Siniaalto - "Tallentumia"
(If Society 2004, If-16)

From Aural Innovations #29 (October 2004)

The advent of digital technology changed the face (and sound) of electronic music in the 80’s and 90’s. At first, it made the groundbreaking works of the German pioneers like Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream seem somewhat dated. But as time has passed, and the digital revolution spread throughout the music industry, many of the slick, over produced (and often breathlessly new-agey) albums of the late 20th century passed into obscurity, while classic albums like Phaedra and Timewind have stood the test of time, inspiring many musicians in the current era to re-evaluate the role of analog technology in electronic music.

Three of these musicians form the Finnish electronic trio, Siniaalto. Wielding the instruments of a bygone era (they claim a current fascination with old Soviet Union made gear), but pushing bravely forward into the new millennium, Siniaalto weave a mesmerizing blend of multi-layered sequences, atmospheric dreamscapes, with hints of strange melodies snaking throughout. While certainly influenced by the German pioneers, Siniaalto are not merely Berlin school imitators.

I like, for example, the way the band uses electric piano, often giving their music a jazzy feel, as on Kuoleman Mekaniikka, which conjures up some surrealistic lounge on the edges of known space. Though don’t get me wrong, the music never devolves into cheesiness. Siniaalto take the music quite seriously, never straying into retro-kitsch, even when a piece like Kaski Symmetria-akselia, with its plucky sequence and gurgling atmospherics is eerily reminiscent of the soundtrack to some early 70’s sci-fi film. Heidän Nimensä On Siniaalto is probably my favorite track on the album. Being driven almost entirely by multi-layered sequences and what sounds like a manually played electric piano sequence, along with some truly spine tingling voice-like wails, it perhaps most closely resembles the Berlin school sound of anything on the album, but it certainly fits the band’s own description of their music as being “minimalistic psychedelia”.

All the tracks on Tallentumia were recorded live from various concert appearances, though there are no audience sounds, just pure electronic music (with occasion spoken words from the band). Recommended!

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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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