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Alamaailman Vasarat - Haudasta Lomilla CD (album) cover


Alamaailman Vasarat



4.15 | 7 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars A long-awaited DVD release, and even if their project with Tuomari Nurinio came with a DVD, it was relatively unrepresentative of their normal group concert stuff, which I'd seen live in the early part of the 00's. Although the band has largely remained the same since their debut, their stage presence has gradually grown to an impressive acting-through- music tirade. Much of the stage show is assured by the two front-hornmen, but the two cellist provided much of their very specific and unique sound, sometimes transforming into two double-bassist, at others providing amazing and eerie ambient sounds, while keyboardist Huttunen switches from piano to pump organ to melodica (also pumped-up), the bandspeaker Stakula blows into an impressive array of seldom-seen wind instrument like giant bassoon or mega-baritone sax or Haukalla playing soussaphone and tuba.

The first show featured on this DVD is a recent (09) Dubrovnik show, filmed with limited means, but giving an honest opinion of their stage capacities, but the burlesque is not as present as if in the hall itself. Actually six (of seven) filmed sets on this DVD are fairly recent (07 onwards), none of them have received a modern totally-professional treatment, either in the filming or in the production. While the Klezmer-Gypsy-Manouche feel is still very much present, their live sets take on a slightly groovy & jazzier feel than the studio soundscape they created through their five albums so far. I have a slight preference for the November 07 Helsinki show. The shorter filmed set are found in one section and include one Mexico and one Copenhagen set excerpt, both shot from a single "rear of the hall" camera, while the Tokyo show seemed to have at least one more, but sonically speaking the lesser means are also felt. Of much greater interest is the September 03 Helsinki show, where Stakula hadn't yet developed his Yiddish wooden troll image yet. And then band had a thicker or meatier (but less subtle) sound and a more restrained stage act.

Having seen the band fairly early in their beginnings, I have seen them very recently in the '11 RIO Fest of Carmaux, and their shows has tremendously progressed in terms of pure entertainment with the two hornmen putting a fantastic Barnum-esque show full of humour, which captivated the crowd and had them dancing of tapping something all set long, and this include yours truly. Indeed the deep-from-the-woods beardy-troll (with an understandable Yiddish touch, given the Klezmer roots of the music) physique of saxman Stakula and the scary aggressive Viking-looking (with his extra-long hair) trombonist Erno Haukala and his amazing juggling of his instrument provided an extraordinary front stage, framed by the two cellist, who provided added entertainment, despite remaining seated.

Anyway, the whole content of the DVD lasts over a whopping five hours, which includes some anime soundtracks (interesting), a few (21-mins's worth) video-clips (not bad), a short making-of documentary (in Finnish), but you'll have a hard time watching it all in less than three seatings/viewings, and that's provided you don't get drunk too quick on their enthralling but bombarding music (after all they are called the Hammers Of Hell), and there are many overlapping or repeat tracks from one show to the next. Unfortunately, I find that most of the footings included don't translate in full the lunacy of their live shows, and most notably the absence f the fun antagonism between the two frontmen, yelling at each other through their instruments, disputing the centre spot. While there are some passages that still retain the almost death-metal cellos of yesteryears and the band filming themselves through webcams fixed on their instruments or the always-neat propensity of Stakulla playing two instrument at once, but not in parallel (like Rashaan), but in series (one through the other). A very competent introduction to AV's astounding musical quagmire, this DVD will be more than you can handle for months on end.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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