Exposé Online banner

Onségen Ensemble — Awalaï
(Pink Tank 023, 2016, LP)

by Jon Davis, 2016-10-08:

Awalaï Cover art

I was a bit surprised when this one turned up. I remember their 2007 EP HottoïzzoH fondly, and in my review wrote, “Speaking of butts, these talented Finns need to get off theirs and put out a full length CD.” The bad news is that it took them almost ten years — the very good news is that they’ve lost nothing in quality or energy. They’re still pretty cryptic when it comes to hard info, but there’s apparently been enough change in personnel for this to be dubbed Onségen Ensemble Generation 2010. Their style has picked up some elements of space rock, or more accurately enhanced the elements that were already there, resulting in an interesting mixture of King Crimson aggression and groove-oriented jamming. Some of the vocals sound almost like a children’s choir, which is an interesting sound put over a big, angular odd-meter rock riff. At times, the sound is a little reminiscent of Anekdoten crossed with Porcupine Tree around In Absentia. The journey presented by these six tracks is very well paced, with the moody title track following the aggressive “HK7,” providing just the right amount of respite, but a building sense of anticipation for what will come next. Each track on Awalaï is distinct and contributes to the whole, and my only complaint is that at 42 minutes, it’s on the short side. I’m not a fan of bands filling up the whole available length of a CD just because they can, but this is great music with no filler, and I want more! With this band, that seems to be the norm — hopefully they can keep things rolling and it won’t be nine years until their next release.


by Henry Schneider, 2016-10-08:

Onségen Ensemble is a Finnish band with roots in jazz, stoner rock, progressive rock, and black metal. After playing for about 10 years and releasing two EPs, they have released Awalaï as their first full length album. There is not a lot of information available about the band. They have had numerous personnel changes over the years and I think they are currently a foursome, but I could be all wrong. The album opens with “Juuvaara,” a mixture of space rock trance and dark metal progressive rock. The next track is “Kuuhanka” that features dark synth lines, bass, and guitar and eventually distorted gluttural metal vocals and a melodic female wordless chorus. Side A closes with the title track. It begins with some whispered English text, develops into 70s prog, abruptly picks up speed, changes to a dark foreboding theme, and eventually closes with a prog metal feel. Side B opens with “HK7” that has a melodic guitar riff and hard rock power chords. There is wordless singing in the background, complex chord changes, and male chanting. And there is some King Crimson influence peeking through near the end of the track. Next is “HottoïzzoH,” opening with machine gun drumming, heavy drums, and repeated guitar riffs. This an excellent track. And the album closes with the beautiful paean to the sun, “Solei.” All things considered, Awalaï is quite a tasty slab of vinyl.


Filed under: New releases , 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Onségen Ensemble

More info

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sailor Free - The Fifth Door – Progsters or posers? Does it really matter? Sailor Free is an Italian four-piece whose sound incorporates elements of psychedelic hard rock, grunge, progressive, and ethnic influences into a sound...  (1995) » Read more

Finisterre - Finisterre – Finisterre is another debut from the country with more bands than fans. While many of Italy's newer outfits fall squarely in mediocrity, Finisterre looks like one of the brighter spots. The band...  (1995) » Read more

Fern Knight - Castings – Drawing seemingly equal parts from dark-age folk, psychedelic mysticism, and post-rock, this latest release by Fern Knight embraces some of the more straightforward folk sound of their 2008...  (2011) » Read more

Humi (Hugh Hopper / Yumi Hara Cawkwell) - Dune – Humi is the duo of Hugh Hopper (electric bass, electronics, loops) and Yumi Hara Cawkwell (voice, piano, keyboards, percussion) working in an ambient improvisational avant-garde jazz space. The...  (2008) » Read more

Mosaic - Miniatures – What will Crovella come up with next? An album of small symphonic rock tracks all approximately two minutes or less with a plethora of titles that often seem longer than the music themselves....  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues