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Pohja Konn - 2016 - "Pohja Konn"

(54:06; Pohja Konn)


1. Voitlus 5:35
2. Pohja Konn 4:05
3. Tahetund 4:03
4. Arkamine 5:39
5. Hulkuv Laev 5:22
6. Pigilind 4:00
7. Umarruut 6:03
8. Mangivad Pillid, Kuu On Vees 5:57
9. Selle Ilma Igav Kainus 4:26
10. Ilu 5:14
11. Kas Ma Eestit Unes Nagin? 3:42


Ott Adamson - drums
Siim Avango - bass
Jurgen Kutner - guitars
Kristen Kutner - guitars, mandolin
Valter Soosalu - vocals, keyboards
Johan Alexander Petti - bass  

Prolusion. Estonian band Pohja Konn first started out back in 2009, but it wasn't until the band were invited to create material honoring the memory of Estonian poet Betti Alver in 2015 that they really got going, as this invite pulled the band together again after having been in hiatus. The album "Pohja Konn" is the direct result of the aforementioned invite, a production that was self released on November 23rd 2016. The band have since released a second album, "Hetk. InSpereeritud Tuurist", in 2019.

Analysis. The music explored by Pohja Konn is one that falls under the symphonic progressive rock tradition, and the approach and execution they have been going for is one based on a vintage sound, approach and execution. This is a band that on this album prog it out like bands did it back in 1974 or thereabouts. Many of the songs come with a tight and hard foundation here, and while not exactly inside the perimeters of hard progressive rock there is a tight, vibrant and energetic core to many of the compositions here. Often fueled and driven by the bass guitar, but also with occasional examples of the guitar adding a bit more punch to the arrangements. Few of the songs explore this vibrant arrangement full on though, but they tend to open and conclude their songs in a more tight and energetic manner. The organ is a dominant presence in these parts, and will often be the most striking element alongside the bass guitar. In between we will often get sections with a much calmer and flowing motion, with some of them also segueing over to a more fragile and delicate arrangement. Here the organ as well as what sounds vintage keyboards will be the main and often solve providers of the motifs that form and sustain the mood and atmosphere, and the main solo parts will usually be tied into or be a part of these middle sections too. While many of the compositions here will explore a more vintage and in my ears more of a common variety of the symphonic progressive rock universe, on occasion the band will venture out into quirkier waters too. Here associations to bands such as Gentle Giant will be more prominent than references to a band like for instance Genesis. We also get some token visits into a more flowing variety of jazzrock along the way here.

Conclusion. This debut album by Pohja Konn showcase a band that know their way around creating compelling music with a sound, approach and execution that draw in impulses from a vintage symphonic progressive rock tradition, with the majority of the material falling inside of that specific territory, and they also show that they have a much larger palette at their disposal that may or may not be explored further on future occasions. But as far as this production goes, those with a strong affection for 70's symphonic progressive rock of the variety where the organ is the most important instrument will find a lot to enjoy on this solid debut album.

Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room

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Pohja Konn


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