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Utopianisti - The Third Frontier CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.98 | 125 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars The next (third) album from the incredibly talented Finnish avant jazz composer/bandleader, Markus Pajakkala. I find myself liking this album much better than the previous albums because of it's conhesive flow. On II each and every song sounded and felt so different--which makes a lot of sense considering the use of completely different musicians on each and every song. Also, the increased presence of the operatic vocalization of female vocalist Suvi Väyrynen (on three songs) gives the album a bit of a Zeuhl (UNIVERSAL TOEM ORCHESTRA) or Canterbury (AMANDA PARSONS, ELIZABETH GASKIN and THE NORTHETTES) flavor--which I love. I just think Markus has probably matured, clarified his vision, and polishing his songs as well or even better than before (he has always shown impeccable attention to detail in the engineering room).

1. "Voodoo Mammoths From Neptune" (4:25) has such clarity in its sound production! It is an odd, cinematic piece with a nicely extended introductory section which allows the listener to get hooked in for the ride. Simply stunning sound! (9/10) 2. "Dr. Gravity's Evil Plan" (4:01) treads more into cinematic jazz like a good spy thriller--or a spoof of a whodunnit. Great ensemble timing opens before multiple trumpets are given solo lines--at the same time! At the end of the second minute some nice organ play bridges into the next section. (Again, the clarity of sound distinction is remarkable!) Awesome organ play gives way to flute while the background ensemble keeps things so tightly glued together! How Markus gets this kind of collaboration from his band is remarkable! Awesome, simple bass line near the forefront holds it all together so well. (10/10)

3. "Universe For Dummies" (5:52) opens with some staccato arpeggi from the electric bass before the wonderful vocalise of Suvi Väyrynen betrays the composer's Canterbury intentions. Great weave of some quite disparate threads--like from horns, vibraphone and electric guitar--breaks into full force at the one minute mark. Very much like a song from INNER EAR BRIGADE. Great soli (and from some odd instrumental choices/sounds) parade around the foreground while bass and organ continue tip-toeing around with the foundational bob and weave. Truly an astounding song! (10/10)

4. "White Dwarf" (1:24) slows things down as an electric piano (Rhodes?) solos slowly before being joined by reed instruments. Cool sound! (9/10)

5. "Life As We Thought We Knew It" (4:55) opens with a metronomic electric piano riff which is built upon by horns, vibes, guitars and cymbals. Very pretty. At 1:32 the volume turns up though the play of the horn section gives it all a kind of CHICAGO feel--if however briefly. At 2:38 things get more serious. This could be right off of FROGG CAFÉ's 2010 classic, The Bateless Edge (which makes me beg for the presence of some lyrics--like "Terra Sancta"). Nice song! (9/10)

6. "A Hundred Rabbits" (5:03) opens with a little funk coming from the rhythm section of bass, drums, congas, vibes and clavinet. These are shortly joined by horns and woodwinds and, a bit later, the synth-horn-like vocalizations of Suvi. Things are toned down a bit toward the end of the second minute to allow for the isolation of a flute solo. HUBERT LAWS would be proud! A little bass solo bridges our way into a protracted solo from a seething electric guitar. HENDRIX would be proud! Awesomely woven into the funky horns until it finally fades away into the background so that Suvi and the horns can take us out. Awesome song! (10/10)

7. "Spanking Season" (2:33) the first song I heard from the album has vocals! Odd, cabaret-like vocals--not unlike the stylings of HUMBLE GRUMBLE, PINGVINORKESTERN, KNIFEWORLD or MAJOR PARKINSON. Fun, funny, laughable and eminently clever song! Great solo from a 'Space Invaders' synthesizer toward the end. (9/10)

8. "13 Demons In The Disco Dimension" (3:12) opens with some odd radio clip before a campy melody and odd time rhythm establish a kind of Zappa-esque envirnoment--sophisticated, highly disciplined, and sleek. Not my favorite song but I truly respect and understand it. (8/10)

9. "The Last Reflection" (7:00) Has a bluesy soul and proggy feel to it, as the whole band seems to ride as one wave while the drums are free to play beneath! The delicate part in the fourth minute which opens up space for the vocalise soloations of the gorgeous voice of Suvi Väyrynen is perfection! Great restraint is shown throughout this song from both the composer and his musicians. Even the climax starting at 5:15 shows great emotion and sympathetic feel from all: horns, bass, drums, organ, electric guitar--I can really feel it from all of them! Amazing! (10/10)

All in all, Markus Pajakkala has packaged together a masterpiece of incredibly well contrived and well executed theatric jazz. Consistently, this is one of the best ensemble performances of very sophisticated music that I've heard in a while. Definitely one of the funnest albums of the year (so far).

Five stars; a true masterpiece of progressive music.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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