Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tomutonttu - S/T (Fonal CD)
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of the solo project of Kemialliset Ystavat frontman and respected Finn Jan Anderzen. This reissue finds Anderzen further pursuing his deranged and chaotic sound worlds, albeit on a much smaller, more intimate scale than with his better known group. Almost childlike in its playfulness, the album is a rich and colorful affair that will have heads spinning with delightful sensory overload.
Translated, Anderzen's side project actually means "dust gnome," which is about as close a descriptor as one is wont to find for such an approach, especially when considering the artist's penchant for detail. Each piece lays down a world of kaleidoscopic sounds that largely intermingle amongst each other more than point toward any decipherable point. This means that tracks like the opening "Tteema," with its pitch shifting fuzz and interlocking computer trails, leaves ample space for immersion into its unique vision, seeking its eccentricities in the broader scope of its whole.
Much the same can be said of all of the offerings here as Anderzen appears to incorporate an entire children's orchestra into his lineup. "Kohtublues," with overlayed bendings of a slide whistle bobbing between lo-fidelity keyboard meanderings, is at once nostalgic in its sense of youth and forward looking in its sonic conception. There is an elfish quality to its mischevious charisma when the looped vocals and birdcalls of "Live in EU I" mesh with the toy piano loops and various fuzed interludes, as if Anderzen knows he's playing unfairly by bending the rules so much and getting away with it.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this work though is not that it manages to be as dementedly pleasing as it is without making concessions, but that it manages to avoid the trappings often associated with this kind of cuteness. Rather, Anderzen's work is neither redundant nor overly precious despite its natural feel and fried aeshetic. Certainly psychedelic in its connotations, it is still a challenging and rewarding enough a listen to warrent significant attention in any mindstate.
Take "Oksat Pois" as ample evidence. Its bird calls, including owl hoots and morning doves, coexist among electronic shards of light that come and go to cartoony effect, playing off of the associations of the bird calls rather than riding their intrinsic charm toward any cheap success.
By the time "King of Nu H" closes the album it's clear that this is a certifiably distinct vision and one far beyond the developmental stages of the typical debut album. At once experimental, joyous, immersive and overwhelming, this is an album to be cherished in the world of new music, and one whose emotional content extends far beyond the technological or instrumental tactics used. Filled with mystery, it is a disc well worth returning to many times, as there is surely a wealth of discovery to be had. I'm glad to see it finally available to more than the initial 400 who bought the vinyl.