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TRACK LIST: 1. Pilvini 7:27 2. Valged Hommikud 6:43 3. Tiik 11:02 4. Lugu 6:08 5. Uksi 4:34 6. Rohelised Leed 9:25 7. Kusi Eneselt 16:33 LINEUP: Sven Grunberg – vocals; keyboards; guitars Matti Timmermann – bass; vocals Elmu Vark – guitars With: Andrus Vaht – drums Ivar Sipra – drums Harmo Harm – electronics Rolf Usvali – church organ Valdek Pold – French horn Leho Late – oboe, English horn Tonu Kaljuste – backing vocals
Prolusion. The Estonian band MESS was the creative vehicle of composer and instrumentalist Sven Grunberg (who has a few official solo releases). The band was formed back in 1974 and disbanded two years later, never releasing any albums while active. They did record some radio sessions however, and an edited collection of those was issued on CD back in 1995. "Kusi Eneselt" from 2004 is, as I understand it, an unedited, remastered version of those sessions, issued as a single CD and as a limited edition double CD that also features rare live recordings of the band.
Analysis. The last 20 years or so have seen a growing number of artists appearing with archival recordings. Outfits that never managed to land a record deal when they were active or that were the victims of chance and circumstance after finally getting a deal. And while I guess Western Europe and the USA have uncovered the majority of the forgotten jewels from yesteryear in the last couple of decades, I'm rather curious as to just how many such artists you might uncover from the countries that were barred by the so-called iron curtain. Not to mention everything released in those countries that never made it over the aforementioned barrier. Be that as it may be, Mess is one example of such a band, one of the forgotten jewels from Estonia's musical past. And it is a fairly adventurous band we're given the chance to get familiar with. Their stylistic foundation appears to be inside the symphonic art rock segment, with plenty of organ and guitar driven movements that should find favor amongst fans of vintage Genesis. A refined take on the rhythms department sees quite a few quirky patterns with a slight jazz orientation thrown in for good measure, but there are also quite a few additional dimensions to this act. Dampened, gentle sequences with more of a pastoral orientation, some closer to ambient or cinematic in nature amongst them, but also quite a few passages that take a left step into the realms of the psychedelic. Psych-dripping guitar solos paired off with an organ backing appear on regular occasions, but also gentler parts with a flurry of resonating and oscillating instrumental sounds with more of a space-oriented expression. A rather eclectic production in sum, and compositionally title track Kusi Eneselt is the most refined of them, sporting a backing choir and distinctly classically oriented details by way of a dual pair of horns, oboe and church organ. The downside to this CD is the recording quality which, measured by today's standards, is of a subpar quality. The remastering has obviously catered for the most severe of the shortcomings, but it's still easy to hear that the recordings either have been of subpar quality originally or that the source material has deteriorated extensively due to the ravages of time. But as long as one can live with such shortcomings, this should be a fine acquisition for fans of vintage progressive rock.
Conclusion. The sole CD of the Estonian act Mess is a fine production that should find favor amongst many avid fans of 70's progressive rock as long as their tastes aren't limited to one specific expression. A subpar recording quality might not be to everybody's taste, but as long as you don't have a problem with that "Kusi Eneselt" should be a fine addition to your collection.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Agst 21, 2013
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