Somnambule - Writing About Music

Hei ~ Laivoja Ja Junia

...Me Encontre Solo En la Oscu inaugurates ambient, Finnish composer Hei's debut with crackle, hum and crackly flamenco guitar eventually joined by a waterlogged vocal smeared out at halfspeed. Junia Ja Laivoja Akureyriin is more animated, seemingly an intense duet for dulcimer and guitar. It grows increasingly dense as though attempting to scour up every available square inch of air in an absorbent, ringing drone. Lumisade is no more earthboond than it's predecessor. Washes of sound like rain upon pantiles, accompanied by attenuated chimes like the memory of bells.

Pohjoisnapa/Dar Es Salaam proffers the briefest of chords strummed on an acoustic guitar in an atmosphere laden with reverb. It's over almost before it's begun. Tango comes as a momentary surprise: a bandoneon flourish is captured like a snapshot and then stretched for minutes on end. The result resembles an aural Gerhard Richter scrape painting and the essence of the track stands in sharp relief against its gestural beginning: momentarily so full of life, it's stretched out upon a rack of grief.

Punainen Harmaa must be the sound of long skeins of wire wool stretched against the sky, troubled by strange winds - in fact it's reminiscent of Harold Budd and Brian Eno's The Plateaux Of Mirror, but without Budd's piano. On further listening there's also a much greater sense of mass than the linking to such an ethereal predecessor might imply. By the 10 minute mark the music has achieved a sort of wheeling grandeur, with a rust-like mark of something almost celestial.

Laulu Kuulle, Ja Sateelle begins with a harmonica lament vhich traces mournful lines against a background of quiet scrabbling. The pace is slow bordering on soporific. The harmonica passage is succeeded by minor streetnoise and, ultimately, the silence that marks the end of a track - or so it seems. In fact it's a long pause which is eventually interrupted by distorted guitar like a howling in the darkness. It makes for a welcome, expectation-confounding conclusion to an understated, occasionally stark, but increasingly rewarding debut. File this besides Simon Fisher Turner's wonderfully evocative soundtrack to Derek Jarman's Carravagio.
Colin Buttimer
August 2004
Published by Absorb