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Nurkostam - 1908 CD (album) cover





3.00 | 1 ratings

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3 stars I've seen NURKOSTAM (from Tampere, Finland) twice live, and I can tell they're really gifted musicians. Amongst their own material they like to cover both classic rock/pop (Beatles, The Who) and prog classics (Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes) in their gigs. Finally I'm getting to know their releases too.

This DVD is a (version of a) documentary film from the late seventies, to which Nurkostam were invited to make new music. The 30-minute film is about Tampere's Fire Brigade and originally it featured also a narration by the fireman who shot and edited the film. The original sound of the film was lost, but mr. Palom'ki re-recorded his narration, over 30 years later. Nurkostam's "1908" DVD - the figure is seen in the beginning of the film carved on the wall of the fire department building, marking naturally the year it was founded - doesn't have the narration but otherwise it's identical with the other version. The music continues constantly, and even though there are separate sections, they are not marked as "tracks" with titles of their own. Which would have been nice and user-friendly of course, but in the end not necessary at all. Inevitably due to the fact that the music must work also as a background music side by side with the narration, it is relatively calm and delicate, orientating towards Ambient and nearly free of louder rock elements. This doesn't mean it wouldn't work pretty well, even if you concentrated on the music alone.

I presume the film would feel quite ordinary and common 30+ year-old Finnish documentary if it was served with the narration, but accompanied by the music only it becomes more artistic, almost a poetic experience. Although made by an amateur (a fireman, not a professional film-maker) it's a very functionable and naturally flowing piece of film. The picture says enough, really. Featuring a slide show of old b/w pictures as an intro, the 70's scenes include e.g. fire alarm and the ride to the location, fire inspector's visit to a house by the countryside, fire excercises on both land and water, first aid excercises, dragging a drowned horse from a lake, a helicopter, etc... Luckily there aren't any scenes one sees people talking, so it works perfectly without the sound (other than music, that is).

The music, as I said, is Ambientish, peaceful electro-acoustic (mostly acoustic) sound tapestry of keyboards, guitars, bass, and not much of percussion. Introspective, perhaps improvisational, quite melodic and accessible, but always with sincere artistic aims instead of just filling the space with whatever standard doodling (though someone not enjoying the music at all would probably call it just that). Wisely no vocals are included. One section resembles (purposedly, no doubt) 'Konevitsan kirkonkellot' by PIIRPAUKE. Otherwise it's not easy to name comparisons, but don't expect rock anyway, just calm "film music" that makes no big number of itself. But it's beautiful music.

This is understandably just a minor, short release to be judged as a music DVD, but nevertheless it sort of grows to become a very pleasant and spectre-widening part of NURKOSTAM's rather limited output. Also as a documentary film it's more beautiful and interesting than you'd expect, probably even more so to a non-Finnish viewer, but most of all this is an excellent example of how well the wordless film material and music (with over 30 years in between) can work side by side in harmony.

Matti | 3/5 |


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