful debut which featured a female vocalist. SCAPA FLOW's vocalist is Pia-Maria Noponen who afterwards moved to Italy and has sadly passed away, if I remember the liner notes accurately. Also flute (and sax) is featured, in a more or less same manner as in Tabula Rasa or Viima (don't think of Ian Anderson). Melodic and delicate music bears some resemblance to Camel and Finnforest.

The tracks are not very long but they are quite complex and progressive in nature. Unfortunately, with only seven tracks, the album is only under 34 minutes long. (And in these days when 78 minutes is not rare running time of a CD, that can be frustrating. Actually it shouldn't feel like a fault if an album misses the standard 40+ length by few minutes!) But frankly, when the album is short, the more all of the material ought to be far from dull moments. I agree with Kenethlevine that there are forgettable passages, as well as banal male vocals (why, oh why?) What a pity: easily this could have been a top-notch classic stuff. 3½ stars - rounded up to keep the balance.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I'm uncertain if this charming album has as much merits for a global listener as it had for me as a Finn, and also as a person open for the stylistic choices of music and moods of the lyrics. The fragile spiritualism of the album flow with visions of early 80's Finnish post-agricultural sceneries, and led me to a sensational voyage of dreams and memories.

In the beginning of the record, sorrowful, longing voice of late Pia-Maria Noponen echoes from the past preserved on the tapes, full of melancholia contemplating the autumn's sadness, and the readiness to awaken to anticipations of distantly approaching next summer. Subtle keyboard driven intro leads to a more dynamic main theme, resembling Tabula Rasa with nice 70's sounding guitars and beautiful flute melody lines. The vocal harmonies of male and female singers resemble the rhymes of Peter, Paul and Mary, arranged to slightly gospel oriented rock passages. The sadness of early Van Der Graaf Generator recordings was also one association received through the saxophone's presence upon acoustic rock texture.

Mystery of the satin carpets are sown to web of anticipating guitar chords, and revealed after a thunder storm has passed by. Strongly audible soft bass line carries forward this song, which has slight feeling of 60's hippie anthems in the vocal lines and euphorically waving melodies. Ethereal verse longs for the arrival of mythic muse hidden to the heavens and riches of the nature. Later part of the song has curious experimental phase for effect-treated instruments, percussions and flautist's innovation, gaining wind to sails for venturing further to the seas of pathos.

The pleasant rhythmic solutions of "Mikä aamu" are accompanied by Jethro Tull resembling flute solos, lyrics focusing to the anxiety of everyday life in controlled society, binding us to the capitalistic enterprises. Both joy of dreams and power of suppressing realities are presented in their own compositional motives. Following them, an acoustic guitar of a lovingly calm pastoral intro leads to another weary description of normal day of life, facing the terrors of technological threats troubling a small man, and thinking what the new age is about after all. Most healing religious rock sphere of passion has solos directed for organ, flutes professionally supporting. After this, piano and lady singer's voice conjure a tender melodic tale of stairs carved to the wind, a really touching anthem of dreaming, yearning to escape searching a better place.

The song title "Koi" could refer to a moth, but I think more likely it meaning the Finnish word for dawn. Acoustic guitar and flute dominate this instrumental song, which reminded in its style the early recordings of Rufus Zuphall. The conclusion of the album opens with fine acid guitar solo, helping to take a step above, strengthening with its words this major lyrical theme of the record. After a quiet folk glade for vocal harmonies, the return to psychedelic sound treated main theme maneuvers forward with religious certainty, shimmering with a warm flame of love. Nice instrumental passage with neat rhythm arrangements follows, exiting the album with darker guitar riff and saxophone solo.

At time of releasing I believe the album was much in opposition for the public taste focusing to rock'n'roll and punk movement, though I understood it was praised by the critics. I believe the band succeeded better than Tabula Rasa in reaching objectives of spiritual oriented art rock expressionism. Though there are no clear doctrines of organized religion mentioned in the lyrics, unlike the album "Ekkedien Tanssi" of group mentioned, which focused to Christianity. The themes are however very powerfully oriented with spiritual subjects, the certainty of other worlds being clearly present in the feeling of the group's melodic idioms and lyrics. The album also enforces the mournful philosophies with glimpses of hope similar from Nova's solitary record and Haikara's debut album from the Finnish 1970's prog scene. My appreciation for this highly spiritual album is as great as for these two mentioned.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Forming in Helsinki, Finland in 1976, prog-folk group Scapa Flow delivered a sole release in 1980, their debut album `Uuteen Aikaan'. Despite containing plenty of typical acoustic folk characteristics, the band here also incorporated harder rock drumming, constant organ/synth flavours and electric guitar soloing, with flute and saxophone player Ismo Järvinen and female singer Pia-Maria Noponen alternating lead vocals, both sounding especially pleasing when singing alongside each- other. The album therefore maintains a good balance between lighter folk qualities, warm harmonies and more ambitious progressive instrumental flourishes, and it turns out to be a charming and rather special work overall.

After a haunting opening of eerie keyboards and Pia-Maria's voice full of wounded longing, `Valmiina Heräämään' springs to life with flighty flute, snappy drumming and soaring electric guitar runs, with a final ambitious group vocal around organ to close on. Rainstorm ambience backs `Salaisuuksien Satiiniverhot', Ismo's softly crooned voice accompanied by lovely chiming acoustic guitar and wafting playful flute trills, where lead guitar and synth washes take on beautiful and joyous Camel-like romantic textures. Gorgeous murmuring bass and flute prance through pleasant vocal piece `Mikä Aamu', a darker interlude in the middle bringing powerful drums and delirious synth runs with wild commanding saxophone outbursts.

The second side opens just as strong with the title track `Uuteen Aikaan', a soft yet languid acoustic guitar and flute lament. `Tuuleen Kaiverretut Portaat' is a melancholic piano ballad sung by Pia-Maria, and despite it having a noticeably poorer sound quality than the rest of the album (almost sounding like a demo), it achieves a stark and reflective honesty. `Koi' is a brief sprightly instrumental that would have easily fit alongside `Six Ate' off Camel's debut album, acoustic guitars strumming feverishly to spirited flute and leaping upfront bass. Closer `Askel Ylöspäin' is a dizzying and addictive mix of unhinged drumming, swirling spacy synth effects, frantic acoustic guitars and male and female voices singing in unison, with spikier saxophone and constant electric guitar soloing weaving in and out. It showcases the incredible talent all the band had, and it only hints at directions they could have headed in, sadly not to be.

`Uuteen Aikaan' is an ideal album for those not usually interested in folk music, as this adds plentiful progressive rock elements, making the mix much more approachable than usual. It occasionally reminds of Sandrose's self-titled album with its striking female lead over symphonic prog flavours, and its ample use of flute, organ and symphonic guitars could be warmly received by fans of Camel. It may be short at barely thirty four minutes, but each of the seven pieces quickly reveal a lavish assortment of sounds and styles with very carefully considered arrangements and skilful playing. Those progressive music collectors who already have a large amount of titles that are always on the lookout for some obscure yet utterly worthwhile additions to their collection would find Scapa Flow's album very rewarding, and this single little debut album is truly something to be cherished!

Learn to love the album, and it's well worth four stars!

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