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TRACK LIST: 1. Arabia 0:49 2. Spirals 11:56 3. Terastulli 9:24 4. Pelham 4:01 5. Halogen 19:46 6. Exit 1:39 All tracks: by The Giant Hogweed Orchestra. LINE-UP: Antti Aalto - electric & acoustic guitar Mika Muinonen - electric guitar Jyri Traskelin - flute Turo Sinkkonen - bass; piano Jaako Kakko - drums & percussion With: Mikko Tuominen - trumpet Alpo Nummelin - didgeridoo Teemu Niemela - Moog Produced by TGHO. Engineered by T. Huunonen.
Prolusion. Of course, the eponymous GIANT HOGWEED ORCHESTRA album is the debut of this Finnish quintet. Although the band's name inevitably arouses some definite associations, I doubt that their music concerns Genesis. By the way, I always write "prolusions" when typing so-called booklet details, i.e. before and, sometimes, long before I listen to the corresponding material.
Synopsis. Being a classic acoustic guitar-based piece, the short opener of the album, Arabia, has certainly nothing to do with the East apart from its title. The other six compositions feature no parts of an acoustic guitar and very few of those of piano. The session musicians made their contributions to the tracks 3, 4, & 5 respectively (see lineup above). All in all, however, the main soloing battles are developing between two 'electric' guitarists, flutist, bassist, and drummer. In some ways, the phrase "all in all" can also be applied regarding one of the three longest pieces: Spirals (2): all in all, it was all just a brick in the wall. Fortunately, this is the only track here, the music on which is obviously influenced by Pink Floyd, although the victorious style of the album is indeed a classic Symphonic Space Rock. (Hey guys! Why did you call the band The Giant Hogweed Orchestra?). At least on the whole, the nearly 20-minute Halogen follows the principal stylistic and compositional aspects of Spirals. The musical events are developing in a similar way as well: from a peaceful Art-Rock, through a powerful Symphonic Space Rock, to Space Metal. However, this epic, as well as all of the other compositions, though, is much more original, diverse, and intriguing than that, on which was laid the basis of the style. It may sound strange, but the same words and definitions are in most cases topical with regard to the short Exit (6), too. The melodically beautiful Pelham (4), with flute being mostly at the helm, is rather quiet in its entirety and is about Symphonic Art-Rock in its pure form. The best composition is Terastulli (3) representing a unique combination of Symphonic Space Rock, Space Metal, and Jazz-Fusion, which, in this case, is not the same as Space Fusion. Terastulli is by all means the real centerpiece of the album.
Conclusion. "The Giant Hogweed Orchestra" is an excellent and very enjoyable effort, at least on the whole. I would only (and highly) recommend the band to follow the style presented on the third track in their further progressive investigations. This is the shortest and, still, the only way for them to become really huge. Back to their debut, I believe it's clear which categories of Prog-lovers will be especially pleased with this recording.
VM: May 25, 2004
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