Weird. This list of March consists only of acoustic (or semi-acoustic) music. And my greatest gig experience this month – and this year so far – has been Current 93’s live performance, although they were more stormy than calm. There have been some pieces of action and noise in my stereos – for example Furia’s Marzannie, Królowej Polski, Drudkh’s Eternal Turn of the Wheel, Mgla’s With Hearts toward None and some selected demos concerning the coming issue of Serpentscope – but otherwise March has been about acoustic strings, some synths, dark depressive moments and crows picking your bones clean. “What did you say?” Well, read on.
JOOSE KESKITALO & KOLMAS MAAILMANPALO: Vyötä kupeesi ja tule (Helmi Levyt 2012)
The recent album from my favourite Christian troubadour. But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t just some easy gospel glory glory hallelujah but more like preaching of a bit lunatic, fundamental cantor. However, this is maybe Joose’s most quiet album – it’s so quiet that you have to be quiet too, and listen to these tenderly cruel tones and brilliant back-up of Kolmas Maailmanpalo orchestra very intensively. And those stories, from the pits of hell to the shit-stained deserted houses, are fine lyric in my opinion. Take for example the song called Meedio Mouhu, a story about a hobo psychic who drinks booze with other hobos and wins some money via lottery/alchemy – and drowns into a lake after he has made a bet (the winner gets a half bottle of alcohol, of course) that he can walk on the water… Take those metaphors and shove them into your throat and soul! Total lo-fi bleakness – not for everyone, but even a pagan soul like me can appreciate the fire of Joose Keskitalo.
However, Keskitalo doesn’t praise (pun intended) all Christian music blindfolded.
– I listened to Christian popular music to some extent when I was younger but I can’t say anything about new gospel music. In general I have to say that whatever the genre, I like good music. Gospel music is rarely good music. But when we talk about some old 7” releases of religious music, and sermons, prophecies and speaking in tongues released in tape format, they have always fascinated me.
I know that members of Paavoharju (a great Finnish electro/folk collective, whose member Keskitalo has been) have showed interested in black metal, but how about Keskitalo himself, are glorifications of Satan somehow interesting for him?
– I can’t give one clear answer to this question, because it would require more conversation and dialogue. You could say that “glorifying Satan” has many meanings nowadays, both in general and in the context of black metal. Sometimes people concentrate only on Satan as a person, sometimes the target is somewhere else. Intuitively – I can’t explain this better – my sympathy goes to the first option.
KISS THE ANUS OF A BLACK CAT: Weltuntergangsstimmung (Zeal Records 2012)
Another old favourite. Although Stef Heeren has abandoned the most of his bleak and drone-influenced folk on this one, we get a strong album with Weltuntergangsstimmung: this is synth-ridden new wave which throws words like “the 80ies”, “blue”, “sorrow”, “cold”, “hazy”, “The Cure” and “pessimistic” against your face. A drum machine and Heeren’s mellow voice (this time more dispirited than before) just keeps increasing this feeling of surrender before the Apocalypse – the general atmosphere of this album is same time very minimalistic but still powerful and heartbreaking. And again the whole deal is crowned by strong lyrics which can be either pictures of your darkest and most abstract nightmares or just unambiguous emotional still lives. I dare to say that this album has some similarities with Hateful Abandon’s Move, but Weltuntergangstimmung is softer and subtler.
ANTERO LINDGREN: Mother (Eino Records 2012)
And then the final nail in the coffin. This newcomer artist took me by surprise. Somebody described Antero Lindgren’s music as dark-spirited Americana-neofolk, I got interested, listened to his album on Soundcloud and got possessed. The skeletons of these songs are very simple and minimalistic, but the compositions on them vary from worn, acoustic skin to meatier orchestrations. I get some The Gutter Twins vibes from these nine songs, but not in a so noisy way – they both just happen to have that touch of tender, nightly stagnation on them. And again – again! – the lyrics match the dark atmosphere: knives flash in the night, the love is lost and the demons are crawling under your bed. Mother is one of those albums that you can go through quite easily, as background music, but when you concentrate on the details, the words and the tone of a voice, the harsh reality reveals behind the veil.
Lindgren is a Finnish artist, coming from the land of thousand lakes of tears, but how does he see the concept of sorrow and bleakness in his music – is it international or does it have something Finnish in it?
– Well, we Finnish people have a special relationship to our sorrow. We seem to (or at least I do) nurse the feeling. Like an injured bird, I take care of it, not rushing to send it on its way, I let it sit on my lap. While it lingers, it gives what only sorrow can give, a need to let it flow through you as songs, tears or whatever people do when they are broken down. What of this, is my personal tendencies as a Finn, and what an international and general concept of sorrow; I do not know. I just love my sorrow.