was deeply influenced both by his lyrical
and visual force.
I still rank Hawkwind
& Robert Calvert as
my most important inspiration."
The birth of Nemesis dates back to 1.1,1987.
That day two Finnish schoolboys with mutual musical interests decided
to form a group. They had very clear image of how good music should
sound - yet nobody seemed to make such music at the time, so they decided
to have a go at it themselves...
Nemesis are: Jyrki
Kastman and Ami Hassinen
They live and work
in Kokkola, a rather small town on the northwest coast of Finland. They
are not truly professional musicians, mainly because it is virtually impossible
to make a living by playing their kind of music in Finland.
Nemesis has a serious attitude towards its
have no formal musical training. Jyrki had not even played any conventional
rock music instrument before Nemesis.
Anyway, he had had a long-standing hobby of making up weird space noises
with old radios he used to open up and reconnect (don't try this at
home...its dangerous, folks...)".
Ami had played bass guitar in various bands all around Finland for years
- usually in a very psychedelic fashion - so he has a more "conventional"
Coincidentally, they both had been keen amateur astronomers and sci-fi
fans in their earlier youth. Doubtless all these elements have had heavy
influence on the Nemesis sound.
both have loved synth music as long as we can remember. When Ami bought
his first synthesizer in 1986, it was goodbye to "ordinary" music.
Jyrki became interested in joining forces after he heard a tape, which
was put together by Ami at Xmas 86. We decided to try a basic jam session
on the first day of 87. It worked well and we have been making music
together since that occasion more or less regularly.
aim in music is to bring together a variety of styles: psychedelia,
a dash of world music, ambient music, the progressive elements of the
synth pioneers and the feverish pulse of the current trance-techno music.
Our main influences were (and still are) early Tangerine
/ Robert Calvert, Kraftwerk,
industrial noises, sounds of nature and
early Pink Floyd.
Ami is also a devoted Krautrock
earlier recordings do indeed show a great Hawkwind
/ Space-Rock-ish influence
- without sounding like a mere HW-clone - the feel of their own style
soon to be developed is already there - but the songs still follow a
more standard rock-rhythm formula. Energetic and driving as they sound,
these tracks are certainly interesting for all Hawkwind
/ Space Rock fans out there.
However, the initial enthusiasm was waning after a couple of years,
when it became apparent that it wasn t easy to make alternative music
in a country with no alternative/indie record companies. But Nemesis
appeared on the Finnish radio and received positive feedback from the
audience (it was on a program called "Space Junk", Finland's foremost
regular radio program, that features electronic music).
also created music for art exhibitions and a couple of short films but
that seemed to be the limit. By the autumn of '91 Ami was becoming so
frustrated over the situation as to give up the whole thing.
Luckily, he went to see the Kraftwerk
gig in Helsinki, came back to his senses and started again with tremendous
devotion that has not failed him since.
autumn we decided to put together our own studio to be able to realise
our new ideas. We bought more equipment (both digital and analog) and
DAT cassette recorders. The studio is rather basic but quite handy and
essential for our work.
We try to record most of our material "live" with the help of sequencers
and rhythm units. That way, we hope to avoid sounding too mechanical
and pre-programmed. It's also more fun and more interactive that way,"
name Nemesis comes from their astronomical
hobbies. Nemesis is the name of a small burned out star (or more precisely,
a hypothetical planet) that is said to orbit our sun. Its orbit is calculated
to take nearly 26 million years. It should be now at the furthest of
that orbit - so it can't be observed from the earth right now. When
it comes closer to the sun it is likely to cause interference on the
movements of the planets. In history, this has possibly caused major
changes in the earth's climate and consequently the demise of dinosaurs.
In the end of 1994 Nemesis
were signed to the Belgian Barramundi-label that specializes in ambient
music. They made their debut album Xcelsior
(BAR 6204) and various compilation appearances (the best are the Barramundi-samplers
II to IV, that include good non-album tracks) for the label.
They also produced a critically acclaimed work "Evolution" for Finnish
capital radio in autumn 1996. They have also a good reputation as a
tight live band, that appeals also to rock fans in addition to the more
"conventional" ambient-techno freaks.
of talk about music...which isn't exactly satisfying
- let's put some more audio-flesh onto these bare bones of writing...
- here's an aural appetizer from Xcelsior
- representing the more recent side of the band is the track >
- an example
of the drivng, mor rhythm-based tracks.
(summer 97) they are putting finishing touches to the tracks they wish
to become their second album...
