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Sperm - Shh! CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.36 | 9 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Two years after their bizarre experimental noise and free improvisation EP "3rd Erection" the Finnish band SPERM release their first and only strange and left-field full-length album with the amusing title SHH! (long before Chumbawumba thought of it!) This one was actually released as a double album on LP in 1970. SPERM may have only released a couple rarities in their day but they stirred up quite the scene in Finnish society and reined supreme in the underground scene. They were notorious for their outlandish performances and concerts that exhibited excellent psychedelic light shows to accompany their divorced-from-reality sonicscapes. Don't let the oft used term "drone" scare you away. This is much more sophisticated than just a repetitive tape loop unfolding to infinity. Each track has its own personality and yes indeed it is experimental but careful listens reveals underlying logic. While the members basically created all of the sounds incorporating samples and experimentation with guitar feedback and effects, it's quite amazing how diverse the soundscapes unfold

"Heinäsirkat I (Locusts)" delivers an extreme echo effect of guitar and tape manipulation. Sounds like listening to an alien invasion concert underwater! Guitar feedback is particularly tripped out with fuzz and reverb that creeps in and out. Reminds me of dolphin echolocation at times. The parts that have what sounds like a swarm of locusts is really scary and utterly alien

"Korvapoliklinikka Hesperia (Ear outpatient clinic western land)" sounds like a heavily distorted bass line of some sort with droning fuzz. This one might actually qualify for the drone label as it plucks away a single note repeating. The buzzing sounds like an amplified electric razor or something and strange ethereal ambience swirls around behind it. Towards the end are some samples of voices that sound as if they are being received on a primitive walkie talkie

"Jazz Jazz" imagine Ornette Coleman playing sax after smoking it out with the caterpillar in "Alice in Wonderland" and you're getting close :P

"Dodekafoninen talvisota (Dodecaphony winter war)" reminds me a bit of Karlheinz Stockhausen as it takes an pointillistic approach of burying an actual composition with layers of syncopated noise counterpoints that are deliberately jolted off key and out of timing to gain the desired effects. This one gets quite violent and probably the most disturbing sounding track on the album. It sounds totally chaotic at first but towards the end emerge the closest beats that could sound like a regular rhythm and a composition bubbles up from the darkness if you listen for it. Very strange track

This is a wild ride recommended for only the hardcore trippers who seek total escape from reality and want to enter an alien soundtrack that they have never experienced before. SPERM proved with their two releases that the most lysergic sounds didn't start with Krautrock and that psychedelic improv through electronic means during this period was merely an extension of the experiments that began in the 50s and then banished to alien world where they were allowed to evolve in totally unearthly manner. Personally i love this kind of stuff and SHH! has some interesting ways of keeping it busy and my attentive ears pricked up throughout its entire run

Like "3rd Erection," this is the rarest of the rare and was only released in limited supply once back in 1970 however it has been released on the compilation "Works 1968-1976" and is readily available on YouTube

4.5 but rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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