Finnforest - Finnforest

Year of Release: 1996
Label: The Laser's Edge
Catalog Number: LE 1025
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:03:00

I don't know much about Finnforest, other than what is in the liner notes here, but I have heard good things said about the band, and this album. The liner notes say "Finnforest's main influence came from the big melting pot of American music?the 'groove' of Afro-American music?" Well, if you take that to mean jazz, then that is correct, to an extent. But this is jazz with an Emerson Lake and Palmer influence, too. Imagine "Jerusalem" with a jazzy arrangement and you will get an idea of what Finnforest sound like. There are some similarities to Landberk, although Landberk come from Sweden rather than Finland. Lots of low-key, moody tones and tempos.

This all instrumental prog release dates from 1975 and 1976 (reissued by Laser's Edge in 1996), and comprises two albums - the first released was Finnforest, the second Lähtö Matkalle (Starting A Voyage), which is also the title of the two-part suite that closes this disk. As I said, some of the tracks are dark and moody, others are very bright and energetic. The track with the most jazz-like feel is "Paikalliset Tuulet" (The Local Winds), which is also the most rockiest. The guitar lines by Pekka Tegelman are quite memorable?I could almost hear this as maybe a John Scofield tune, say. And there is some great piano runs by Jukka Rissanen halfway in, plus interesting percussive atmospherics by Pekka's brother Jussi about a quarter of the way through - both dynamic and subtle simultaneously.

"Aallon Vaihto" (The Change of the Wave) features Rissanen's piano, which sounds more like some of today's contemporary instrumental - I was thinking of David Lanz in particular, but also of many other piano soloists (George Winston is another that comes to mind). But it isn't just piano, as his keys also get spotlighted, in contrast and in concert with Tagelman's guitar.

Throughout, symphonic tones are played in a dramatic style - an epic style. And Tegelman really lets loose on the fretboard during "Happea" (Oxygen), playing a complicated series of runs, which lead into the rich keyboard washes of Rissanen.

The bass doesn't get much mention, and is the most understated of the instruments, until you realize that without it, a large chunk of the music, and it's beauty would be lost. It makes its presence most felt, I feel, on "Kunnes" (Till) where it plays a repeated scale full of ominous tones (Rush used this same pattern for the intro on Roll The Bones, just to give you an idea of what I'm hearing, though here it is much slower).

The material that begins the Lühtö Matkalle tracks are much sparser, longer, and thus more open, though retaining that jazzy feel. The Tegelman brothers remained, complemented by Jarmo Hiekkala on basses and Jukka Linkola on keyboards (pianos, synth, and organ). Linkola has a more Emersonian feel to his playing, his phrases almost quoting ELP in places, but so elusive that when you try to place it, it has gone in another direction.

This is the kind of album, and thus the kind of review, that never quite sums itself up - it is too diverse for that. It reveals itself a little bit more with each listening, as you?well, starting seeing the "forest" for the trees (should that be Finns?). So, I can only scratch the surface with this review. However, one can say this about Finnforest: this is a very good, very enjoyable progressive jazz-rock release, and comes recommended to progressive fans of most varieties of progressive music (though it may be a little light for the metal crowd).

Mik? Y? (What A Night) (5:27) / Sanaton Laulu (Song Without Words) (3:51) / Happea (Oxygen) (4:40) / Koin Siipesi (I Felt Your Wings) (2:55) / Paikalliset Tuulet (The Local Winds) (4:19) / Aallon Vaihto (The Change Of The Wave) (4:59) / Kunnes (Till) (4:39) / P.S. (1:44) / Alpha (8:16) / Elvin (8:38) / Don (4:24) / L?ht? Matkalle 1 (Starting A Voyage) (8:43) / L?ht? Matkalle 1 (Starting A Voyage) (10:48)

Pekka Tegelman - electric and acoustic guitar, bass and fuzzbass
Jussi Tegelman - drums
Jukka Rissanen - organ, grand piano, electric piano, synthesizer
Jarmo Hiekkala - bass and fuzzbass (9-13)
Jukka Linkola - electric piano, grand piano, synthesizer, and organ
Pertti Pokki - synthesizer (10, 11)

Finnforest (1975/76/96)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FI

Added: December 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1016
Language: english


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