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Verde (Mika Rintala) picture
Verde (Mika Rintala) biography
Verde is a band formed in 1997 by Finnish underground musician and DIY electronics designer Mika Rintala. He was part of one of Circle's finest line-ups and founding member of their spin-off project Ektroverde. Mika builds his own synthesizers, speakers, microphones, amplifiers - basically any equipment that can be used in creating or recording sound. Some of the finest recording studios in Finland (including Finnish National Broadcast company) use some equipment built or customized by him. Verde's music is an eclectic mix of styles and influences yet instantly recognizable and original. Mika's psychedelic yet earthy synths are accompanied by a variety of percussion, acoustic and electric string instruments and a bit of wind instruments by a bunch of talented amateur and professional musicians Mika likes to collaborate with. He also often utilizes different kinds of field recordings.

Despite and honed and professional touch, do not expect dry academic experimental sound art. Verde is playful and entertaining (although as far from your standard radio pop hits as possible). Musicians are having fun and enjoy breaking the boundaries. Still, Verde has its dark and serious sides. Several tracks are stark commentaries of modern world and its consumerist culture of negligence. Mika's major interests along music are long-distance running, orienteering and nature photography, so destruction of environment is a constant source of frustration and anger to him.

Verde has been compared to Faust, Bitches Brew -era Miles Davis, early Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream, Nurse With Wound and such.

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2.91 | 2 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
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 Kärmes by VERDE (MIKA RINTALA) album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 2 ratings

Verde (Mika Rintala) Krautrock

Review by Hiram

3 stars Fascinating album of jazzy, low-key, semi-improvised experimental music. Electronic pulses and drones with acoustic and electric guitars that channel Marc Ribot and other such avant-garde stuff. Trumpet playing borrows heavily from later era Miles Davis and synths and sparse vintage keyboards are like Tangerine Dream on downers. Add to that field recordings of various kinds and (too sparingly used) actual choir that's not here to sing but mumble, intone and chant.

Not all the tracks are great. Much of the playing sounds improvised and not very coherent and some things overstay their welcome while others could be developed further to real space explorations. Yet there is almost constantly present this bizarre otherworldly mood that really captures your ears and imagination.

Despite being somewhat half-finished here and there, the album as a whole is a rich and rewarding experience with home-made charm and freedom of expression. CD comes in stylish digipak with gorgeous photos including those of Verde's self-built amplifiers and instruments.

 Otto by VERDE (MIKA RINTALA) album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

Verde (Mika Rintala) Krautrock

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Verde is the artist name of Mika Rintala, Finnish musician and instrument-maker who lives in the same town as I do (and now I've met him for the first time, as he brought some Verde CD's to the library I work in). Otto, his latest album, is noteworthy especially for the fact that it's among the very last recordings in which Henrik Otto Donner (1939 - 2013) participated in. Donner was a respected jazz musician, composer, producer and one of the three founders of the legendary record company Love Records - the homebase of Wigwam, Tasavallan Presidentti, Pekka Pohjola and numerous other prog acts. The collaboration between Rintala and Donner begun in 2002. [The information is taken from the Finnish-language liner notes.] Seven years later Rintala saw a Steinway grand piano in Donner's home and thought it must be featured in Verde music.

That idea resulted in recording sessions in which the two, and six other musicians, made music completely from an improvisational basis. Unfortunately the instruments are not listed in the CD covers, but I understand it wasn't regarded important in the first place. "In advance, there was no schedule of what to play. Everyone was free to use whichever instrument present. Most often Otto was on his grand piano, occasionally he also sang and blew his horns. Everything is improvised and played just once. Especially Otto was fond of this method. The music was recorded on eight tracks and later mixed in my studio. This album is compiled from the first three sessions, and these I had time to listen to together with Otto."

My review concentrates on facts and objective approach. Perhaps I should reveal that I have never really "got into" the highly experimental, krautrock-ish music of Verde, having listened to just two or three albums before this one. Nor am I any fan of "abstract" music in general, or music that sounds like so called concrete music. So, personally I probably won't be much listening to this album in the future, even if I have quite positive thoughts on it. My good rating is for the firm belief that this is more listenable and variable than other Verde albums, and for the sincere feeling of true musicianship. The package itself is also pleasant.

'Kryssata' (several track titles are made-up words, not proper Finnish) features sound effects (sea, seagulls, probably sounds of sailing the boat seen on the cover?), sparse piano chords, free-form percussion, electronics and other instruments. On the shorter second track one can hear e.g. some trumpet at first, and soon the repetitive, ghostly synth/percussion pattern forms the spine of the piece. No. 3 features low cello strokes and a lot of cymbals, among other elements. On 'Takilas' especially bass, guitar, piano and hi-hat create a moody, hypnotic atmosphere. There's some faint human voice too at one point. On the next track the voice is more audible and can be described as shamanistic. Also the use of percussion, flute (bamboo?) and other strange-sounding instruments bring an Ethnic feel to the music.

The electro-acoustic improvised music on this album is rather minimalistic, experimental, non-melodic, repetitive and, gratefully, not very loud or in-your-face. In fact, occasionally it gets quite introspective. One could imagine it used on an exhibition of abstract art. What's most important, there are notable differences between the tracks. Rintala has done a good job in the editing and mixing. The track lengths vary a lot, and they are not extended just for the length's sake. 'Luuvartti' lasts for 15 minutes but it's also the most spacey one, and closer to 'normal' improvized chamber jazz, as the piano and double bass are in the lead roles. 'Hiivata' is also closer to jazz than avant-garde or concrete music. I recommend this album for those who are interested in improvised, experimental music and who favour ECM-like sparseness over fiery edginess.

  Legenda by VERDE (MIKA RINTALA) album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.91 | 2 ratings

Verde (Mika Rintala) Krautrock

Review by spacefreak

3 stars " Legenda" is the second album by VERDE, also known as Mika Rintala project (formerly of CIRCLE and EKTROVERDE). His previous CD 'Vuoronumero' was pretty much interesting electronics with an avant edge, not brilliant, but quite promising. This album is quite ambitious: it sees its soundscapes as a logical continuum to 1960s and 1970s wild electronic experiments, krautrock, PINK FLOYD in it's most abstract, and the early twisted NURSE WITH WOUND and THROBBING GRISTLE experiments in analogue electronics. And indeed, here is the krautrock as twisted by the early 80ies industrial scene, the guitar psychedelics of early ASH RA TEMPEL, synthlines of anything analogue, collated together with sounds of babies, people talking, field recordings, cut ups from improvised pieces of music with horns and such. Cosey's guitar playing is also dully copied.

I'm a long time fan of all these but the problem I have with this release is than no matter the exciting points of reference VERDE has no tension builds, structure or dynamics; it stays always a bit too much of a constant freak-out. Nine tracks here, spanning almost eighty minutes, whereas with some editing the CD could have been brilliant and genius at probably half the length. Perhaps Rintala needs to land in earth and look upon his material from a more focused point of view.

Thanks to Hiram for the artist addition.

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