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(45:21, Pinetree Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. 43900 4:54 2. 1991 11:03 3. Bells 5:47 4. Fading 4:07 5. Confessio 7:07 6. 40950 4:15 7. 69600 4:32 8. Grace 3:36 LINEUP: Jussi Petaja - vocals, instruments With: Mikko Maisio - accordion Timo Myllykangas - bass Arianna Petaja - vocals Omelia Petaja - vocals Katja Petaja - vocals Janne Torvikoski - drums
Prolusion. Finnish composer and musician Jussi PETAJA has been an active creator of music for three decades, starting out with the classic Commodore line of home computers and then moving on to regular instruments along the way. Besides working as a music teacher, he has a long history as a member of various bands in Finland. "40950" is his first solo album, and was released on hos own label Pinetree Records in October 2018.
Analysis. I do not know what relation Petaja has to the world of progressive rock, but what I can say isa that his approach to the genre as an artist and a creator is a bit novel. As such, this is an album that strikes me more as a connoisseur experience than a more mainstream oriented one as well, as that often tends to be the case for the artists that shies ever so slightly away from the more common conventions. That is true about all genres of music, at least to my knowledge. Initially this album comes across as one that operates out of a post-rock inspired landscape. The use of textured instrument layers a massive part of this of course, but also the occasional song structure where a composition will start, build, segue over to a gentler midsection, and then build again towards a more or less grand finale. An approach that isn't all that uncommon among post-rock bands from what I understand. But while such characteristic is the foundation, a lot has been added to it. Borderline abrasive sounds with something of a noise rock touch to them, reverbs and other sounds and effects that adds a psychedelic sheen to the proceedings, as well as more delicate inserts, inclusions and sidesteps into realms of a more ambient atmosphere. The second half of this album marks a shift of direction however. Confession being a borderline pop-tinged affair with post-punk tendencies and pop music sensibilities once it settles, and a steadily growing use of folk music and world music elements thereafter. Eventually concluding the album with a song that draw in inspirations from both hymns, Americana and world music. Petaja has a steady hand with his instrument contributions, and has a pleasant voice that he mainly choose to use in a functional rather than a dominant manner. His use of guest musicians and vocalists comes across as well planned too, each of them adds unique details to the songs in which they contribute. The mix and production is of good quality as well. Perhaps a tad sharp sounding sounds here and there, although that may well be a planned effect rather than an accidental one, as it is a limited feature rather than an ongoing one.
Conclusion. Petaja is another artists that can be added to the list of unconventional artists that approach the realm of progressive rock in a difficult to describe manner. The material, especially on the first half of the album, balance between being captivating, challenging and ever so slightly abrasive, the kind of music that due to those characteristics will have a finite overall reach. The second half of the album strikes me as material with a broader possible reach, especially towards those with a wider interest folk music tinged excursions. A fine debut album for the right audience, and one I note down as a quality production in my books.
Progmessor: January 31st, 2019
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