Malcolm Dove, Classic Rock Presents Prog 15 (May 2010):

Pekka Pohjola: B The Magpie - The Mathematician's Air Display

One of the most talented of all European progressive musicians, the late Pekka Pohjola (he died in 2008) might be best known as bassist with Wigwam in their early days, but he also recorded a series of challenging solo albums, which showcased his maverick compositional and multi-instrumental talents. These two represent different strands of his art.

From 1974, B The Magpie was Pohjola's second solo release. It's something of a concept album, with the emphasis definitely on the jazzier areas of music. It has distinct influences from Frank Zappa, who was a Pohjola fan. In fact, the pair nearly worked together, but the project was scrapped.

This album persuaded Virgin to sign the man, leading to 77's The Mathematicians`s Air Display, co-produced by Mike Oldfield, who also played on it. A little more mainstream, the Oldfield input is obvious and considerable. Oddly, it was subsequently released a few years later under the title of The Consequences Of Indecisions - as an Oldfield record!

Of these two, it's the former that's the more satisfying and holds up better. Mainly because it has depth and originality. The latter, though, sounds forced, and Oldfield's touches just don't fit into the overall pattern.