Monday, November 24, 2008

Kemialliset Ystävät/Sunroof! Split 12" on Fat Cat Records (UK)

On Fat Cat Records' acclaimed split 12" series there's a new release from Tampere's Kemialliset Ystävät with Sunroof! (a.k.a. Matthew Bower of Bradford, UK).

Artist: Kemialliset Ystävät / Sunroof!
Title: Split #19 12FAT076
Label: Fat Cat Records (UK)
Date: 27 October 2008 (UK, Europe & rest of world) / 21 October 2008 (USA & Canada)


A1. Kemialliset Ystävät: Taivaassa on loivemmat mäet
A2. Kemialliset Ystävät: Hyvällisen tähdellistä
A3. Kemialliset Ystävät: Yöllä tulen ja raapasen tulen karvoihin!
A4. Kemialliset Ystävät: Pirtua raamatun kansissa
A5. Kemialliset Ystävät: Tässä maassa kun näin makailen
B1. Sunroof!: Little Ornamental Lake Of Death
B2. Sunroof!: Spiritual Forgery
B3. Sunroof!: Extinction Fantasy

Press release notes from Fat Cat Records:

Another album-length release, the nineteenth 12” in our acclaimed Split Series presents two immensely vital and influential artists whose fiercely focused and highly individual music has genuinely pushed boundaries and an aesthetics of movement / excess in two very different, yet complimentary ways, creating their own distinctive sound-worlds.

Led by Jan Anderzén, Kemialliset Ystävät (it translates as ‘chemical friends’) are a loose collective from Tampere in southern Finland. Existing in dialogue amongst (and beyond) the hugely creative / diverse microcosm of the Finnish scene including artists like Avarus, Lau Nau, Es, Paavoharju, Islaja, Anaksimandros, and labels like Fonal, 247 Laatijaa, and Lal Lal Lal, Kemialliset Ystävät has become an influential node on the outsider noise / folk / psych underground, finding international acclaim. Whilst many Kemialliset Ystävät recordings are solo productions, Anderzén has also employed many friends within this scene as floating / occasional members through the years, and other players on these tracks include Sami Sänpäkkilä (1, 2, 3, 5), Roope Eronen (3), Niko-Matti Ahti (3, 5), Tomas Regan (3, 5), Markus Mäki (3, 5), and Elissa Määttänen (5).

With nearly 50 releases (in all manner of formats) since its inception in 1995, Kemialliset Ystävät has remained a constantly moving enigma. Almost entirely self-taught and using a bewildering array of instruments and approaches, their sonic arsenal includes detuned guitars, bass, traditional / vernacular instrumentation (mandolins, balalaikas, etc.) hand percussion, all manner of electronic instruments, effects, toys and circuit-bent items, treated samples and vinyl manipulation. Playfully taking their own unique and unpredictable path, they have layered and fused together traditional Finnish (at times almost medieval-sounding) instrumentation and melodies with avant-garde electronics, psychedelic folk / rock, noise, electro-acoustic, and percussive tribal rhythms, creating a sense of ritualistic magic and flexible, group-mind improvisation, with the whole often subjected to brutal and precise editing.

A dense, tangled mass of independent roots, their music is rhizomatic, richly textural and riddled with obsessive detail, bizarre juxtapositions and hypnotic structures. Patterns form and dissolve again before fully apprehended. Whilst individually marked, the five tracks they’ve contributed to this 12” flow together as sections of one whole to form a fluid, simmering and restless journey through woozy loops, blurred harmonies and vocal contortions. With occasional jump-cuts, and all manner of spluttering, splattering electronics, its shimmering sense of tension eventually resolves as forms emerge – sometimes fleetingly, sometimes with a longer, more coherent rhythmic / melodic pull.

Brilliantly twisted and prolific, Anderzén’s home-baked output extends beyond his music to a vast flood of drawings, paintings and collaged artwork. Fans for a long while, FatCat’s initial hookup with Kemialliset Ystävät occurred in February 2006, when the band were invited to play at FatCat’s ‘Open Circuit’ Festival in belgium, at which they also played a live improvised collaboration with Múm. A fantastic live unit, they will be touring the UK / Europe this Autumn.

  • Full press release notes, sound samples and related links @ Fat Cat
  • Kemialliset Ystävät @ Fat Cat