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SUKELLUSVENE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Finland


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Sukellusvene biography
The sole album Vesi- ja lintumusiikkia ("Water and Bird Music") by the Finnish group SUKELLUSVENE was among the very last releases of the legendary Love Records in 1979, just before the company went bankrupt. As the musical climate had turned very unfavourable towards progressive music, it's no surprise that the album sold a modest 300 copies at the time. Nowadays it's considered a classic, containing instrumental fusion in the vein of Weather Report and Return To Forever. Each member had studied music, which shows in the excellent playing. Svart Records re-released the album on vinyl in 2016, and on cd two years later. Both contain also the single Savitaipaleen polkka / Sea Journey and a detailed band history.

The group was founded in a small southeastern town of Lappeenranta in 1971. In the beginning their musical direction was totally experimental, but several new members brought their own influences along the way. The biggest change in the band's style came along the contemporary member Mikko Pääkkönen, who was enthusiastic for Mahavishnu Orchestra. The arrival of keyboard virtuoso Kari Litmanen was a natural continuation in that direction. In 1977 Sukellusvene shared first place in the national pop contest.

The album was recorded in four days in the autumn of '78, and in practice the band produced it themselves. The 7" single was recorded in the same sessions. After the departure of Tapani Tuomanen, the band added three more reeds players and increased the funk flavour in their music, until they finally called it a day in the early 80's. Vesi- ja lintumusiikkia is an excellent item of instrumental fusion with some classical and funk flavour.

Written by Matti

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Vesi-Ja LintumusiikkiaVesi-Ja Lintumusiikkia
Svart Records 2018
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SUKELLUSVENE discography


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4.83 | 5 ratings
Vesi- Ja Lintumusiikkia
1979

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SUKELLUSVENE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SUKELLUSVENE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SUKELLUSVENE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Savitaipaleen polkka / Sea Journey
1979

SUKELLUSVENE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Savitaipaleen polkka / Sea Journey by SUKELLUSVENE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Savitaipaleen polkka / Sea Journey
Sukellusvene Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars When Sukellusvene were recording their only album, Atte Blom of Love Records told them that someone was insisting there to be a polka, too. That someone was most likely remembering the band's performance in the national pop contest of 1974 when they had featured a polka section in one of their songs. Teippi Tuomanen recalls (in the interview I made for the liner notes): "Well, there wasn't, so we had a quick rehearsal and just taped the polka. It ended up getting a lot of radio play, and we even performed it on TV several times."

'Savitaipaleen polkka' is a good-humoured Finnish traditional song which still occasionally sees new interpretations in the folk genre. Sukellusvene turned it into a speedy jazz-rock number, and it really grooves. Lasting only 2:28, it cannot make anyone getting bored. Within the limited length they managed to include brief solos for electric guitar, organ and alto saxophone.

The B-side track 'Sea Journey' is a cover of a piece composed by Chick Corea. According to a quick googling, it originally appeared as a solo piano piece 'Song for Sally' on Corea's 1971 album Piano improvisations Vol 1, and re-named in Gary Burton's repertoire. It was suggested for the group by either drummer Timo Kotineva or keyboardist Kari Litmanen. Soprano sax and synths are soloing in turns in this airy and lively piece of three minutes. Very enjoyable piece of fusion indeed. These tracks are included as bonuses on Svart Records' re-release of Vesi- ja lintumusiikkia (the vinyl version has a separate 7" single with original cover design).

 Vesi- Ja Lintumusiikkia by SUKELLUSVENE album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.83 | 5 ratings

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Vesi- Ja Lintumusiikkia
Sukellusvene Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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