[Review] Kimmo Pörsti – Past and Present

One of the minds behind the Samurai Of Prog project, Kimmo Pörsti brought us his latest release “Past And Present” out on Seacrest Oy. Released as his solo album but with a large number of guests inside, which more or less all revolve around the projects of Kimmo and co. Composed of 11 tracks of medium duration with a beautiful cover art by Ed Unitsky, also author of the valuable internal booklet. The album opens with “Awakening” a short introductory piece made up of percussion and dreamy melodies that lull us for just over 2 minutes, slowly inserting us into the atmosphere of the disc. “At Lombardy Convent” is the longest track on the album, starting with distant bell sounds and a light piano and orchestral carpet. The melodies are positive and dreamy, taking us to distant, almost fairytale lands with pleasant guitar and string inserts. The first part recalls classical music, and then with a change to give life to a Prog song in the classic style to which Kimmo has accustomed us in his projects. Solid rhythm session and Tony Banks style keyboards make this unexpected passage pure enjoyment for the listener. The intensity increases with the passage of the song, skilfully mixing the influences of classical music and the 70s-style Prog, a superlative track that seems to come out of a record of the time. In the end he gives us a symphonic closure where the classic part prevails over the more Rock one, mixing the cards again in a precise and pleasant way. “Changewinds” begins with a symphonic insert of guitar and flute, and then soon unleashes the Prog power of their songs. Tougher guitars and massive keyboards intertwine on a powerful and ever-changing rhythm session. The first song sung, where the vocal adds power to the sound, a really well developed and performed track, with a strong Rock presence. In the instrumental section all the instruments stand out with intertwined solo parts and well articulated tempo changes, an excellent track. “Fused” starts off strong, with hard sounds and intricate melodies with keyboards in evidence with a virtuoso solo to which the guitar is soon added. With marked Fusion influences, this passage shows how the artists involved want to offer quality music, and Kimmo in some inserts enhances his skills as a drummer, while the whole track is a continuous intertwining of high-level virtuosity, excellent. Soft and symphonic melodies introduce us to “Sorrow and Recovery” creating dreamy atmospheres with the flute in evidence. The intensity increases with the passage of the song and with a change we enter a very Prog section where the mixes between the instruments are an added value, also giving a touch of ’70s Prog especially in the sound of the keyboards. A track that from start to finish keeps the attention high, very articulated and well executed. We are about halfway through the album and here is “Dance of the Miststress” which begins with a very powerful rhythmic session and harder sounds, muffled in the tempo changes that take us back to ancient times. The mix of Folk and Hreavy Prog sounds is fully successful and this band always manages to amaze for the simplicity with which it performs certain already complex ideas when thinking about them. The individual technique is enhanced in each passage of the song, not just an exercise in style but a winning blend of various styles that positively attracted my attention, with the Folk part cleverly embedded in the Prog Rock one. “Darker Places” begins again with a nice phrasing between slap bass and drum to which the other instruments are gradually inserted and a warm and expressive vocal. The winds are an added value and the track has a very elaborate structure enriched by tempo changes, with a pleasant bass and guitar phrasing in the central part. The second part is characterized by a guitar solo and the return of the main theme, skilfully evolved and developed to give space to a Jon Lord style organ solo. With the return of the vocel the track ends, leaving me speechless for the quality expressed here. Softer and with more classical melodies begins “Kati” creating fantasy and enveloping atmospheres where the acoustic guitar stands out together with the flute. The piece develops on soft and enveloping solo plots that rock us for over 5 minutes, demonstrating that sometimes the power is not needed to hit the listener. truly an emotional track full of pathos, where the artists show their most symphonic side. “Second Arrival” is a short passage of 1:52 minutes where, however, there is no lack of energy, with sound intertwining between guitar and keyboards that give a symphonic and pompous atmosphere to the song. Here we come to the title track “Past and Present” which begins with another solid rhythmic session made of intertwining bass and drum on which the winds are inserted giving a Funky touch to the song. The guitar offers a solo cue that intertwines with the winds, in the central part with a change they give life to a real lesson in technique. Remembering the sound of the 1970s Fusion bands, all the performers show their most virtuous side for an intricate piece with very Jazzy features. Really a charge of energy and a very high quality, very good. The album ends with “Nucleo Antirapina” entitled in Italian, and from the beginning with sounds from a 70s detective film revisited in a Prog and crescendo sound. The keyboard textures and the hypnotic bass are very complex, reminiscent of the Italian crime films of the 70s, without diminishing the song which instead offers a solid Prog with very complex and pulled sounds. An excellent closing that, as always in their records, makes you want to listen to the record other times in the future. Another great album out of the mind of Kimmo and his companions, very pleasant both for the development and for the execution. Each song has different facets I create that sonic variety that makes this work pleasant from start to finish and also a little unpredictable, positively. Compositional and executive quality are in the foreground, giving life to an album that is a must for all lovers of not only modern Prog sounds. Very good as always all the actors involved in creating that sound that mixes past and present and a very high quality, an album to be listened to many times for the beauty of its tracks.

Tracklist

1. Awakening (2:10)
2. At Lombardy Convent (8:40)
3. Changewinds (5:40)
4. Fused (5:04)
5. Sorrow and Recovery (6:26)
6. Dance of the Miststress (5:05)
7. Darker Places (5:47)
8. Kati (5:21)
9. Second Arrival (1:52)
10. Past and Present (6:10)
11. Nucleo Antirapina (4:35)

Lineup

Kimmo Pörsti / Drums, Percussion, Bass, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitars

With:
Rafael Pacha
/ Guitars (1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9), Sequencer (1), Bass (3, 9), Recorders (5), Keyboards (3, 6, 7), Low Whistle & Tin Whistle (6)
Ton Scherpenzeel / Synth Solo (5, 6), Keyboards (6), Organ Solo (7)
Jan-Olof Strandberg / Bass (6, 7, 8, 10)
Hanna Pörsti / Flute (3, 5, 8)
Carlos Espejo / Vocals (3)
Jari Riitala / Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Bass (4)
David Myers / Keyboards, Nylon Guitar (2)
Kari Riihimäki / Electric Guitars (2)
Cathy Anderson / Cello (2)
Christine Chesebrough / Violin (2)
Sara Traficante / Flute (2)
Paula Pörsti / Backing Vocals (3)
Marco Bernard / Bass (5)
Dan Schamber / Vocals (7)
Marek Arnold / Alto & Tenor Sax (7)
Marc Papeghin / Trumpet (7)
Bo Hallgren / Keyboards, Synth Solo (8)
Thomas Berglund / Electric Guitars (8)
Petteri Hirvonen / Electric Guitars (10)
Otso Pakarinen / Synthesizers (10)
Risto Salmi / Saxophone (10)
Kimmo Tapanainen / Keyboards (10)

Kimmo Pörsti |Official Website|Facebook Page|

Seacrest Oy |Official Website|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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