Also, the rehearsals for Kompleksi's debut live gig are underway with new member Perttu Piirto (a.k.a. Ever Had a.k.a. Melkoinen). If everything goes as it should, this will take place at Lal Lal Lal Festival, Friday 3 October 2008. Venue: Kantis, Ruoholahdenkatu 4, Helsinki. (Lal Lal Lal was the label which released Kompleksi's first 7" (I Ain't No) Lovechild/Moscow 1980 back in 2005.) Now, just pray...
Kapteeni Shiva Osa 2, the second book to Captain Shiva's adventures by Megatron Braineater is out on Helsinki's Flamongo label, featuring a CD. The first book was published last year on Flamongo. Megatron Braineater (real name: Maria Candia) is a Helsinki sci-fi writer, literature student, translator and a member of the band Maria and the Robots. Available for example from Zum Teufel. (Oh, the book is in Finnish, so sorry for those of you who don't speak our Fenno-Ugric language.)
Megatron Braineater: Kapteeni Shiva Osa 2 352 pp., b & w Flamongo Kustannus 2008 ISBN 978-952-5775-00-6
I've been a fan of UK's Situationist Moog lounge indie pop adventurers Stereolab for years. (Here is from pHinnWeb archives an ancient review of their Dots and Loops of 1997.) Stereolab now have their new album Chemical Chords out. The track 'Three Women' is from the album.
And while we are still at the topic, here is another gem from the era, 'Sinua sinua rakastan' ("You, you I love") from 1968, composed and sung by Kaj Chydenius, with lyrics by Aulikki Oksanen; from Mikko Niskanen's film Asfalttilampaat ("Asphalt lambs"), starring Eero Melasniemi and Kirsti Wallasvaara, with whom Niskanen had already worked with for Käpy selän alla.
Kaj Chydenius (b. 1939) was probably the best-known composer for the late-60s/early-to-mid-70s Finnish political song movement, whose timeless sense of melody has guaranteed the evergreen status of his works even to our own apolitical/right-wing politics days.
The lyrics in this one are nearly psychedelic, I think: "Miten huutaa minulle avaruus / Miten kirkuvat tähdet ohimoni läpi / Miten itkevät lapset maailman rannoilla / Ja merien yllä savuavat sydämet" (As a quickie translation: "How space yells to me / how the stars scream through my temples / How the children cry on the shores of the world / And over the seas smoulder the hearts").
After a typically rainy summer season, everything seems still quiet on Finnish electronic dance music front, so pHinnWeb goes on its nostalgia trip of yesteryear's domestic popular culture. Enjoy, or at least, bear with me.
Käpy selän alla, directed by Mikko Niskanen in 1966 created a sensation in Finland. (The title literally translates as "A pinecone under one's back", though the official English film title for some reason is Skin, Skin, also known as Under Your Skin, probably trying to cash off the boom of "erotic" European art films of the time, though by today's standards eroticism here seems extremely tame.) A simple, slightly comical story about two young couples' camping trip to countryside (climaxing in a drunken sojourn to see the Creatures playing at a forest dancehall) and reflecting the typical problems of baby-boomer generation, the film (largely improvised from the original script of Marja-Leena Mikkola) was a huge success and was widely received as a new beginning for Finnish cinema, forgetting the old conventions of traditional theatrical "Suomi-Filmi" style and representing a new generation of Finnish film-makers, with Niskanen's contemporaries such as Risto Jarva; taking its cues from influences such as French New Wave and international auteurs like Ingmar Bergman. Starring Kristiina Halkola, Kirsti Wallasvaara, Pekka Autiovuori and Eero Melasniemi, who were at the time of the film still fresh-faced and unknown actor students but would subsequently become household names familiar from TV and film.
Mikko Niskanen (1929 - 1990) was a film director and actor, who had studied film-making in the Soviet Union, debuting in 1962 with Pojat ("Boys"), a film both comical and tragic about the relations of young boys, their elders and German soldiers during Finnish Continuation War of the early 40s, starring young Vesa-Matti Loiri in his memorable first role. With his late-60s films Käpy selän alla, Lapualaismorsian and Asfalttilampaat Niskanen took on the urbane themes of young baby-boomer adults, though nowadays it's the naturalistic rural tragedy Kahdeksan surmanluotia ("Eight Deadly Shots") of 1972, which is considered his most lasting masterpiece.
The singing actress Kristiina Halkola (b. 1945), with her beautiful dark looks and memorable pout, would also be seen in many other films of this era, such as Niskanen's Lapualaismorsian and Jörn Donner's Mustaa valkoisella (she would later sue Donner, who had infamously used a body double for her in the film's erotic scenes) and participate in Finnish leftist political song movement (in the Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill cabaret song tradition, with such lyricist-vocalists as Aulikki Oksanen, singing groups called with names such as Agit Prop or heavily wailing chanteuses like Kaisa Korhonen and her then-husband Kaj Chydenius, perhaps the movement's best known composer), recording for Love Records an album Täytyy uskaltaa ("One has to dare") in 1971. Halkola's singing performances for the late-60s TV shows in the style of the political Orvokki-Kabaree stirred controversy, with then-provocative songs concerning such subjects as mocking the twenty richest families of Finland or interpreting an old church hymn as a go-go version. Kristiina Halkola also participated in leftist politics as a member of Finnish Communist Party and its later incarnation Demokraattinen Vaihtoehto. Her children with Eero Melasniemi have continued as actors and musicians. Nowadays Kristiina Halkola is considered an icon of the heavily politicized "Taistolaisuus" era of the late 1960s and 1970s. The politics may not have stood the test of time but the best songs created through it well have; like their more capitalist contemporaries, Finnhitsiskelmäs, enjoying a huge nostalgia movement in the 21st century Finland.
