The Finish musician, composer, producer and mixer Sami Sarhamaa is a man of many talents. The list of bands in which he contributed is quite long. Here are some names of acts he had been involved with in the past: Caramba (1978-79), PMF (1979), Sibbe (1980-82), Epitaph (1980-81), Leroy (1981), Chapter One (1982-85), Jone (1986), Red (1987-89), Uima-allas (1993), PS. (1989-05), Kataya (2006-10) and Kudos (2010-11). Since 2012 he's a member of FlipSide. Moreover, he made some solo albums under the moniker of Sam Marsala, Samsara/Revenge and Liquid Wolf. Some of these albums have already been reviewed on our website. One of the above-mentioned names is Sam Marsala and just like me, you probably have never heard of him before.
Sam Marsala, one of the aliases of Sami Sarhamaa, made also records as a solo artist. Scapes & Tracks (2009) was his debut album which I unfortunately have never listened to, but it seems that this was more or less a song oriented album. Unlike his debut the second album Trails Of Mist reached the office of our website. According to Sam Marsala, this one is quite different from his first one. The basic idea was to make an ambient soundtrack for the reiki healing sessions led by his friend Tiina. Usually new age kind of music is used during those sessions. Marsala dislikes this music intensely because you hardly hear any variation in that musical style. Well, many variations are present on Trails Of Mist, so I certainly understand what he's trying to say with the music on this record.
For Marsala the music on this CD felt refreshing like a kind of musical journey! I totally agree with him because the music sounds indeed refreshing compared with many other new age records. I heard musical references of the albums made by the Austrian multi-instrumentalist Gandalf. You can find the same kind of mellow and tranquil music on records like Journey To An Imaginary Land (1980) and Visions (1981). The strong melodic guitar parts in combination with the atmospheric keyboard parts on Trails Of Mist are just as enjoyable as on these Gandalf albums.
Well, in fact it doesn't matter how you would call the music on Trails Of Mist. You may call it ambient, new age, prog or even post rock; as long as it sounds great it's good enough for me! If you liked the albums recorded by Gandalf in the early eighties you might consider checking out this fine relaxing album. For me it was quite surprising that Sam Marsala could realize this kind of music after listening to a number of the other acts in which he was involved!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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