Kataya is a trio consisting of three experienced and successful Finnish musicians: Matti Kervinen, Tejo Tikkanen and Sami Sarhaama, playing keyboards, bass, guitars and drums. On their debut album Canto Obscura, the band also invited several guests on guitars, saxophone and organ, including the highly acclaimed jazz vocalist Johanna Iivanainen. The band gets their inspiration from the deep wild forests of Finland, one of the last pure, clean and unaffected nature reserves on our planet.
After listening to prog rock for almost 35 years, it still happens that new, unique and genuine progressive rock music can pleasantly surprise me. That happened while listening to Kataya. Their blend of folk, ambient and prog is wonderful and surprising. The atmospheres on the twelve compositions are often dreamy and contain slow rhythms with subtle, even a bit fragile use of keyboards. Besides, Kataya uses a wide range of instruments like modern keyboard sounds, guitars, saxophone, accordion and twelve-string guitar. It all sounds very warm and pleasant to me. When I close my eyes, I can imagine the beauty of the lush and pure Finnish landscapes that has inspired Kataya to make this music. In a number of tracks, the atmosphere turns into a more dynamic and bombastic sound, like Putkivaara with sensitive guitars and my personal favourite Avojaloin with acoustic rhythm guitar, flashy synthesizer flights, a Hammond organ solo and an exciting, perfectly build-up intense guitar solo by the outstanding guest guitarist Samu Wuori. In some songs, wordless vocals colour the music in a special way as a kind of Finnish answer to Pink Floyd’s legendary The Great Gig In The Sky.
Canto Obscura is a beautiful and captivating effort to translate pure nature into pure progressive rock!
P.S. On September 27th, you can witness a live performance of Kataya during the third Symforce festival at the 013-venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands (edt).
*** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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