Onségen Ensemble — Awalaï
(Pink Tank 023, 2016, LP)
by Henry Schneider, 2016-10-08:
Onségen Ensemble is a Finnish band with roots in jazz, stoner rock, progressive rock, and black metal. After playing for about 10 years and releasing two EPs, they have released Awalaï as their first full length album. There is not a lot of information available about the band. They have had numerous personnel changes over the years and I think they are currently a foursome, but I could be all wrong. The album opens with “Juuvaara,” a mixture of space rock trance and dark metal progressive rock. The next track is “Kuuhanka” that features dark synth lines, bass, and guitar and eventually distorted gluttural metal vocals and a melodic female wordless chorus. Side A closes with the title track. It begins with some whispered English text, develops into 70s prog, abruptly picks up speed, changes to a dark foreboding theme, and eventually closes with a prog metal feel. Side B opens with “HK7” that has a melodic guitar riff and hard rock power chords. There is wordless singing in the background, complex chord changes, and male chanting. And there is some King Crimson influence peeking through near the end of the track. Next is “HottoïzzoH,” opening with machine gun drumming, heavy drums, and repeated guitar riffs. This an excellent track. And the album closes with the beautiful paean to the sun, “Solei.” All things considered, Awalaï is quite a tasty slab of vinyl.
by Jon Davis, 2016-10-08:
I was a bit surprised when this one turned up. I remember their 2007 EP HottoïzzoH fondly, and in my review wrote, “Speaking of butts, these talented Finns need to get off theirs and put out a full length CD.” The bad news is that it took them almost ten years — the very good news is that they’ve lost nothing in quality or energy. They’re still pretty cryptic when it comes to hard info, but there’s apparently been enough change in personnel for this to be dubbed Onségen Ensemble Generation 2010. Their style has picked up some elements of space rock, or more accurately enhanced the elements that were already there, resulting in an interesting mixture of King Crimson aggression and groove-oriented jamming. Some of the vocals sound almost like a children’s choir, which is an interesting sound put over a big, angular odd-meter rock riff. At times, the sound is a little reminiscent of Anekdoten crossed with Porcupine Tree around In Absentia. The journey presented by these six tracks is very well paced, with the moody title track following the aggressive “HK7,” providing just the right amount of respite, but a building sense of anticipation for what will come next. Each track on Awalaï is distinct and contributes to the whole, and my only complaint is that at 42 minutes, it’s on the short side. I’m not a fan of bands filling up the whole available length of a CD just because they can, but this is great music with no filler, and I want more! With this band, that seems to be the norm — hopefully they can keep things rolling and it won’t be nine years until their next release.
Related artist(s): Onségen Ensemble
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more