It’s been a big year for progressive content, and if you take a look at a record like Vuola’s Alouv, you’re going to understand why. Alouv isn’t a traditional prog effort; it’s not joined by theatrics or even the typical camp that has long been associated with the genre, but instead a compositional style that tethers one song to the next all too seamlessly to press the skip button. From “Under Above Orion Venus Loves” to simpler works like “Laugh Vivid Often Adore Unity,” these are not tracks composed by someone who lacks depth as a musician or performer by any means.
The detail within the arrangements of ‘Vapaa Uljas Onnen Lapsi Aamun” and “Astra Lucia Omnia Ultra Verum” isn’t lost in this master mix, but instead given some room to be celebrated and defined in the grander scheme of things. There’s nothing worse than having an intricacy-filled effort that doesn’t give us an up-close and personal view of every element comprising the heart of the music, but that isn’t something we need to worry about with Vuola in the pilot’s seat. His attention to detail is impressive, if not one of the main reasons why I would recommend checking out his music.
“Omana Omala Ogana Odati Ojoda” and “Under Above Orion Venus Loves” have several sonic points of contrast, but I don’t get the feeling that Vuola wanted this record to be produced on an even keel. To me, there’s more to be learned about his artistry through a jagged approach to the production style and quality here, which is why the juxtaposition between these two songs – situated together in the tracklist, I should note – is definitely essential to our understanding the main narrative being built from the ground up in Alouv.
It would seem to me that this album was made specifically with rock aficionados in mind, but not necessarily the progressive audience that is going to wind up embracing it as one of their own long before critics like myself get to have our say. Alouv is such an immersive offering, but it rejects any attempt to look past its fanciful cosmetic setup in favor of leaving its mastermind shrouded in mystique. It’s a familiar technique that has brought icon status to plenty of players through the years, and at the rate this project is excelling, it’s a fate that’s going to befall Vuola as well.