Svart Records present the first ever reissue of this extremely elusive 1979 instrumental progressive fusion album. The reissue comes with gatefold covers including new liner notes and a repro copy of Sukellusvene’s only 7″ release Savitaipaleen polkka / Sea Journey, complete with the original picture sleeve design.
Although recorded as late as 1978, the album sounds more like something from 1973. Production values are high and the music flows effortlessly. The album was released on Love Records as late as 1979, one of the last records the label ever did. Considering how the Finnish music climate had turned unfavourable towards fusion and prog, and how Love Records was also about to go bankrupt, it’s no surprise that the album sold a modest 300 copies.
Sukellusvene, from the southern Finnish town of Lappeenranta, (“Submarine”) began their history already in 1971. In the beginning the band’s style was completely experimental. “We taped some clapping logs together, tearing of newspaper and clanging of tin buckets”, remembers Tapani “Teippi” Tuomanen who was responsible of the compositions. “Instead of mainstream pop I was interested in avant-garde music and albums such as Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma and Frank Zappa’s Uncle Meat. Our first gig – as a warm-up act for Pugh Rogefeldt – was pretty chaotic. The hippies were high as kites, sitting cross-legged in front of us, and the more ordinary rock fans were probably outside having a smoke. Some time later Lassi’s sister Maikki joined us on flute, and it changed everything”, Teippi recalls.
According to guitarist Jukka Mäkinen the biggest change in the band’s style came along the temporary member Mikko Pääkkönen, a cellist from Lappeenranta Town Orchestra. “Mikko was nuts about Mahavishnu Orchestra and we headed towards that kind of instrumental stuff. Teippi’s compositions were more melodic, influenced by Mike Oldfield and Steve Hillage. In 1977 Sukellusvene shared first place with Jimi Sumen’s Dreams in a pop band contest.
“That must have been the most important event in the band’s history so far”, Jukka Mäkinen says. “After that we made a demo tape, and since I was studying in Helsinki, I took it to Love Records. The very first song, my John Coltrane influenced ‘Hiilijuna’ (“Coal train”) impressed Atte Blom. As far as I remember, we just shook hands for the recording deal. Otto Donner was practicing trumpet in the next room.”
The album Vesi- ja lintumusiikkia (“Water and Bird Music”) was recorded in four days in the autumn of 1978. Jukka: “We were practically on our own in the Microvox studio in Lahti, but that was OK. Once Atte phoned us and asked how is it going. Apparently we thought at the time that the publisher is also the producer of an album. Anyway, the sessions were an exciting experience for us. It was a torture to carry the massive Hammond B-3 into the studio. I was nearly squashed by it, and we decided never to drag B-3 to gigs!”
The 7″ single Savitaipaleen polkka / Sea Journey was recorded in the same sessions. Teippi recalls: “Atte Blom told us that someone was insistently expecting there to be a polka, too. Well, there wasn’t, so we had a quick rehearsal and just taped the polka. It ended up getting a lot of radio play, and we even performed it on TV several times.”