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(14:02 / 'Onsegen Ensemble')
TRACK LIST: 1. HottoizzoH 4:56 2. Ouia Mu Mosa 4:15 3. VTG 4:51 LINEUP: Esa Juujarvi - bass Kimmo Nissinen - guitar Veijo Pulkkinen - drums With: Jukka Limingoja - vocals (1) Alisa Saila - vocals (2) Archie Cock - piano (2) Onrecht Jalon - sax (3)
Prolusion. ONSEGEN ENSEMBLE, from Finland, has been around since 2004. As you can see above, the project embraces three permanent members who, however, deploy guest musicians to contribute with the musical aspects they don't provide themselves. "Hotto¯zzoH" is their sophomore production, issued two years after their debut outing "Huikkavaara Session". Both releases are EPs and are available for purchasing as digipacks, but can be downloaded as well, from the band's website.
Analysis. It is not too easy to classify Onsegen Ensemble's music. They have the slogan "A slap in the face of musical taste" at the top of their web page, which I find to be quite apt as regards their output. The title track commences with frenetic playing in an avant-garde manner and continues by exploring a guitar solo theme underscored by staccato guitar riffs and rhythms before entering a calmer and at the same time darker realm, with bits of country popping up here and there. The finale finds the band bringing together elements from stoner rock, psychedelia and avant-garde, the playing at once intricate and rapid. Ouia Mi Mosa starts out as a jazz-inspired mellow tune with calm, very beautiful female singing. As the song evolves the lush melodic elements are gradually replaced by growling guitars, ending up as a hard rock movement with occasional jazz and psychedelic elements. Those into zeuhl should take an especial interest in this composition, not only due to its imaginary-language lyrics. The final piece, VTG, fluidly flows from its predecessor, at first exploring a psychedelically avant-garde setting with fast and furious guitar riffs as the main driving force of the action. A longer mid-section follows, with a calm and atmospheric jazz-tinged theme that soon evolves into a highly eclectic free jazz jam. In the final part of the song harsh, frenetic and quirky guitars are added to the mix, building up to a musical climax. Then calm and almost inaudible synths end the song, and indeed the album. Three pieces investigating different musical landscapes, where the sound and the mood of the compositions serve as their denominator to a much greater extent than the musical styles inhabited.
Conclusion. That being said, the well-planned complexities of the musical tapestries woven result in a fresh-sounding and very listenable recording. A very promising release, the second Onsegen Ensemble EP will be a dainty dish for lovers of avant-garde prog, though fans of psychedelic hard rock might find it worth a listen also.
OMB=Olav M Bjornson: January 20, 2008
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