May 25, 2006

Viima - Ajatuksia Maailman Laidalta

The Finnish prog band Viima started in 1999 under the name Lost Spectacles. The band recorded one track “Tuulee Niin” that was included in “Tuonen Tytar”, a tribute to Finnish prog music released in Mellow Records label.

Viima at the time of recording “Ajatuksia Maailman Laidalta” consists of female vocalist Päivi Kylmänen, keyboardist Kimmo Lähteenmäki (who also played drums in the sessions), guitarist/flautist Mikko Uusi-Oukari and bass player Jarmo Kataja.

The overall feel of the album tends towards a more folkish impression, particularly on opener Leijonan Syksy which has a light and breezy air that is all rather jolly. A couple of tidy and tuneful guitar solos are dispersed throughout the track with a dash of flute added to mix up the tonal qualities. Ajatuksia Maailman Laidalta is more piano based, unsurprising given that it was written by the keyboard player. Comparisons with early Renaissance are fairly apt and fans of that band and their ilk will find plenty to enjoy within these six songs. Ilmalaiva Italia starts as a gentle ballad with acoustic guitars supporting the vocals and keyboards providing atmospheric wind effects. However, once lulled into an easy state a duo of powerful electric guitars and then a heavy synth solo rip the song apart. The contrast is sharp and unexpected, as is the reversion back to acoustic form at the end of the song.

And so the album continues, interspersing acoustic folkish textures with more rakish electric components. Meri impinges close on Camel territory with its extended organ solo and vaguely Latimerish guitar solo separated by some Ian Anderson flutisms; Luuttomat, featuring guests flautist Anna Leinonen and also saxophonist Kimmo Alho, has a simple and rather gorgeous introduction leading into a more angular saxophone part which, initially seems rather out of place as it introduces a totally new atmosphere to the album. The cycle is repeated with some nice acoustic guitar work layering in some Robert Fripp-like angularity. Final song Johdatus wraps everything up in a concluding statement that reiterates the themes and styles displayed throughout the previous five songs - unerringly jolly and totally engaging, rather like The October Project in a few places. What impresses most about the album is the maturity of the writing and playing, which is very assured and confident throughout.

More info at the Official Band Webpage.

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