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Aalto - Aalto CD (album) cover

AALTO

Aalto

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Luckily I managed to get a copy of the band's debut, as I understood the album starting to be endangered of extinction due sell-out of its small solitary edition. I approached first the historical tracks from the later part of the record, in order to gain some impressions of Sampo Salonen's original visions about music, from which the group with musicians later evolved. First one of these early songs starts from track six, being named "Vesipisaroita". These drops of water drip from gentle picks of acoustic guitar, and the serenity of slightly untrained vocals contemplating spiritual lyrics gives a flow to these sympathetic sounds, echoing with resemblances to Pekka Streng's themes and music. Beautiful, calming moment is followed by "Kova kehtolaulu", being a more raw droning with world music elements, natural soundscapes, violins and didgeridoos. This lullaby projected a vision of monolithic scenery, which still has a constant movement storming within the solid compositional structure.

The other tracks are related to birds by their names; "Lintu" opens with vocals, gently touched guitar strings, and later introduces drum harmony layers. Monotonic hypnotics dive to chambers echoing with deep bass vocals and tapestries weaved from charming guitar note webs. Achieved trance surges pleasantly with great dynamics and dramatic flow on melodies, the fine world music style associating with feelings I remembered from Sevara Nazarkhan's and Sheila Chandra's recordings. "Linnut takasin kotiin" calls the birds back home with guitars, wind-instruments and laidback jazzy pulsing, the evocated avifauna already calling from the background tapes. Mesmeric voices and the persistence of sonic flow radiate both feelings of pleasant safeness and estranged foreignness.

The first five tracks on the album are newer recordings, having Panu Ukkonen on clarinet, Mikael Heikkilä doing percussions, Antero Mentu on both sitar and guitar, and Johanna Rossi singing. "Intro" reveals that the group formation has matured the sound towards fusion of wider diversity of ethnic musical directions. Throat singing is more present as an integral element, contrasted with lady singer's vocals. Instrumentally the opener focuses to the charms of sitar, rainmaker tube and relentless repetitions of guitar chord runs. The simplicity of compositions has also been established, and the solution works well for the mutual jamming symbiosis and tender details, like the really pretty end sequence's silencing to the harmony of quiet bells and clarinet.

Didgeridoo blows announce the following song "Rajastan Pimp", having minor klezmer- oriented melody for sitar and clarinet. Vocals later join for the wordless praising of the Land of Kingdoms. This theme pauses after some four minutes cycling, and starts increasing pace as a dervish dance. "Vedenneito" is then a quite shamanistic song, starting with singing with ancient Finnish traditional appearing lyrics, other instruments slowly joining the calm prayer. The song dealing with water nymphs flows on one singular chord progression like a calm river, and the end maneuvers were arranged with my judgment very beautifully.

"Metsätaloushöömei" runs with faster guitar driven tune for throat singing, and sounded like a raw medieval drinking song to my ears. Though I didn't like this tune musically as much the others, I really appreciated the lyrics, which turn their focus towards Finnish forest industry managing issues, after first being settled down for the beer. It is understandable that people living global capitalistic realities have to get some income, but it is also sad that the exact national borders of Finland and Russia are visible from space-taken satellite's photographs due systematic harvesting of vast wildernesses as tree fields for paper industry. Luckily there are yet national parks in the country, and environmental issues are also gaining popularity as the nature around starts to turn as shit, and the bubbles of capitalistic dreams start to burst. The last song with the first full band line-up concludes to "Päivän Poika", an euphoric trancer applying the full scale of group's instrumental colour. For me this was one of the most powerful tracks on the album, allowing traditional Finnish vocal recitals unite to global grooves of beautifulness.

I believe this album offers a soothing trip to global myths with a homey cozy feeling for the Finns, and as generally an incense flavored trip of hippie mediation for anybody. A really charming band, and though I think this hand crafted pretty CD starts to be out of stock, I would point it as a recommendable purchase if found with reasonable price. Kudos to Centre of Wood for realizing the potential value of this material in spite of the foreign singing language - not a factor affecting the listening enjoyment I dare to claim.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 4/5 |

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