Pasi Koivu – Dark Tales And Mad Dreams   Leave a comment

Prog Rock has to be two of the dirtiest words in Rock music, I only have to say the word “prog” and some people I know will squirm and get instantly sick to their stomachs. In rock, it is one of the most misunderstood genres and one of the most abused musical tags. Real Progressive Rock was created by the likes of King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer but over-time like most styles it became diluted and blended with other styles including Heavy Metal (Dream Theater). The real basis of Prog-Rock is in Technical musicianship that blends influences from Jazz to Classical and everything in-between but with a Psychedelic and a very visual element incorporated into the themes of the songs. Its a art form that requires a certain gift and an musical vision that has to be embedded within your mind and blood. One of these gifted types is Pasi Koivu, a musician from Finland and also the brains behind a Myspace Black Widow page. Also known as Psychedelic Eye, he has already many recordings to his name but this one under review is “Dark Tales And Mad Dreams” released in 2010 and limited to 100 copies; without a doubt Pasi is one of Finland’s most industrious musicians.

Starting with “Madman’s Dream” the 70’s atmosphere of swirling organ and heavy grooves come at you with authenticity, passion and an infectious feel, no doubting also that Pasi knows his way around keyboards as this is real groovy stuff. The image you get is one of late 60’s dance halls with people getting down to the sounds of The Nice under an liquid-projection light-show. “Ghost Forest” however is a longer, more atmospheric piece that  has an kind of ambient darkness about it. The song nicely builds with various elements weaving in and out of the arrangement and although it all centers around the Korg M50 Keyboard sound, the sounds vary enough to make it a very multi-dimensional piece of jammy Psychedelic-Prog Rock. “Sombrero” changes the mood again into a hypnotic, mesmerizing medi-evil melodic vibe, the song is very beautiful and filled with a warm, floating atmosphere. “Purple Sky Saw The Widow Dressed In Black” is the first of the longer, extended tracks. This one clocks in at over 13 minutes and has a very horror-laced cinematic quality and is the kind of haunting soundtrack that would be right at home in many a Italian 70’s horror movie flick (at first that is) but then goes through a succession of different mood changes, its all very cinematic but also lacking anything to tie all the musical sections together. Thankfully all the sections are interesting so it still succeeds at being an accomplished piece of work.

The two shortest tracks here are “Biker Song” and “Jester Doll”, the former is a very hard rocking number in an Deep Purpleish vein while the latter is a gentle melancholic and sorrowful tune. On “Also Starring”, the music takes on a very funky, jazz fusion vibe that reminds of music featured in 70’s porno movies (I got no idea how I know that by the way ha ha). “Powered By Zeus” is a heavy romp with some really wild, squealing bass laden note runs while “Space Party” takes you on an journey into the cosmos with some very interesting and mesmerizing passages, the track gets very weird and wonderful in the second half. Things get funky again in “No More Face Boogie” with more mind-expanding note-runs and the jazz-fusion drumming approach which compliments the improvised ambiance of the piece. “King Scarecrow” is a frightening wild heavy-prog tune that reminds me of classic’s like E.L.P’s “Barbarian” with unleashed aggressive keyboards that verges on the apocalyptic, the keyboard is on fire on this tune. The remaining track is the almost 9 minute “Crystal Ball” and it delivers one of the darker moments of the album, it is perhaps a little long as it drags a bit but overall its an effective way to finish up the album.

With it being all keyboards and no vocals, “Dark Tales And Mad Dreams” is a Psychedelic/Prog Rock lovers delight as it has enough variance to keep you folks interested with gentle sections to the heavy all getting plenty of the spotlight. This is a recording tailor made for keyboard freaks, Prog-Rock fans and those old enough to remember the improvised happenings of the late 60’s and early 70’s Progressive Rock movement……8.5/10
Pasi Koivu – Psychedelic Eye

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Posted September 26, 2010 by doommantia in Pasi Koivu

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