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Taipuva Luotisuora, Finland



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Taipuva Luotisuora - Planetaariset Ilmanpainevyöhykkeet. 2004 (Demo)
Taipuva Luotisuora - I. 2005 Kaakao
Taipuva Luotisuora - II. 2006 Kaakao
Taipuva Luotisuora - IV. 2009 Kaakoa
Taipuva Luotisuora - 8. 2013 Kaakoa. CD + LP.

Taipuva Luotisuora are absolutely one of the best albums in the Ozric Tentacles genre. Perhaps second only to Hidria Spacefolk.

For their debut album, I had a little fun with the below review, which I wrote for Gnosis some 7 years ago:

Deep in the dark forests of Finlandia, where lurks the mysterious Hidria Spacefolk, hushed whispers abound of another pagan tribe nearby known as Taipuva Luotisuora. On one dark misty night we ventured carefully over, and while peeking through the leaves, we listened to the tribe perform their magical brew. A small, furry group, only numbering five, armed with guitar (electric and acoustic), bass (fuzz), drums, percussion, synthesizers galore (some even fuzzed like the Farfisa’s of previous civilizations), piano, violin, flute, and even kantele (a Finnish zither like instrument). They played with a strong sense of the groove, with gorgeous melodies. They are sometimes quiet, sometimes intense. Always mesmerizing. Sometimes they’d even use modern percussion. In fact this infatuation with modern electronica reminded us of that distant tribe from the land of Hungaria known as Korai Orom. Sometimes we even thought of the ancients like the Ozric Tentacles people. For as much as we tried to walk away and head home, we were entranced, no one could stop their endless stare. We hadn’t felt this way, well, since the last time we visited the Hidria Spacefolk. When it was finished, we looked at each other and thought, Taipuva Luotisuora are the best new tribe we’d visited in years. We raced home to tell what we had saw, but no one knew who we spoke of. Go to the mountaintops and yell ‘Music For Kortela Space Hood Elevators’ we said. And o’er the land, our people were wiser and filled with joy.

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After being completely blown away by their debut, I rushed out to buy the followup which had just been released at the time I’d discovered the debut. Some noticeable changes have taken place in the short year since. The guitars are slightly heavier, not quite metal, but a distinct modern hard rock crunch is present. There are now vocals, which could be a great addition for a band like Taipuva, but I felt they’re executed all wrong for the exotic music at hand. First the lyrics are in English, rather than the more interesting and non Indo-European Finnish. Worse, they’re delivered with the whiny American indie style that seems will never go away (sigh). Perhaps a more mysterious approach to the vocals (female, echoed, whispered) would be far more interesting for the music that Taipuva play. The instrumentation seems stripped down a bit (though the liner notes still call out the kantele, violin, Hohner Melodica, and woodwinds). Also, not near enough of the Hidria Spacefolk, Korai Orom sound as prior – though as a plus I do hear some of the much missed Dutch group Kong. And finally, the modern electronica sounds of the debut are even more in use here, most notably on ‘Uotila’ and ‘Unaja Infinite Laser’. Now this latter point actually demonstrates some progress for the band. Like a good movie director would employ, the special effects are used to enhance, not overwhelm the proceedings. I don’t want to overplay the negative here with the vocals, as “Viking Zulu” does possess a good voice, and there are only 4 tracks where they are utilized, out of 9 total. In some ways, all the tracks (including those with vocals) are more complex than even the first album, which is outstanding to see. Still, the “Taipuva Luotisuora tribe” that the music created for my imagination is missing here. So probably this album is the one that is favored by the majority, but I found it more typical of the underground scene. I miss the exotic nature of the debut. Not wanting to send the wrong message here – this is still a fantastic album, just a bit disappointed that it seems to be a step towards the middle.

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Seems that many new bands are attracted to the post rock sound, and Taipuva Luotisuora are no exception. Now normally I'd associate the moniker with the "dull" adjective, but in the hands of the almighty Taipuva Luotisuora, they take the lethargic yet melodic approach and add quite a bit of complexity to the proceedings. There's also a big sweeping sound that gives "IV" a cinematic quality rarely heard in digital form. Analog 70s styled Moog synthesizers provide many of the solos, adding a much needed warmth to the overall sound. Copious use of tuned and hand percussion is another plus. Fortunately Taipuva Luotisuora have foregone the vocals (excepting some wonderful atmospheric wordless voice), though it also appears that they've ventured away from pyrotechnic guitar solos as well, which is missed. And the indigenous kantele is never too far away. "IV" is a step forward for the band.

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"8" starts off like a space rock version of Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song', before settling down into their usual cosmic groove. The guitars are noticeably heavier than prior, and they seem to be circling the post rock genre a bit more closely than before. Faux organ sounds are never a bad idea, and nice to see Taipuva Luotisuora applying both that and the rare guitar solo back in the mix. Overall, "8" may be their most straightforward disc to date. I for one would like to see them reach back to their debut for some inspiration on future works. This is the first album where I feel they have stopped innovating. Too comfortable. But it's still excellent!

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It appears the bands naming convention is 2 to the (x-1) power where x is the actual release number (not counting the demo of course). We'll see if that holds up. If so, the next album will be either "16" or "XVI".

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