Tampere's electronic music festival manSEDANse will take place this year on 9 - 12 October 2008. This third manSEDAnse has in its line-up among all British artists Cylob and DMX Krew (both Rephlex Records), also early-90s rave veterans Altern 8 (Network Records)...! And many more -- the whole line-up to be published during August. I'm looking forward to this!
manSEDANse-festivaali 9.-12. lokakuuta 2008 tiedote (1/3) 15.08.2008 julkaisuvapaa: heti
Cylob, DMX Krew ja Altern8 välkehtivät manSEDANsessa
Elektronisen musiikin ja kulttuurin festivaali manSEDANse kytkee sähköt Tampereen syksyyn kolmatta kertaa. Viime syksynä hienosti sujunut minifestari saa jatkoa lokakuun toisena viikonloppuna, kun kulttuuriyhdistys MARry. järjestää Tampereella jälleen korkealaatuisen nelipäiväisen musiikki- ja kulttuuritapahtuman.
Tänä vuonna manSEDANse-klubeilla esiintyvät muiden muassa braindance-suuruus Cylob sekä elävä elektrolegenda DMX Krew. Cylob tekee Tampereella tuplakeikan esiintyen sekä torstaina Telakalla että lauantaina Klubilla. Perjantaina lavalle nousee myös yhä harvemmin Suomessa esiintyvä kotimainen Clouds. Lopullisen ilotulituksen sytyttää lauantaina brittiläinen rave-klassikko Altern8.
Viime vuoden tapaan festivaaliin kuuluvat elektronista kulttuuria omista kulmistaan käsittelevät seminaari ja työpaja. Näiden lisäksi manSEDANse 2008 -näyttely on esillä Galleria Huoltamossa festivaalin ajan.
Koko ohjelma ja noin 20 festivaalilla esiintyvää artistia julkaistaan elokuun aikana.
ERIKOISDANCE 10: MR. YAKAMOTO "NEW AGE HOME RECORDINGS" (CDr)
The 10th installment in the series of Erikoisdance CDRs, now in its 4th year, celebrates the tradition and creative technological approach of New Age Synthesizer Music.
Marrying the rugged, unrefined aesthetics of home studio production with the creative capacity of equipment such as the Emax II —descendant of the groundbreaking Emulators: the flagships of high-end sampling technology manufactured by Emu Systems in the 80s, used to their full spectrum by the likes of Software and Kitaro — Mr. Yakamoto conjures up a vibrant sonic palette of melancholic beauty, harmony and the unexpected.
Compositional structures combine organic, at times seemingly random, freeform patterns with exact mathematics and creative automation — reflecting the "nature meets art meets science" thinking of the masters of yesterdays New Age. Unlike his predecessors Yamamoto emphasizes the practical realization of Chaos Theory (a reoccuring conceptual level ingredient of earlier New Age). He brings the result to the audible forefront, built on a solid foundation of mandatory lush strings and bell sounds, thus updating both sound and philosophy to fulfill the requirements of the new millennium.
Includes exclusive Rainer Werner mix/edit!
RELEASE DATE August 2008
FILE UNDER electronics, neo new age, synthesizer/drum machine music, midi jazz, outsider dance, techno, electro, ambient
'Semi-Circle Solitude' is probably my all-time favourite track from Blues Section, a late-60s Finnish rhythm & blues/psychedelic band fronted by a great British ex-pat singer-songwriter, Jim Pembroke (later of Wigwam, another band worth checking out and don't let the "progessive rock" tag put you off, because there's some memorable songwriting here, too). The film excerpts for 'Semi-Circle Solitude' and 'Cherry Cup-Cake Twist' are from Jaakko Pakkasvirta's documentary film Eläköön nuoruus ("Viva Youth", 1968). 'Hey Hey Hey' was used in Mikko Niskanen's 1967 film Lapualaismorsian, in a sequence depicting how students in Helsinki celebrate Mayday.
YouTube also has Blues Section's 'Kuka kertoisi minulle?' ("Who would tell me?"; as vocalist Pepe Willberg, formerly of The Jormas), from Timo Bergholm's drama film Punahilkka ("Little Red Riding Hood"), another movie from 1968. Furthermore, there's a clip of 'End of a Poem', from their 1996 comeback gig.
Timo Kaukolampi, Tuomo Puranen (both of Op:l Bastards) and Mi Duncker perform in a spontaneous midsummer concert for a nameless island. Camera & edit: Gun Holmström. Filmed in the archipelago of Southern Finland (Inkoo/Ingå).
