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Tenhi - Folk Aesthetic 1996-2006 CD (album) cover



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4 stars You don't expect very much from a compilation featuring rare and unrealeased material, if the band in question already isn't important to you, do you? I had heard just one studio album by this Finnish folk-rock group, and while I certanly enjoyed some tracks, I thought on the long run they always sound too much the same for wider appreciation. And why go through listening rarities when there are proper albums waiting to be heard? Well, I was wrong. This is amazing three hours of dark and atmospheric Prog Folk and I'm very glad I borrowed it (even if I first felt frustrated when I tried to read the track titles and other texts, all printed with tiny, old-fashioned hard-to-read fonts).

Rather than being a fan-oriented thing, a place to find throwaway material that didn't make it to the albums, this is an ambitious large-scale document of the band's ten-year history. I would have wished for some kind of discographic information to better see how this all relates to the existing output, but that's a minor fault. This is full of spellbinding progressive folk, often in a very slow tempo, and although TENHI's music isn't very progressive (in a symphonic sense), it seems that the long tracks - roughly ten minutes - are the finest. I'm not getting into details, but I guarantee that if you have heard something by this band and have enjoyed it, this is definitely worth listening.

PS. Tenhi is said to mean the village elder.

Report this review (#550198)
Posted Friday, October 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars In terms of sheer value, Tenhi's Folk Aesthetic compilation offers a real treasury for fans of the band, featuring three CDs of material, each offering a different approach to unearthing the band's vault.

CD1 presents a set of mini-releases from early in the band's career. First up is Kertomuksia, Tenhi's first demo, which mostly consists of material which would be rerecorded for their first two albums, aside from "Tenhi" itself, but it remains an interesting starting point for the band which reveals their command of atmosphere from an early stage in their development. It's followed up by the more self-assured Hallavedet, which raises the question "How long must a single run before it becomes an EP?" It boasts only two tracks but has a nearly 16 minute running time. Compared to their debut demo, this shows a bit more polish, as well as incorporating a greater use of vocals. CD1 is rounded off with Airut;Ciwi. Centred around the epic Kielo, this mini-release from Tenhi finds them getting closer to their creative peak but still not yet attaining it.

The second disc's collection of alternate versions, demos, and unreleased songs holds up remarkably well for such an odds-and-sods collection, a credit to the consistent quality of Tenhi's work as well as the distinctiveness of their titular folk aesthetic. The collection is rounded off with Kaski, an entire unreleased album, whose laid-back, almost folk- ambient style and vocal experiments makes me very glad it was saved from the cutting room floor because it can sit with pride next to the rest of Tenhi's discography.

If you're a Tenhi superfan, this would clearly be an essential release for you; looking at things with a bit more perspective, though, this isn't a five-star collection simply because the material here isn't consistently of five-star quality - but then again, it doesn't really dip below four stars either. As far as vault-raiding collections go, that's doing pretty well.

Report this review (#1741016)
Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2017 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars This enhanced summation of the most prolific and first 10 years of neo world music group TENHI's history offers gifts for both the committed and the adventurous newbie.

Though I would suggest beginning with their first 2 proper albums, "Folk Aesthetic" does offer a dozen alternate versions of tracks mostly from those releases, including 2 approaches to "Kielo" and 3 alternately named entries, one of which strongly suggests an error in the track listings and names. In general, these are rawer as presented here and neither better nor worse but perhaps more suitable for fans who crave subtle twists on their favourites. An exception would be "Kuoppa" which is a more potent variation on the "original" from "Maaaet". I should add that many of my top choices from the source albums are not here so to me this would not be a definitive representation of the pinnacle of TENHI.

For added enticements, we are gifted 7 numbers that are not present on any other offering and are in the vein of the early material, the best being the stormy Havuisissa Saleissa" and the eerie "Kausienranta". These could appeal to both novices and experts but, again, for the most part, they are not essential. Finally, the last 9 pieces are in the vein of "Kielo", which showcase a more experimental side to TENHI. In one case it's essentially a 3rd alternate version. GIven that the band has always been somewhat given to unusual structures or lack thereof, these offerings, while historically valuable and geared to some of the more ambitious listeners, do not really represent the entity into which the band quickly evolved, so are more for fans.

In sum, "Folk Aesthetic" is an intriguing representation of a fascinating and long lived band that hits the bulls eye on occasion and misses endearingly at other times, but always expresses the principles of stark beauty that have guided them from the start.

Report this review (#2965404)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2023 | Review Permalink

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