Alamaailman Vasarat - Vasaraasia

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Silence
Catalog Number: SLC 012
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:39:00

From the moment that the CD begins playing the first track, "Mamelukki & Musta Leski," you know you are in for an interesting time. It's a piece that might described as? well, Fiddler On The Roof came to mind, only with a bit of polka thrown in. With Alamaailman Vasarat you get both something fun and something moody ? that is, periods of high activity and periods of somber repose ? not to make light of the condition, but likely what it's like to be a manic depressive (which is not fun). All of this is presented is jazzy, fusiony, rock context where the instrument palette is piano and pump organ (Miika Huttunsen), trombone and didgeridoo (Erno Haukkala), soprano sax and shehnai (Jarno Sarkula), drums and percussion (Teemu Hännien) and cello (Marko Manninen) ? actually, in their line up now, two cellos. Their website describes the band (on the bio page) as "a Finnish group playing horny and punky secret agent brass music."

Someone on one of the newsgroups I visit described them as carnival or circus music (as did Eric in his review) - and that is very good description, at least in part. Rhythms and patterns take unexpected dips and rises that keeps your ears on their ?toes.? The band is made up of members of Hoyry Kone, a Finnish band also known for eccentric music. Eccentric at times though this is, there are also moments of beautiful repose, such as the sax/piano duet that ends ?Hänta Hellii Käärme? And ?Hakumies? is more of the experimental variety, minimalist with sound effects and pump organ. As the piece progresses, a dark toned cello and trombone join the mix. It is a dark procession that is also a bit Fellini-esque. What ever dark parade of folks are passing by, they are not your normal mourners. Perhaps it is the polka like rhythm that slowly develops -- oom pa pa, oom pa pa. Played against the dark tones creates something? interesting. But earlier and later in the album the band play with metal ferocity, the ?guitar? crunch coming from the cello. The mix of moods and speeds keep this album interesting throughout and no matter how many times you play it, you always find it exciting.

"Lakeus" reminded me of the darker themes used on the Star Wars soundtrack -- this is a mellow and somber piece? and once that image in your mind, the track that follows "Unikkotango" sounds like something the cantina band would play.

This is one of those albums that you just love to keep playing and find hard to set aside to listen to something else. If you aren't one who buys CDs in great numbers ? you know, a normal person ? then this won't be a problem at all, as you'll be able to practically glue it to your player (and given the sections that simply smoke here, it might just solder itself there anyway). If I had heard this when it was released in 2000, it would have been near or at the top of my favourites list. Simply put, it's a great album.

Mamelukki & Musta Leski (2:45) / Perikunta (3:57) / Lakeus (3:22) / Unikkotango (2:46) / Asuntovelka (3:05) / Kebab Tai Henki! (3:02) / Jano (3:21) / Tankkaustunti (4:42) / Merikaarme (4:09) / Hanta Hellii Kaarme (4:07) / Hakumies (7:51) / Delhin Yot (3:04) / Siltojen Alla (5:28)

Jarno Sarkula - soprano sax, shehnai
Erno Haukkala - trombone, didgeridoo
Marko Manninen - cello
Miikka Huttunen - pump organ, grand piano
Teemu Hanninen - drums, percussion

Vasaraasia (2000)
Käärmelautakunta (2003)
Kinaporin Kalifaatti (CD+DVD) (2005)
Maahan (2007)

Genre: Other

Origin FI

Added: July 7th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 905
Language: english


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