Pekka Pohjola - Pihkasilma Kaarnakorva + Harakka Bialoipokku (1972-1974)

 Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
5 stars Late Pekka Pohjola's debut album stands for me as the ultimate highlight among Wigwam member's solo recordings, and also a stylistic peak on his own solo career. Though the later recordings have certainly their merits, I was blown away by the energies of this iconic outburst of young talent's furious bass guitar assault. Virtuosic skills are ruthlessly displayed like capercaillie males do on their fight for proprietary rights for the females. Composed jazz-sequences are contrasted with more open improvisational spaces. Pekka's classical music education is implemented on the currents of more tender keyboard and violin driven curls, and traditional folk music is also blended to the stylistic palette. This very fine album culminates in my ears to the entity of two long tracks, which were partly also on Wigwam's live repertoire. There are some wah-wah treated bass licks, and very sensual movements evolving to ecstatic bass guitar solos on freeform musical interplay phases. I hope this record would be reissued on vinyl, as wonderful it is, have not found it with reasonable price yet. I also guess the album might not be most interesting from global perspective, locating more to the local progressive rock scene of 1970's Finland. As instrumental I think it is anyway internationally accessible.

By Salviaal From   
4 stars While still in Wigwam, Pohjola decided to make this jazzy solo album. In some ways the compositions are similar to Wigwam, after all Pohjola contributed a good deal to 3 of their proggiest albums. The main difference between this and Wigwam is the lack of any poppy hooks. Jukka Gustavson even contributed keyboards so that essentially makes it instrumental Wigwam. The first track has a typical Pohjola theme, but more than half of it is taken up by an overlong jam which if nothing else, shows just how good a bassist Pohjola already was at the age of 20! The next few tunes have that typical joyful feeling. "Armoton idylli" is a very bouncy humppa (popular Finnish style of the early 20th century) tune, and here we already hear Pohjola's skill at arranging winds, although he would take that to another level on his next album. This is a great album of quirky fusion, with no perfect comparison to a better known artist, but the closest I can think of is Zappa's Waka/Jawaka. In some ways this one and "Harakka Bialoipokku" have a more immature sound than the rest of his catalogue, but that's a big part of their charm.

Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Metsonpeliä ~ Capercaillie games (10:33)
2. Virtojen kiharat ~ Curls of streams (5:28)
3. Armoton idylli ~ Merciless idyll (3:47)
4. Nipistys ~ Pinch (3:32)
5. Valittaja ~ Complainer (10:22)

Total Time: 33:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, violins, piano, final organ (5)
- Jukka Gustavson / organ, piano (4)
- Reino Laine / drums
- Risto Pensola / clarinet
- Pekka Pöyry / soprano sax, flute 

 I love this album. (
Review by Progbear
5 stars Pohjola hit one out of the ballpark on his second solo outing. Here he's joined by a trio of saxophones, which add a brassy big-band feel to some tracks and a sort of makeshift orchestration to others. Sort of like a miniature Gil Evans Orchestra, this is where Pohjola's skills for arrangement, making a few instruments sound like a lot, really comes into its own. The scores for the reeds, combined with Pohjola's rich, sonorous bass and classically-tinged piano, sounds fuller than anyone might imagine.

Beginning with the solo piano piece "Alku", the sounds vary from the subtly building "Ensimmäinen aamu" to the brilliantly swinging album-closer "Elämä jatkuu". It all adds up to a classic of instrumental progressive, crossing borders between symphonic and jazz fusion effortlessly, as though there were no distinction. A fascinating album.

Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Alku ~ The beginning (2:10)
2. Ensimmäinen aamu ~ The first morning (5:35)
3. Huono sää / Se tanssii... ~ Bad weather / Bialoipokku dances (6:55)
4. ...ja näkee unta ~ Bialoipokku's war dream (4:35)
5. Hereilläkin uni jatkuu ~ Bialoipokku's war (4:42)
6. Sekoilu seestyy ~ The madness subsides (4:18)
7. Elämä jatkuu ~ Life goes on (6:42)

Total Time: 34:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, piano
+ Coste Apetrea / guitar (6)
- Eero Koivistoinen / soprano, tenor & sopranino saxes
- Bertil Löfgren / trumpet (2-5)
- Paroni Paakkunainen / Alto & baritone saxes, piccolo
- Tomi Parkkonen / drums, percussion (1 to 4)
- Pekka Pöyry / alto & soprano saxes


Anonymous said...

Dead link, apparently. Could you update it, please ? Thanks :)

progDeaf gerEars said...

Yes of course i can do, and i did it ;-)