Verde - "Huge"
From Aural Innovations #24 (July 2003)
Verde is the moniker used by electronic musician and inventor of wild instruments, Mika Rintala. Followers of Ektroverde and Circle may recognize Mika's name as he has played at various times with both bands. It's been a while since I've reviewed a Verde CD so I was eager to dive into his latest effort, Huge. And this proved to be a delight because this is one of Mika's most purely cosmic space efforts to date. All the expected avant-garde elements are present, but a deep in space alien feel pervades throughout, along with an orchestral feel on many tracks that I enjoyed. Mika creates dark foreboding atmospheres with genuine melodies that give a narrative feel to the music. Throbbing tones or winding electronic patterns set the pace, often accompanied by the field recordings of everyday life that are such an integral part of Mika's music. Common themes that crop up are the sounds of children at play and crowds of people in an urban setting. We also hear an avant-garde electro pop sensibility on a few tracks, and I particularly liked the blend of robotic dance, trip-hop, dulcimer, and space-prog heard on "Rekku". Lots happening on this one and definitely a standout track. Another highlight is "Oliivi" on which we have a cosmic space melody with a bit of a dark carnival sound - sort of like The Residents in space - which works perfectly as a backdrop to the sound of children splashing about in a swimming pool. "Katti" and "Liha" include moments of Mika's totally freaked out interpretation of Middle Eastern influenced psychedelia. Mika goes space ROCK on "Soner Ö", with its alien space electronics that include brief moments of raw rock guitar jamming. And the last two tracks, "Super Manager" and "Onki" are the most intensely ripping battle-in-space tracks of the set. I think this may well be my favorite Verde album to date and definitely a good introduction to his work for those who have yet to take the plunge.
For more information you can visit the Verde web site at: http://www.phinnweb.com/circle/verde.
To the right you see a picture of Mika's studio. Check out the link to the photo gallery of Mika's homemade instruments at the end of the interview we did with him back in AI #14. CLICK HERE to see it.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz