[Review] Ilari Hannula – Zenstation Tales From The Cloud

Ilari Hannula is a Finnish artist with several publications and projects to his credit, in which he often composes and plays all the instruments. One of the new releases “Zenstation Tales From The Cloud” was released on August 18, 2023 and contains 7 tracks totalling over 34 minutes of music. The album opens with the short “Intro” which, as per the title, introduces us to the listening with a pompous chorale. With its Folk and Prog atmospheres, “Into the Wild,” mixes hard guitar riffs, continuous tempo changes and traditional sounds enriched by orchestrations. The melodies have a baroque touch, while the interweaving of the various instruments is very interesting, showing Ilari’s compositional and performing technique. The intensity increases as the song progresses, in a crescendo that pushes the sound towards a more heavy style, with interesting guitar and synth phrasing in the second half. A solid progressive sound characterises “Tales From The Clouds Pt. I,” the first of the two parts of this mini-suite. Keyboards take centre stage, both in the melodies and in the solo inserts, the artist having a veritable arsenal of sounds at his disposal. The track incorporates elements of different genres and styles, in a succession of tempo changes and at times virtuoso passages. The second part “Tales From The Clouds Pt. II” has a more intricate structure at times, alternating with symphonic openings, with the keyboards always taking centre stage. Here too we find some virtuosic and very technical passages, with forays into the Jazzy sounds of Prog. The drumming, however, sounds too electronic and is less incisive than the other instruments. “Time Vortex” is another long track, almost eight minutes long, characterised by a sound enriched by the intertwining of various keyboards and piano. More heavy passages alternate with symphonic openings, with the atmospheres of the song being darker in places. The second part opens with an extended synth solo, before returning to the initial theme and concluding with piano melodies. A mixture of electronic sounds reminiscent of video games characterise “Into The Sea.” The atmospheres are retro, both in the choice of sounds and their development, with repeated percussion in the background and guitar and keyboards reminiscent of 1980s consoles. Different from its predecessors, it shows another facet of the artist’s sound. The choral vocal of the intro is taken up in “Genesis and Revelation,” the final track of the album. With a change, the track turns into a succession of guitar and keyboard virtuosities, interspersed with symphonic openings, with a retro imprinting. An album that has the keyboards as its strong point, almost always taking centre stage and played with a high level of technique. Some alternated passages and guitar interlacements, while the drumming is too electronic and, in my opinion, not very incisive.


01. Intro (0:19)
02. Into the Wild (8:04)
03. Tales From The Clouds Pt. I (5:08)
04. Tales From The Clouds Pt. II (4:17)
05. Time Vortex (7:54)
06. Into The Sea (5:04)
07. Genesis and Revelation (3:36)


Composing, keyboards, orchestrations & mixing by Ilari Hannula

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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