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3 stars Lately I've been searching for new PA bands to borrow from library and perchance to review. That's one way to find something interesting I most likely wouldn't find otherwise - but frankly, often I'm not very interested in those albums and remain uninspired for reviewing them. This case of a Finnish experimental folk group is not in that category. Sadly my review is only the second in total TENHI has received this far. I bet many friends of dark modern Prog Folk would enjoy them!

At first I thought it's like CMX (a Finnish prog-related band) with a new folkish direction: less guitars, bass and drums and instead plenty of flutes plus some violins etc. The low, slow vocals at least are very close to A.W. Yrjänä's, and also CMX (at their best) have wandered in similar soundscapes of deep melancholy. I'm afraid I can't give any non-Finnish references. I was very interested at first but it didn't hold on til the end of the album. It's deppression felt overwhelming, and I couldn't anymore tell one track from another. Much of it was plainly too fragile (or 'low-profile' or whatever) to be played with a slightest of activity around. At the second, more concentrated listening I decided to tape only four of the best tracks (most of the rest are just paler variations of the similar stuff). But if judged by those highlights, this music is really fascinating and atmospheric. Something to listen to in a dark mood. Something to GET into a BEAUTIFULLY dark mood. Flutes, acoustic guitar, strings and some mouth harp and didgeridoo (to give it a swamp-like feeling) weave a ghostly landscape where the sparse vocals are like an additional instrument. I'm not saying that the album as a whole is bad, but for me few selected tracks work better than to listen through it all. Worth giving it a try!

Report this review (#135999)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars In the three years between "Kauan" and "Vare", TENHI managed to flesh out their arrangements with the likes of flutes, didgeridoo, mouth harp and several bowed instruments, all of which compound the visceral melancholy of their Lapland soundscapes. While they represented a disembodied voice alone in their land bound tradition, on "Vare" they seem to have plugged into the celestial network of formerly solitary spirits.

Thankfully the vocals remain unadorned and unobtrusive, somewhere between the whispered chants of their debut and the more accomplished rantings of WOVENHAND. In fact, the remarkable riff of "Jaljen", so riveting that it took me a while to realize that there were vocals at all, and the uneasy alt country meets Aboriginal flow of "Sutoi", hone in on the moods and timbres of that American band.

"Katve" is more up tempo with its swirling flutes and rapid strumming affording a Moorish sentiment, more suggestive of bands like ASIA MINOR or PROMETHEAN, and not out of place at all here. Elsewhere keyboards and strings help thicken the atmosphere of mini epics like "Vilja" and "Yola. Later on rhythm plays a pivotal role in both the vocals and the arrangements of "Varis Aloinen", which works well here as an exercise in contrasts but might render the listener nonplussed if replicated too often on one release, which it thankfully is not, at least not yet.

"Vare" is another winning release from these masters of morose nature and nurture, recommended to a wide range of prog folk and neo folk fans, and those who take joy in music that is intrinsically eclectic.

Report this review (#1527753)
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progressive influences gain more of a hold on Tenhi's particular brand of dark folk music, as this sophomore album finds them creeping closer to the sound of career masterpiece Maaäet. The song "Tenhi" updates a piece from their first demo tape and, in this setting, reveals just how far their craft has come since then. Mouth harp and didgeridoo may seem like incongruous instruments to work into this melancholy context, but in the hands of Tyko Saarikko they end up fitting into the wider picture and expanding its boundaries. Not quite a five-star classic, but still an extremely good release - say four and a half stars.
Report this review (#1740993)
Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2017 | Review Permalink

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