Style: sympho prog
Audio: lossless (flac 798k)
Issue: Love Records LRCD 135 (1997)
Finnish prog, mostly on the mellow side, but very enjoyable melodic stuff. Symphonic, if you like; pathetique in a positive sense. Lyrics are in Finnish, but those who don't understand them aren't missing much... Jukka Gustavson from Wigwam guests on and co-produced the second album.
Ekkedien Tanssi was the second album by this Finnish five piece who created a type of mellow, melodic prog not unlike the music of Camel. Indeed, this album is comparable in both style and quality to Camel's Moonmadness or Rain Dances. The instrumentation here includes guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, and vocals; a pretty standard lineup and thats exactly how it is used. There is some nice multi-tracked acoustic guitar along with the more aggressive, bluesy electric guitar which serves as the main melodic instrument. The keyboards stay in the background for the most part, serving up organ and string-synth pads along with piano and elctric piano backing. The bass anchors the chord changes, the drummer keeps time, and the vocalist is there, singing in Finnish; nothing spectacular, yet nothing distracting either. So basically there is nothing terribly original, complex, virtuosic, or flashy to be found here, but nevertheless the music is quite good and strong enough so as not to be at all boring, save for one or two rather unengaging tunes. There are nine tracks, all pretty much in the 5-6 minute range, and the mood remains fairly mellow and laid back throughout. There is the occaisonal guitar solo, but for the most part the playing will remind one of Andy Latimer or maybe some Steve Hackett, utilizing melodic leads rather than blistering solos. Fans of mid-period Camel or other melodic prog groups would probably enjoy this very much, while those who seek highly intricate music (like me :-)) might want to take a listen to Tabula Rasa before putting down the money to get this.
I was a little worried when I found out that the only keyboard instrument on the first Tabula Rasa album was an acoustic piano (Actually, there's a taste of string-synth at the very end). Surprise! I actually like it. Nonetheless, don't plunge into this album expecting complex arrangements and wild solos, because you won't find it here. You will find, however, a pretty, melodic type of progressive with prominent piano, flute, and Andy Latimer-esque guitar. A number of the songs ("Gryf" in particular) are a touch rockier, but most are somewhat Nordic folk-orientated, overtaking you with beauty, in particular, the eight-minute "Vuorellaistuja." Vocals are all in Finnish, no great problem for me. I find them quite charming. The flute player left before Ekkedien Tanssi, the second album. Here they added a full-time keyboardist, but the style hadn't changed at all. Actually, not as good as its predecessor. Established fans will want it, though, for the song "Omantunnon Rukous." It may well be the most beautiful thing they ever recorded. The melody is unforgettable. -- Mike Ohman