More Jimi Tenor & His Shamans; this video is from Fear Of A Black Jesus (Bad-28, Bad Vugum, 1992), the band's last album before the Shamans split and Jimi launched his solo career.
Courtesy of Tommi Forsström (If Society Records), who has now uploaded to YouTube the contents of rare Finnish VHS compilations Bad Vugum: From B To V (of Bad Vugum label) and Arctic Fury, featuring videos and live performances from the early 1990s by some now-legendary Finnish indie/punk/metal/avantgarde acts such as Mana Mana, Deep Turtle and Keuhkot; and alongside Jimi Tenor & His Shamans the act maybe most interesting for pHinnWeb, the early videos of postrock/post-Krautrock band Circle, especially of their Meronia era:
Screamadelica Don't Fight It, Feel It Higher Than The Sun
Paul Cannell (16 March 1963 - 5 July 2005) was responsible for the artwork of Screamadelica-era Primal Scream. Most famous of these was the "psychedelic fried eggs" illustration for that 1991 album, which the band adopted as their logo, too; also for Primal Scream's singles from the album, such as Higher Than The Sun and Don't Fight It, Feel It. Cannell created here a sort of fascinating and mind-bending combination of bright day-glo pop art colours and symbols, primitive art, expressionism and psychedelia; essentially creating a visual equivalent for Screamadelica's po-mo mixture of 60s retro psych-pop and electronic/dub sounds, Primal Scream's finest moment so far, which briefly epitomised the early-90s British "indie meets rave" scene.
As to the music itself, infamously, a lot of the output for the album was not actually created by the band themselves (who were earlier known as The Rolling Stones/MC5 copycats; the henchman Bobby Gillespie having also previously played drums for Jesus and The Mary Chain) but by the producers and remixers such as Andy Weatherall and The Orb's Alex Paterson, while the band was concentrating on just, erm, getting higher than the sun.
One of the band's contemporaries and rivals in the early-90s neo-psychedelic dance music scene, Colin Angus of The Shamen bitterly compared in an i-D magazine interview Primal Scream with The Chocolate Watch Band, a US West Coast band of the late-60s, who similarly were rather spending their time enjoying psychedelic substances in the studio backroom while their producer Ed Cobb (the man also behind The Standells and responsible for writing Gloria Jones's 'Tainted Love', later immortalised by Soft Cell) worked out with studio musicians some dazzling baroque psych soundscapes ending up on the band's album.
Anyway, despite (or maybe because of it) this lack of "authenticity" (yawn), I'm a fan both of Screamadelica and The Chocolate Watch Band. The Shamen quickly disappeared up their own Terence McKenna-inspired cyberdelic wormhole with such god-awful singles as 'Destination Eschaton' but the Primals are still around, even though their erratic output (subsequent albums featuring in turns techno sounds and "back to the roots" pastiche country rock) has for me never again reached similar solar heights.
Back to Paul Cannell, he also created artwork for such bands as Manic Street Preachers, Shonen Knife, Flowered Up and The Telescopes. Sadly, Paul Cannell ended up taking his own life in 2005, but his vision lives on.
A story on Helsingin Sanomat science page caught my eye yesterday, on Chinese Olympic team uniforms designed by Nike and the featured story on "techno-doping", where for example the latest inventions in nanotechnology are used to design sophisticated tracksuits, swimming suits and sports shoes for the athletes thus gaining better results when such things as air friction are minimized to their extremes.
The most interesting thing in the story, though, was the image above, of track and field uniform -- in the best Lara Croft sci-fi spirit -- for the Chinese team sportswomen where the imagery of communism (Chinese flag) and capitalism (Nike logo) converge in an ultra-technological, (un)holy 21st century union of two ideologies formerly considered their polar opposites. A hyper-trained androgynous android from the Eastern human factories; the narcissism of Nazism and fetishism of fascism now joined by the consumerism of communism?
Shadowplay, a Finnish cult band, who started in 1982, combining raw post-punk moods to jazz-tinged flavours provided by the trumpetist Marco Kosonen. In 1985 they released the now-legendary 7" 'Night Porter', taking its name from Liliana Cavani's decadent 1974 film of the same name. Shadowplay appeared with this song in 1986 Finnish film Kill City, which performance was the highlight of that otherwise best-to-be-forgotten flick. The albums Touch & Glow, Eggs & Pop and Raw Powder were also to follow. The band's henchman Brandi Ifgray was also to release two solo albums for Sähkö Recordings' sub Puu, produced by Jimi Tenor and Tuomo Puranen of The Elevators/Op:l Bastards.
Game-electro act Desert Planet releases a new music video 'Riot Sector 68' on their Website and YouTube.
The song is the opening track of the latest album Moonrocks and represents their darker electropunk/action game-oriented style. 'Riot Sector 68' music video has been made with the usual "b-class science fiction spirit" style and it is directed by Jari Mikkola. Earlier music videos as 'Return of the Ninja Droids', 'Lost Galaxians' and 'Asteroid Hopper' have gained a massive cult following on the Internet.