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Kosmos: Vieraan Taivaan Alla

This is the Turku-based Finnish band's third release of progressive and folk influenced albums consisting of 5 shorter, largely pastoral, folky pieces and two longer progressive psychedelic tracks. Vocals are in Finnish although the album gives English interpretations of the songs. The album opens gently with "Uneton enkeli" (Sleepless Angel), a wistful female vocal backing to a layer of mellotron and acoustic guitar. The guitar playing on the second song, "Luovun" (I give in), reminds me of some of Lindisfarne's acoustic arrangements on Fog on the Tyne; the song has a beautiful recorder solo in the middle. A weeping violin intro sets the scene for "Renée", another reflective piece with mellotron and gentle percussive and acoustic guitar accompaniment. Probably the most moving of the five songs. In "Don Juan", the tempo is raised in a more traditional ballad, embellished by a rather fine bassoon part. "Yon Hiljaisuus" (The silence of the night) returns to the gently lilting rhythms of the earlier tracks, again with a strong mellotron presence over acoustic guitar and the sweet vocals of Päivi Kylmänen.

The first of the longer pieces doesn't begin much differently to the short tracks which have gone before; the difference is in the degree of development, depth of instrumentation and electrification which works its way in after a few minutes. Tuulisina Päivinä (On Windy Days) rises from a gentle opening to scraping strings and an aggressive and menacing air surrounding the main instrumental section. The vocals weave their way around the song at more of a distance than the first ones and the theme returns to its gentle acoustic verse to close out. In "Vieraat" (Strangers arrive), we are treated to a 12 minute suite in 5 parts. A meditative narration opens the set to finger cymbals and rolling mellotron. This is followed by the main section featuring a driving beat, atmospheric layers of keys and good use of tension and release to support the vocals. Violin softens the impact as an andante pace is imposed before the violin turns to a Romanesque expression and strikes up its own rhythm to greet the returning heavy bass, 'tron and percussion, eventually enhanced by electric guitar and wah-wah pedals. The outro returns to the finger cymbals and narrative. As a piece the track is similar in style to early After Crying.

Overall I'm reminded somewhat of the acoustic tracks in Ignis Fatuus by Norway's White Willow in the short songs and Hungary's After Crying in the longer pieces. Highly recommended for folky mellotron lovers.

Track Listing
1. Uneton enkeli
2. Luovun
3. Renée
4. Don Juan
5. Yon Hiljaisuus
6. Tuulisina Päivinä

Added: September 3rd 2009
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2823
Language: english

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