Verde - "Osta Oma Tampere Saat Kaupan Päälle Helssingin" (self-released 2001, CDR)
Verde - "Loki" (self-released 2001, CDR)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
Finnish avant-garde electronic musician Mika Rintala (aka Verde) returns with two new experimentations in sound, electronics, space, and the real world via what must be an endless supply of field recordings. What I like most about Mika's music is the imagery. It's not imagery in the sense of what the listener's imagination conjures up. It's more overt than that. Mika's field recordings consist of mostly recognizable sounds that he incorporates into his music. We hear rumbling guitar drones against a railroad train and running water, swirling synths and electro percussive beats against the sounds of urban crowds, pulsating electronic tones against a construction site, laboratory electronics combined with forest animals, howling wolves, and birds.... the list goes on. This all results in some fascinating contrasts. The everyday sounds of the real world combined with electronic excursions (though guitar is prominent as well). What's interesting is that the real world field recordings are most often in the forefront. The music is perfectly audible but the real world sounds are emphasized.
Osta Oma Tampere Saat Kaupan Päälle Helssingin includes more recognizable space and psychedelic electronics than the five recordings we first reviewed in AI #14. The title track took me by surprise being something of a real space rock tune. A bit on the raw side but it's got some very cool freaky synths and a pixie children's choir chanting. "Lähiöilmaa" is more space ethereal than most of Mika's work, though there's still the trademark mechanical sounds. "Cement Brains" has meandering freaky psychedelic electronics but is still firmly in the avant-garde realm. On "Windows", UFO synths pulsate at continually shifting speeds while a machine does it's work. The CD is full of these kinds of adventures. But there's also plenty of Mika's trademark sounds of the real world too. I think my favorite of those is "Christmas Eve and Tampere" which features droning acidic guitar and a dance beat against crowds in a store. You can hear bottles rattling and someone packing or unpacking crates.
Among the highlight tracks on Loki is "Hienot Vanteet", a highly thematic electronic piece with multiple actors, all pulsating and bubbling, and what sounds like real percussion makes a rare appearance. An enjoyable journey into a mechanical space realm. "Aplodi" features radio wave transmissions... flying saucers on a collision course... the Enterprise engine room... freaky! "Fountain" consists of floating space electronics, freaky drum 'n bass patterns, guitar, machine sounds, and I think I even heard a baby cooing. And "Kevät" and "Avaruusaluks Ia Paleltaa" include vocals, which are rarely heard on Mika's Verde releases. The vocal appearance on "Kevät" is brief. It's a female with an aggressive singing style that I thought was very good. And "Avaruusaluks Ia Paleltaa" is the closest to a "song" I've heard on any of Mika's albums. It's got a dancey beat but also includes trippy guitar and what sounds like bits of sitar.
In summary, Mika Rintala's works are fascinating in their use of real world sounds and music. Even when things are seemingly raw and chaotic there is so much happening that repeated listens reveal. And I suppose when hearing the sounds of a city or construction sight or factory I expect chaos don't I? Lots here for the individual listener to interpret. Recommended. You can start with either of these discs, or read the reviews of five earlier releases and the interview we did with Mika in AI #14. And BE SURE to see the photos of his homemade electronic instruments in that article. CLICK HERE to check it out.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz