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The Electrified Pop of Ozone Player

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OZONE PLAYER: Orange Apples (CD on Visual Power)

This release from 2008 offers 58 minutes of electrified pop.

Ozone Player is Finnish multi-instrumentalist Otso Pakarinen. Joining him on this release are several international talents: Laura Soininen on vocals and whistling, Brian Good and Mauno Tuominen on saxophone, Ami Hassinen (from Nemesis) on guitar mob, Paul Ellis on guitars, bass, vocoder and keyboards, David Guidoni on drums, and Gugielmo Mariotto on bass.

At the core of this music are electronics which infuse the tunes with an energized pop flavor without resorting to any crass techno approach. According to the press release: ?They say it is pointless to compare apples and oranges, but who says you can?t cross-breed them?? This witticism typifies the music on this release: a sly blend of diverse influences resulting in a surprisingly glorious new entity of inarguable beauty.

Track one features urgent keyboards and vocals processed into an elfin wail. Demonstrative drums and rock-out guitars escalate the piece into a frisky frenzy. This tune is an apropos opening for this album, exemplifying the bewitching strangeness to come.

In the title piece, carnival sensibilities are delivered via frolicking keyboards and chugging percussion.

Next, we have an excursion into faux gloom that utilizes dense bells to establish an eerie flair, then applies shrill keyboards to plaster smirks on that moodiness as those funereal bells switch to a host of chimes ringing out with an exotic charm that conjures majestic banquet halls filled with masquerading aristocracy.

Things revert to a quirky approach with the ?Lemons and Lizards? track as chimes and traditional percussion conspire to dazzle with complex rhythms as gleeful keyboards belt out riffs of insistent definition. Grizzled guitars lend a churning undercurrent.

The next piece features a pair of pianos expressing stately tuneage--and suddenly they?re struggling to survive a vicious onslaught by a mob of bloodthirsty guitars. The dichotomy is craftily handled; the result being thoroughly enjoyable. Classical recital music falls prey to a heavy metal assault.

Next, the tone switches to a solid progrock motif with searing guitars, crystalline keyboards, and rock-out drums. Harpsichord provides a lilting interlude in mid-song. The tune is engaging and expertly delivered to mesmerize and enthrall.

Then things shift over to concert hall piano for a regal outing with some pastoral hints introduced by classical guitar strumming.

Next is the only track that has vocals. This lyrical content is warped by extreme vocoder. The music itself is strong rock?n?roll tempered by piercing keyboards and snappy percussion.

Another pseudo classical piece falls prey to progrock sensibilities with rich keyboard sweeps, powerhouse percussion and Canterbury guitar.

The next track is an engaging piece of modern jazz with severely jovial distractions. Saxophone provides a brassy embellishment. Here, Pakarinen plays books as an instrument--with highly impressive results.

The following track pursues a celebratory excursion that fuses jazz and pop into an alluring concoction driven by straight-ahead drums and synthesized strings.

The final piece adopts a cerebral sobriety with delicate keys for the opening. The tune summarily slides into livelier territory as the keyboards go electric and eclectic. Upbeat rhythms boost the pep factor for a bit, while distant whistling injects a ghostly touch to the fascinating tune.

These compositions are inventive and appealing. The mix of influences are diverse, but the results are delightfully satisfying. And uplifting, for these tunes convey a festival attitude that can be quite infectious. In some instances, the electronics adopt a deep tonality that would be ominous if not for the precisely jovial impression they evoke.

Highly recommended.

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OZONE PLAYER: Frozen Paint on Boiling Canvas (CD on Visual Power)

This release from 2005 offers 52 minutes of cheerful electronic tunes.

Joining Pakarinen here are: Tim Walters (on recorder, hammer dulcimer and percussion on three tracks) and Esa Hyvonen on additional percussion on one piece).

A bevy of inventive electronics concoct a jovial temperament laced with sounds that evoke the nostalgic feeling of a carnival run by friendly robots.

While textural tones are utilized, these atmospheric layers remain immersed in a plethora of often-hyperactive electronics. Pulses and effects abound, while keyboards harness another level of the music with nimble-fingered riffs and slippery chords. Sparkling highs coexist with pensive bass notes, resulting in a wonderfully lush overall sound.

Surging electronics spill forth in a refreshing cascade, effortlessly producing melodies of glistening appeal. Haunting tones are attached in an attempt to balance the music?s irrepressible jaunty nature, but the sense of cheer endures victorious, spreading a reliable congenial mood from the auditory canal to the brain.

Percussion is vital to the music, generating rhythms of a bouncy character which excellently boost the songs with infectious locomotion. E-perc is blended with delicate impacts of exotic origin. Some conventional beats lurk in the mix too, rounding out the tempos with a subliminal accessible undercurrent.

