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Pekka Pohjola - Visitation  CD (album) cover

VISITATION

Pekka Pohjola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.12 | 149 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars PEKKA POHJOLA's fourth album Visitation is regarded by many as his finest, "the true musical fruition his early albums had clearly promised" (Robert Silverstein's liner notes, originally on Warner's CD re-release, unimaginatively circulated also on Svart Records' recent vinyl gatefold release). I personally prefer the debut Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva (1972), but this one indeed is more energetic and modern, more virtuotic and bold, sonically more brilliant, and it contains both the guitar that was absent on the debut and the woodwind/brass that was absent on the Oldfield-collaboration Keesojen Lehto (1977). One sad thing is the shorness of this album: 32 minutes.

I'm not going to argue against all the hype, but much of the music is not exactly up to my taste, not the Pohjola style I'm fond of; it's slightly too sharp and brassy at the cost of the more introspective & emotional side, with the clearest exception in the lovely closing tune 'Try to Remember'. I openly admit that my fourth star is more objective than subjective, but no less deserved anyway: anyone declaring Visitation a masterpiece is absolutely right, at least if (s)he truly loves it personally.

Only six tracks in total, why not some words on each. 'Strange Awakening' has a great sound especially in the beginning featuring an echoed piano, and the soprano sax solo by Pekka Pöyry is awesome as is the outstanding bass near the end, but as a composition per se it could be a bit less repetitive. 'Vapour Trails' is very adrenalin-dosed jazz rocker in which guitarist Seppo Tyni (Pohjola's bandmate from The Group) takes the leading role.

'Image...' has a semi-melancholic depth which is occasionally buried in the guitar/brass-heavy arrangement; with more elegant and introspective approach throughout the track I'd enjoy it even more, but those fond of virtuoso playing will find a lot to enjoy here. Very bold and rhythmic 'Dancing in the Dark' is my least fave track, graced by e.g. Markku Johansson's trumpet solo. Guitar is again unnecessarily loud. 'The Sighting' opens interestingly without guitars and percussion but the arrangement becomes again quite heavy. Aale Lindgren's oboe is a nice detail in it.

Finally the intimate and introspective side takes over in the beginning of the marvelous 'Try to Remember': this would also function as an example of a masterful and extremely rich arrangement. It features the woodwinds and strings of The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Here the various instruments are not climbing on each other's neck as on the more hectic tracks, instead the arrangement has several phases using different instruments. A masterpiece combining the emotion, virtuosity and grandiosity, and one of the finest Pekka ever composed. Risto Kurkinen's cover drawing is not as good as on Keesojen Lehto, but it definitely works better on the vinyl format.

Matti | 4/5 |

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