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(38:56, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. La Grande Illusion Ad Astra 1:29 2. Par Avion 4:06 3. Stigmata 3:29 4. December 23 3:03 5. La Porte De L'Enfer 4:36 6. 5:15 AM 5:16 7. Meiko 4:11 8. Requiem 1:42 9. The First Snowfall 4:11 10. Unexpected 4:14 11. La Grande Illusion Endos 2:39 LINEUP: Matti Laine – keyboards; electronics; bass, guitars, e-bow; vocals Kari Reini – percussion, vibraphone; didgeridoo Tomi Laaksonen – percussion Pekka Laine – electric guitars Thomas Rannholm – drums Verneri Pohjola – trumpets Emmi Kaasalainen – violin Olli Vanska – violin With: Jarkko Hassinen – vocals
Prolusion. The Finnish project LA YNE is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Matti Laine, instigated back in 2012. Seeking inspiration from a number of different sources he composed and recorded the material for an album over the next year or so, and the end result was released as "La Grande Illusion" through Musea Records in 2014.
Analysis. Those who prefer their progressive rock with an emphasis on rock and with compositional and musical features that can be tracked back to the golden age of progressive rock will find this production to be a strange one, I suspect, as this isn't a typical progressive rock creation at all. As far as that particular universe goes, this one resides somewhere within the pop-art section of it, with strong ties to more mainstream oriented types of music such as, for instance, dream pop. The 11 songs here may arguably be described as creations with a pop music approach at the core in some ways, as distinct bass motifs and easygoing rhythms are central elements in many of these songs, and the lack of distinct structural complexities and somewhat unconventional development that does set progressive rock apart from mainstream rock will be elements some might find lacking. Then again, the arrangements are peculiar, and there are aspects to the music on this album that merits a description as sophisticated too, albeit in a manner rather far removed from what most bands in the 70's were doing. Exotic sounding elements are a key feature throughout. Backing vocals of the kind that make you think about the Middle East and Arabia are used extensively, as are various instrumental details and some choices of tonal range. There's a distinct world music sheen to the greater majority of these songs, and an additional aspect is the extensive use of trumpet. Most often in a smooth, dampened manner, and more often than not with a jazz-tinged orientation. At times the drums or piano will emphasize that impression. Furthermore, some of the keyboards and violins used create details that at times are strikingly familiar to details found in the classic material of an artist such as Kate Bush. All of these details, flavored with plenty of layered keyboards and occasional cosmic-tinged ambient intermissions, are assembled into compelling, easygoing and rather positive sounding music. While there's plenty of details and ear candy to experience this isn't music of the kind that will inspire to deep thinking and philosophical thoughts though, but it is a compelling and jubilant affair hovering somewhere around the borders between progressive rock, dream pop and world music. That the CD has been dedicated to the late Mick Karn should probably be regarded as an indication about the crowd that will find this album most appealing.
Conclusion. Easygoing, likeable and positive music blending elements from world music, jazz, pop and with trace amounts of progressive rock is what we're treated to on La Yne's debut album "La Grande Illusion". With references to Mick Karn in the liner notes and what appears to my ears to be a few nods in the direction of Kate Bush as well, this is a production that merits a check by those who enjoy the material of those artists, especially those among them who tends to favor easygoing and compelling music in general.
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