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Strandberg Project: Made In Finland

I was not aware of Jan-Olof Strandberg until I heard Strandberg Project's new CD Made In Finland. Let me tell you, I am now. Strandberg is a former member of The Fusion Project and is currently in the progressive fusion band Paidarion. Made In Finland is the project's seventh album. Strandberg is an immensely talented bass player. Whether playing the 4, 5, or 6 string or fretless bass this guys the bomb. Of course he has a little help from his friends including Michael Manring (bass), Kimmo Tapanainen (keyboards), Risto Salmi (sax), Matias Kupiainen (guitar), Petteri Hirvanen (guitar) and Kimmo Pörsti (drums).

The album spans nine tracks, the first being the moody and ethereal "Crossover". Delicate arpeggios, with a chord progression sounding a little Floydy and some nice layering in the guitar. The overall mood is one of calm and Manring's fretless bass adds to the song's subtle charm. "Yes, This Is It!" is more up-tempo with a stellar funky bass groove from Strandberg and fluid guitar flourishes from Kupiainen. The sax playing of Salmi gives this one a jazzy vibe.

Perhaps my favourite is the heavy fusion of "Past and Present" with ripping bass grooves and tasty guitar. The band ably demonstrates their virtuosity on this one as the playing is top notch all around.

There is also a DVD featuring a few studio tracks showcasing the band's undeniable chops and a short film The Documentary Project featuring an interview with Strandberg and renowned jazz bassist Paul Jackson. This is mandatory viewing for anyone who plays bass guitar. Archival footage of Jackson playing with the Strandberg Project is also included.

While I really enjoyed Made In Finland my one issue is the feeling the band was holding back at times. A couple more heavier tracks would have given the album a bit more balance and injected more fire into the mix. That said, there is no denying the quality of fusion being played and for that Made In Finland is very good indeed.

Track listing:
1. Crossover (6:38)
2. Yes, This Is It! (5:44)
3. It's a Journey (4:43)
4. Past and Present (6:03)
5. T.M and T.M (4:33)
6. Traveller's Tales (5:40)
7. Two Sisters (4:04)
8. The Magician's Departure (3:14)
9. The truth (5:30)

1. Tom's Nurses
2. Dominique
3. Undercover
4. The Documentary Project

Added: October 10th 2012
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2061
Language: english

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