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Koutus - Music For A Family Picnic CD (album) cover





3.59 | 6 ratings

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3 stars Here's the latest Finnish artist addition. The eponymous 2014 release was a trio effort in which the accordeon player and composer Harri Kuusijärvi (b. 1986) was accompanied by electric guitarist Veikki Virkajärvi and drummer Tatu Rönkkö. That album featured rather steep dichotomy between avant-oriented angularity -- to some degree comparable to the music of the other Finnish alternative accordeon artist Kimmo Pohjonen -- and mellower pieces, and it was inspired by wild Lappish landscapes. I wasn't notably impressed by it, and although this second release will hardly become my favourite listening either, I do find this one more mature... and above all, warmer and less bipolarized in style, and thus more accessible to also those jazz/fusion-minded listeners who aren't much into avant prog.

The line-up is a little bigger this time, featuring the same guitarist and a new rhythm section plus Teho Majamäki on vibes and effects, on most tracks anyway. I only wish the vibes were more heard on the album, but already the addition of bass means an important improvement in the sound. The opener 'Naltio' (don't ask me what it means) centres on a hypnotic, circulating accordeon riff and slightly industrial or Post-Rock sounding playing from the others. The title track is a slow and relaxed jazz piece in which accordeon is used very melodically. 'La Route de Pokka' is an excellent, crisp and guitar-oriented fusion piece, a little marred by (most likely an artificial) bird-whistle. The vibes are more central on slow and moody 'UFO Bar'.

All nine tracks are enjoyable, not very avantish really, but nor without brave dynamics and sonic variety. As with Sanni Eskelinen & Stringpurée Band (Finnish kantele-led band, also to be found in PA), all in all this music would more naturally be categorized under jazz instead of rock. A librarian's point of view, you see. Warmly recommended to anyone appreciating the sound of accordeon.

Matti | 3/5 |


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