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TRACK LIST: 1. Deja Vu 7:24 2. After Before 8:14 3. Kuma No Yume 7:05 4. Caleidoscope Brainstorm 7:48 5. Arabesque 8:18 6. Paranoia 2:04 7. Panic Attack 10:05 8. Jamais Vu 14:35 9. Petite Mort 5:57 LINEUP: Qumma – warr guitar; programming Pate Kivinen – keyboards; programming Pasi Rupponen – drums, percussion Tuukka Helminen – cello With: Maikki Liuski – vocals (9)
Prolusion. The Finnish band QUMMA CONNECTION is based around composer, musician, photographer and graphic artist Qumma, and the foundations for this part of his musical expressions was laid following a jam session he had with drummer Pasi Rupponen in 2005, the ideas improvised there soon demanding to be given a creative outlet. This has resulted in two albums so far: "Arabesque" in 2008 and "Unique" in 2010.
Analysis. This initial effort by Qumma Connection is one that will lead to some scratching of heads by those who find great joy in placing a band inside a closely defined genre definition. Progressive rock without doubt, but finding a suitable subcategory the musicians conform to is another matter entirely. Thankfully we don't adhere to the principles of creating a new genre whenever a band comes forth that makes something slightly different from others at this website, and of the main directions in this universe I'd think that art rock with elements of avant-garde is a good indication of the stylistic expressions covered by this act. Initially the compositions indicate a band with inclinations towards the symphonic part of the art rock realm, with cello, keyboards and Qumma's Warr guitar crafting some nice but unspectacular layered harmonic pieces at the onset, not in the manner of the great symphonic acts of yesteryear though, but not truly adhering to the Neo-Prog universe either. But as these efforts by and large focus on atmospheric rather than compositional qualities, the sound explored on these tracks will arguably feel closer to home to fans of the latter I'd guess. With title track Arabesque, this album takes a left turn though and while still retaining multiple textures and certain symphonic qualities on the landscapes visited, the guitar in particular now provides motifs with a distinct dissonant edge to them, and frequently utilizing drawn-out notes. Those familiar with mid-‘70s as well as early 80's King Crimson will most likely find this sound appealing in its different incarnations, from the tranquil, slow moving 7 minute introduction and the following bombastic sounds of Panic Attack to the darker, distorted, aggressive and majestic themes given a good airing on the following Jamais Vu. The brief, laid back, electronic and industrial-tinged Paranoia adds a bit of variety to the proceedings, while final effort Petite Mort is another hard left turn in terms of styles explored; a slow moving, lush symphonic creation of the kind deserving to be performed by a real-life symphonic orchestra, crafting a dark underscore for the light, melodic pipes of Maikki Liuski.
Conclusion. "Arabesque" is an eclectic creation that provides plenty of musical joy for the sophisticated art rock fan. Although the initial efforts may not be the most daring nor inspiring, this is a CD that steadily grows better and more interesting as it unfolds, and it does explore stylistic territories featuring details not too many others have tried investigating, the role of the cello and Warr guitar most notable in that respect, instrumentally and compositionally. Art rock fans who fancy a slice of music made with finesse and a sense of adventure above the ordinary might just want to take this on, and if you like King Crimson there's a good chance that you'll find the material at hand to be interesting.