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Finland’s GROOVECTOR has existed since 1996 and had two official studio albums: “Ultramarine” (2000) and “Enigmatic Elements” (2003), both being part of the Mellow Records catalog. Their first live album “Darklubing at Tavastia” was issued in 2004, but the recording was made more than two years ago, in January 2002.

Ultramarine (Mellow Records MMP399) is symphonic progressive rock in the 1970’s style, and it’s not often that today’s bands manage to make something this good within that genre. They introduce themselves with 64 minutes of slowly evolving, often mellow, almost cinematic instrumental music, where flute and keyboards weave out enchanting melodies over rich keyboard layers and a rock-steady rhythm section. Groovector’s sound is shamelessly retro, especially in the keyboard department where you get Hammond B-3 smears, Fender Rhodes comping and buzzing analog synthesizer solo lines (there is especially one drilling Micro Moog patch that is featured heavily). Electric guitar appears on just two songs to provide bluesy, melodic leads and solos.

If comparisons are required, Focus and, to a lesser degree, Camel would do, largely because of the instrumentation and melodic qualities, but Groovector don’t really sound like either of them. In the same way, the lyricism during the more delicate moments (especially the short acoustic guitar piece “Berceuse”) might remind of the 70’s Italian prog sound, but the at times melancholy, at times rhapsodically bittersweet melodies and impressionistic arrangements bear greater family resemblance to Scandinavian folk (in the way of Bo Hansson


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