Liisankatu 25 A 10,
What a breath of fresh air! As if a new Circle album wasnīt enough (see "Prospekt" elsewhere on this list), thereīs also a new release from this Circle side-project. A side project staffed *entirely* by members of Circle, we might add. Hence, thereīs an unavoidable but definitely welcome similarity between the two bands.
Ektroverde are kind of like Circleīs alter-ego -- less intense (and yet, still really intense!), sometimes jazz, sometimes fucked up hi-NRG pop. The trademark Circle rhythmic hypnosis remains, but the sometimes austere riff-mongering and prog-rock precision is mostly superseded by a generally more playful and groovier approach, certainly nothing as heavy or "rockinī " as whatīs found on "Prospekt". Gorgeous, psychedelic instrumental explorations, even venturing into the realms of primitive techno electronics at points (Ektro-house?)... Thereīs actually many moods to this record, some parts silly and some downright spooky. To get a sense of the albumīs range, please listen to all three soundclips. We are especially enamoured of the track "Gradient" with its baa-ing sheep (this must be heard to be believed!) and Pansonic-like pulsations, and equally in love with the following track of creepy drone-effects, more like an Organum piece. In fact, this disc at moments reminds us of everything from Goblin soundtracks (creepy keyboards) to Van Halenīs "Jump" (well, that only briefly). Very highly recommended!!
Led by the inspirational Jussi Lehtisalo, Ektroverde are the offshoot of Finnish band CIRCLE to allow members of that band to have a freer musicial approach to free-form music. As Ektroverde the band play a sort of spacerock jazz music. However the spacerock isnīt like the Hawkwind style and the jazz isnīt like Duke Ellington. If anything the style is closer to the melting pot that the German bands of the early 70īs were experimenting with. For instance on the track "Puuttuva" picture in your mind a pefect oval shaped stone skimming across a flat body of water and the further the stone skims across the water the closer the distance between the skimming becomes. Well Jussi plays an amazing tumbling like bass riff that mirrors that stone whilst the drummer lays down a groovy jazz beat and the keyboards play a hynotic repetitive line. Added to this is piano that leads the way in a fine jazz style but all the time interwoven with this jazz feel are some crazy electronics which includes theremin. The track "Mtwara" starts off with a happy groovy hand clapping jazz feel that slowly introduces Sth African shantytown chanting which is then joined by the drums mimicking the same tribal chant and as the two (chants & drums) interplay between each other groovy jazz like keyboards play along. The only drawback to this CD is its short length .. Just over 38 minutes but maybe the band designed it that way as the music is so good you just want to hit the replay button at the end and start again. Recommended.
Yet another Circle offshoot band is Ektroverde. On Pingvin there are 8 studio tracks, two of which were apparently intended as a 7 inch release, and four tracks recorded live in Tavastia. Ektroverdeīs music is best described as melodic space fusion. The instrumentation is quiet, but busy. Everything moves along at a steady pace with the guitars sometimes taking the lead role and at other times the piano, but at all times playing cool melodic space fusion. The astral keyboard work combines with the jazzy feel of the music to make for an interesting mix that surprisingly seems to fit the music rather than oddly contrast with it. Miles Davis meets Hawkwind?
Things donīt really pick up until the sixth track, "Fish", where we get into the spacey fusion territory that defines the remaining tracks. There is some great standard jazz piano work and drumming made all the more engaging by the intermittent space synths. Not surprisingly, the live tracks are among the best. I really liked "Messerschmitt", an easy going beat-jazzy tune with nice electric piano work and cosmic electronics. "Vostok 2" strays into somewhat different territory laying down a more standard Circle repeating bass and drum pattern and introducing even more cosmic synths and even vocals. The Ektroverde sound is maintained though with the electric piano jazz-jamming away the whole time. The other live tracks, "Crescent" and "T-Ford", continue this cosmic foray into finger snapping lounge fusion. From the "almost released" Talvena 7 inch, "Lumikko" is a the great percussion heavy tune that has a bit of a Sun Ra feel to it and is one of my favorites. Ektroverde further illustrates the varied interests and versatility of the Circle folks. Itīs also the least aggressive music Iīve heard from the Circle camp and represents an interesting twist on the standard jazz sound.
The Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed in 1968 Futuro, a house made of plastic, resembling a flying saucer and reflecting the 60īs optimism of space travel. Made into a 30 minute Documentary film by Finnish director Mika Taanila (also known for the Muzak documentary Thank You For The Music)the film chronicles the rise and fall of Futuro alongside the 70īs oil crisis, which rendered the serial manufacture of the plastic house nearly impossible. Finish band Ektroverde composed the avante-gaude/electronic music for the film which is now available on CD. Highly Reccomended.