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Iisakkila, Jukka: Clocks And Clouds

Jukka Iisakkila hails from Finland and is one talented and multi-faceted artist. Conductor (Danish Radio Chamber Orchestra and the Pori Sinfonietta), composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer (Steve Vai, Goldfrappe) all belong on his resume. His latest solo effort is titled Clocks And Clouds. On the album Jukka plays all keyboards, guitars and bass with the drums provided by Iikka Saarikoski.

Jukka’s classical background shines through on many pieces on the album, especially with the neo-classical “Interludes”. Fast piano riffs and pulsating keyboards provide the musical highlights. Most of the album can be considered fusion, mixing rock, classical and jazz elements. The production and sound is quite smooth and the playing is excellent. Jukka proves to be an exceptional guitar and keyboard player. The album opening “Freefall” features a bombastic style, inundated with Jukka’s instrumental fireworks. His neo-classical style certainly has a Steve Vai influence. His guitar work has some bite on the smoothly flowing “Inner Universe Fever” and with “Darling, We’ve Made a Mess” the broken up rhythms add a little more adventurousness. The title track, with its multiple keyboard and guitar layerings is pretty progressive as well.

Although nothing earth shattering, I found Clocks And Clouds to be a pleasant listen and one that I will continue to enjoy in the future. Released on Eclipse Music.

Track Listing:
1. Freefall (6:53)
2. The Only Sound Is Waterdrops (7:09)
3. Inner Universe Fever (5:54)
4. Interludes (2:26)
5. Clocks And Clouds (6:48)
6. Darling, We’ve Made A Mess (6:39)
7. Shakin’ It On (6:18)

Added: September 12th 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 719
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Iisakkila, Jukka: Clocks And Clouds
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-09-12 22:24:34
My Score:

Best known as a conductor of symphony orchestras, Finland’s Jukka Iisakkila has also come to wider notice through his production work with the likes of Steve Vai and Goldfrappe. It’s probably the former of those two which informs the listener what realm they’ll be entering when they encounter the debut album of this multifaceted musician, who it transpires amongst other things is also a guitarist, keyboard player and programmer of some skill. Clocks And Clouds therefore enters the world of jazz/rock fusion but it does so with a keen eye for accessible melody, even if the focus is most firmly on the virtuosic side. And no wonder, because once you’ve taken in the searing guitar solo on the likes of this album’s title cut or “Darling We’ve Made A Mess”, you’re left in no question as to the talent Iisakkila has at his disposal. The latter of the two is especially jaw dropping, the blur of notes that tumble forth never feeling out of control or superfluous to building an overall picture that still wants to entertain as much as it does impress.

Cleverly, and showing the compositional and structural knowledge on display, the short “Interludes”, which closes with a child speaking in what I presume to be Finnish, takes a different tack altogether. Here it’s piano that finds a trail to blaze as xylophone and glockenspiel add to what is a percussively persuasive two and bit minutes. In some ways “Inner Universe Fever” combines the two disparate elements, drummer, and I believe the album’s only other contributor, Ilkka Saarikoski powering a grittier grind along as the musical backing takes on a grander scope. With the dreamier and more synth based “The Only Sound Is Waterdrops” adding another viewpoint into the world of Clocks And Clouds, and the playful, classically inspired but rock driven “Shakin’ It On” a fun way to end its story, it’s left to opener “Freefall” to possibly best bring together all of the elements of what Jukka Iisakkila is looking to convey. Deep, dark and yet still with a bright heart, a piercing guitar solo bounces off the pop of snare and layers of synth atmospheres in a way that truly draws you in to this album’s intention. Unfortunately the mix here is maybe just a little too dense to truly let the track ‘sing’ in the manner it so clearly wants to but it’s small complaint on a collection of music that is engaging and intriguing from start to finish.

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