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Elonkorjuu - Seasons CD (album) cover

SEASONS

Elonkorjuu

 

Heavy Prog

4.00 | 5 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I am ashamed to admit I had never listened to this Finnish band until this month, not even the vintage 1972 album Harvest Time. With this luxurious 4-CD set I got to know the whole career and was very positively surprised. Actually the Heavy Prog category had made me feel too suspicious for some years. The mentioned debut indeed falls into that genre, but I could have never imagined it's so fine album. It may have some similarities with early heavy rock legends such as Uriah Heep or Black Sabbath (at their more calm), but they seem to have a sound of their own. The vocalist Heikki Lajunen avoids all the heavy rock cliches, instead he's simply a good singer with emotional capacity. The music is composed mainly by the gifted guitarist Jukka Syrenius, and the warm, organic band sound is finished by a good rhythm section and Ilkka Poijärvi on Hammond organ, guitar and flute. The songs have an intelligent aura, a nice combination of heaviness and atmospheric serenity. To me some of the last songs are not as interesting as the first four songs, but still this album's classic status in Finnish early prog is truly deserved.

The first disc contains also two live tracks from Pori Jazz 1974. The 9-minute covering of jazz/blues number 'Somebody Loan Me a Dime' is delicious and makes very clear how excellent guitarist Syrenius is. The 13th track on CD1 is a separate studio recording from 1977.

CD2 ("Summer"; each CD is titled after one of the four seasons!) contains the second album Flyin' High, Runnin' Fast (1978), released under the translated band name Harvest. It is a whole different affair from the debut's heavy prog: it's instrumental jazz rock / fusion, much lighter and airier naturally. This time there are a lot of reeds (tenor and alto sax, clarinet, trumpet), as the line-up had changed greatly. Keyboards are played by Seppo Tyni who has collaborated with Pekka Pohjola among others and has made some solo albums (a PA candidate perhaps?). Syrenius' compositions are first class fusion with a relaxed, happy atmosphere. The six additional live tracks were recorded in Pori 1979, featuring some well-known covers such as Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition' and Chick Corea's 'Spain'. These choices reveal from which musical directions the band was drawing inspiration. Concerning the whole set, it's respectable how few of the live tracks appear as album tracks on this set, and also the sound quality is nearly faultless.

Elonkorjuu/Harvest disappeared from sight for 24 years, making a comeback with the album Scumbag (2004). It has some vocals but it's instrumentally oriented fusion like the second album was. Reeds are missing but the music works very well. The compositions, by Syrenius and keyboardist Jussi Reunamäki, are a bit longer and give plenty of room for instruments to shine. Five years later the band recorded a live double album Scumbag Goes to Theatre (released in 2010), that make up the most of CD's 3 and 4. I haven't checked out how largely all these albums are included here; I presume not completely, but that wouldn't make this set less valuable. My favourites from this live album (recorded at Pori Theatre in December 2009) are Syrenius originals 'Waiting' and 'You And I'. The three final tracks are live from 2011. In total, only three songs from the 1972 album appear twice in this package. The essay on the band history is rather short but it also helps to make this set very recommendable to anyone interested in this band.

Matti | 4/5 |

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