Thursday, 18 June 2015

Recommended music: 'Jaakko Eino Kalevi' by Jaakko Eino Kalevi

Jaakko Eino Kalevi

New out on Domino imprint Weird World Records, the debut album from Finnish ex-bus driver  Kalevi is a cool breeze blowing through various strands of electronic based music. I'm not sure what he's sinking about himself in the first track 'JEK' (my Finnish is a bit, well non-existent) but you have to admire him for opening up his first lp with a that as the subject matter. 'Double Talk is up next and it's a smooth indie pop track with a hint of Smashing Pumpkins' '1979' about it. It's followed by 'Deeper Shadows', which, like a few of the tracks, features extra vocals from Suad Khalifa. It's also got a riff like an early Jean-Michel Jarre melody thrown in for good measure.

'Say' is a little bit funkier & definitely reminds me of one of the minor synth-pop bands from the 80s, although I can't quite put my finger on which one. Next is 'Mind Like Muscle', a deceptively bouncy number that would suit a train ride across the Finnish tundra, with a glacial guitar solo at the end. The halfway point is reached with 'Night at the Field', full of brittle, brisk guitar and softly-sung vocals.

There's a laid-back, lounge crooner feel on 'Don't Ask Me Why' that definitely suits him, and kind of makes me wish for a whole album of songs from him in this style. 'Room' is a sultry slow jam that shows JEK has got the songwriting skills to pen a massive hit, maybe for someone else, if he wants to. Then 'Hush Down' steps up the indie-funk and provides a brooding soundtrack for you to shuffle across the dancefloor to.

This leaves us with closer 'Ikuinen Purkautumaton Jannite'. Like a John Carpentet or Cliff Martinez soundtrack this takes you on a cinematic journey, while an enigmatic female narrator tells a story. Halfway through the pace picks up as the journey takes flight. A saxophone appears and we're on the run from persons unknown. It's a great way to finish the album and I'd definitely like to hear more of this sort of stuff from him.

In some places on the record there are hints of fellow Scandinavian Todd Terje; not so much in the beats but maybe in the feel and style of what he's aiming for. A few tracks also remind me of Night Works so if you like this you should check them out to.

The album is out now, and there's a particularly nice vinyl version with a bonus 7" and a comic if you can track it down.

PS a disclaimer: I've listened to this 4 or 5 times but when I came to write the review my headphones broke 2 songs in. Most of this is therefore based on what was in my left ear, so if something startling happened in the right channel I might've missed it!

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