These compositions are designed to communicate an uplifting cheer, but at the same time the tunes display a cerebral charm in their complex structures and engaging melodies.

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OZONE PLAYER: E (CD on Visual Power)

This release from 2002 offers 49 minutes of engaging electronic fun.

Joining Pakarinen on this CD are: Esa Hyvonen (on vocals on two pieces), Jouni Halmari (on guitar on one track), and Kimmo Kivela (on reaktor rhythm and liquid piano on two songs).

Mix mysterious keyboards with peppy artificial bongo rhythms and throw in a taste of carousel chords to soften the stiff upper lip of a very British valet. This fun tune is the way this CD starts off.

Fun is the keynote aspect of this music, expressing it, celebrating it, sharing it. Fortunately for all listeners, Pakarinen is blessed with an overabundance of the gift for harnessing jollity and channeling it into a variety of tuneage.

His choice of sounds which spew from his array of electronic equipment seems equally versatile. Whether he?s mutating carpentry noises into snappy tempos or applying modern sensibilities to classical motifs, his creative acumen is irrepressible--and quite impressive.

A bevy of innovative electronics and rollicking beats scheme to generate music that is guaranteed to yank you from the worst doldrums and propel you cavorting around the dancefloor. The keyboards produce a diversity of moods, from pensive piano to bouncy progressive riffs to haunting harpsichord to carnival jubilation. Those vocals mentioned above are processed to the point of being unrecognizable as issuing from a human mouth. While the sneaky presence of snarly guitar is delightfully twisted.

Setting aside this mirth-inducing factor, though, the melodies are superbly crafted and slickly performed. Intellectual stimulation is offered in proportionate ratios. These bewitching compositions shine with potent appeal.

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OZONE PLAYER: Videozone (CD on Visual Power)

This release from 2001 offers 68 minutes of zesty tuneage.

Pakarinen is joined on a few tracks by Jouni Halmari.

Electronics and rhythms conspire to produce a selection of uptempo tunes, each flavored with an eccentric vigor that is wholly unique. Pakarinen?s style infuses these dreamy melodies with a bounciness that is often reminiscent of the cheer exhibited by zany comedy films from the Sixties.

As usual, hordes of entrancing sounds are harnessed and applied via keyboards to craft delectable tunes. Sweet highs coexist with gritty lows, combining to achieve an array of ambrosial melodies that seethe with vivacious inspiration. Sparkling notes cascade forth to form chords of glittering definition.

E-perc plays a vital role here, lending suitable propulsion with appealing rhythms.

Guitar is periodically featured, contributing to the overall weirdness through treated layers or just hiding in the mix with strummed influence.

A majority of the 29 tracks on this album are rather short, honing their melodies into brief but lustrous musical expressions that leave you wishing they went on longer. This allows Pakarinen to pack a host of delightful tunes into the available space, maximizing the listeners? enjoyment. Despite the relentless switching from song to song, a flow is generated that unifies the individual tracks into a rollicking sonic progression. Do not fear, though, a few tracks of conventional duration are present to display the artist?s lasting compositional stamina.

This music contains the same jocular motif found on other Ozone Player releases. The tunes compress moody passages with spicy exuberance, producing an entrancing euphoria heavily infected with congenial humor.

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OZONE PLAYER: Insane Logic (CD on Visual Power)

This release from 2000 offers 50 minutes of whimsical tuneage.

Pakarinen is joined on one track by Jouni Halmari.

The electronics embody an inventive mix of somber tones and fanciful airs, which when combined seem to exemplify the dichotomy of life: blending highs and lows to achieve tunes which exude humanity?s two-sided nature. Peppy keyboards slide on a surface of moody sonic ice, vitalized by Pakarinen?s predilection to season the flow with quirky effects and novel diversions.

Textural tonalities are employed, but the variety of electronics is channeled through keyboards. What you hear is a dizzying plethora of sounds, all triggered by nimble fingers pursuing fascinating riffs that harness the composer?s creative spirit and deliver a constant dose of bewitching melodies. Celestial keyboards frolic with enthusiastic zest. Whimsical chords propel skyward while earthy piano grounds other passages.

While conventional e-perc occurs, some rhythmic selections are generated by the shrewd use of strange sounds applied in rapid succession to approximate tempos. These latter beats can be mesmerizing as they slither through the music, providing esoteric embellishment to the already odd harmonies.

Despite this diversity of sounds, these compositions possess a strong optimism that is highly contagious. The tunes shine with jubilant sensibilities; even the haunting passages display an undercurrent of jovial intentions. A carnival demeanor frequently lurks beneath the surface, enhancing this celebratory mood.

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