Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Paavoharju - Laulu Laakson Kukista

It has been a while. I humbly apologise for my lack of posts. I have been travelling back home to Australia after a stint in London. During the travel time, I stopped off in Thailand for near on three weeks. This post has been lurking in my blog directory for some time, and I might as well go ahead and post it.

Really, there is nothing I like more than a bit of Finnish Pyscho-Folk. I say that as if I know a lot about the genre, but actually I’ve only listened to one group that fits in that particular category, and this group is the obscurely named Paavoharju.

More of a recent discovery, Paavoharju’s second record ‘Laulu Laakson Kukista’, which apparently means ‘A Song about Flowers of the Valley’, is strangely beautiful piece of work, chock full of unpronounceable Finish song titles all which provoke fleeting feelings and distinct imagery.

For me, many of the tracks sound like they would fit in well looped over some bizarre goth art installation, or perhaps some kind of silent film. Perhaps a film with the camera set upon aged watercolour paintings, hanging patiently on drab brown wooden walls. Paintings, hanging there, not explicitly for artistic value, but rather for individual sentimentality. Perhaps a war film. Geeze, perhaps any film.

For me the highlight is the third track ‘Tuaksu Tarttuu Meihin’. I have no idea what the title means, but layers upon layers of differing sounds combine to construct a rich and fascinating tapestry. Pianos, vocals, voice samples and what almost sounds like carnival music, interlace and produce a truly unique sounding track.

Paavoharju don’t explicitly seek to have you dancing around your bedroom and this isn’t a typical pop album. On many songs, 'Ursulan Uni' being a pertinent example, siren-calling female vocals drip wet across electronic beats. Everyday sounds like trains and traffic blend meticulously in the sonic landscape. It is quite intoxicating. I am also particularly am fond of ‘Salainen Huone’, an extremely short track that features crow calls and imperfectly recorded guitars. It makes me think of gothic graveyards.

This kind of record is the perfect book-reading music. It doesn’t assault your ears. Rather it sublimely informs you of all the little component parts of existence that occasionally might slip by your consciousness.

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