...and just recently they played an extensive gig for a nationwide radio-broadcast:
"It went smoothly
enough and reception was a very good there in the club, especially the
organizing D.J's were very enthusiastic. Our most important audience
so far (est. 20 000 - 30 000?) was of course at home with their radios...
- Moreover, I feel that it gives a good impression of our new work -
it is rather dark and doomy and also rocks a little here and there..."
can, in all un-humbleness, not more than fully agree to it. I just had
the real pleasure to listen to the recording of the gig (probably as
the 1st person outside Finland...).
Absolutely the best Nemesis tracks I've heard
so far. Covering a huge range from beautifully atmospheric ambient soundspheres,
to some more rhythm oriented / almost rock-ish pieces, at times a tinge
of (un-mainstream-ish) dancefloor beats...
a BIG promise for any forthcoming Nemesis
Update - sumer 2004
you may expect, a LOT has happened in the meantime on the musical frontiers
Since X-CELSIOR the band has released a couple
of records - the most important among them is surely their "official"
follow-up to the X-Celsior record: SKY ARCHEOLOGY.
This has been released in 1999 via the Freeride/Spinefarm-label - you
should be able to buy/order it in any decent record shop. And you really
should do so, as it's a HUGE musical step forward for Nemesis.
On SKY ARCHEOLOGY the band is cruising a
wide electronic territory - from very wide and spacey atmospheric parts
to highly rhythmic, truly grooving and driving tracks - it's all beautyfully
merged on this album - without becoming yet another electronic wallpaper.
Nemesis show a great sense of timing, structure and diversion. The same
goes for the actual sounds - these are not your average tons of pre-programmed
switchboard effects all mashed up into a sonic sauce - these are carefully
crafted soundscapes - very often hinting to Nemesis'
'soft spot' for the warmth of the vintage analogue synths a.o. sounds
from the more acoustic territory. - And on top of it, the band showcases
their skills for developing instantly 'catchy' melody lines - again,
something, that's often missed in the wide array of ambient groups.
In short: GET this album
And to give all this praising a sonic foundation, you can listen
to an excerpt of ANAXAGORAS,
the closing track from Sky Archeology.
But SKY ARCHEOLOGY is just one among a couple
of releases Nemesis put out during the last years. I can also recommended
their self-distributed album MUSIC FOR EARPORTS,
which feat. 9 tracks not to be found on other albums and compilations,
recorded mostly in 2001. "MFE is more
quiet and ambient in nature than the usual Nemesis material - but not
totally devoid of rhythms and retro-elements. Most of the time it´s
very spacy and floats between dark and beautiful textures."
CYBERIAD is another release feat. a selection
of earlier material (1998) - this is intentionally in a more
retro style - and if this sound uncool to you, you're (for a change)
wrong. Another good one, released on the British Neu Harmony label.
Still, that's not all - Nemesis appeard
on various samplers and compilations - one of them is a Klaus
Schulze tribute album. The guys appear with a true tribute-title
piece named "The Return of the Neuronengesang".
interesting collaboration can be found on NEW WORLD'S
BY DESIGN, the first release of the SPIRTIS
BURNING project. This is a highly interesting collaborative project,
that feat. musicians from all over the globe. They all offer a wide
variety of source material, that's coordinated and put into final shape
by the SB-mastermind Don
Falcone. Other contributors to the 1st and 2nd SB releases were
THE MOOR and your webhost.
And STILL....that's not all. While I am putting this update together,
Nemesis' new album GIGAHERZ is in manufacturing-status,
a new soundtrack album is out - and the boys are already working on
the follow-up album to Gigazerz. That's OUTPUT for you.
Apart from these albums Nemesis have also
been active performing their new material. The played a couple of festivals
- among them the pretty prestigious Scandinavian Koneisto festival,
they performed for live-radio-transmissions and in various clubs. I've
also been lucky enough to hear one of these performances, where Nemesis
was testing some of the new material and also improvised quite a bit
with some guest musicians. Some of the material will be featured on
GIGAHERZ - and (again...) - from all I've
heard so far, this must become another outstanding album - a must for
everyone into the far and wide electronic soundscapes. So watch out
and check the band's own website (see below).
Calvert-covers by NEMESIS <
An idea that already arose during the first 'incarnation' of this website
was, to put together a kind of Calvert-tribute
album. Asking a hand-picked selection of musicians (both re-
and unknown) to choose a song or two by Calvert and record them in their
own / favourite fashion. This group of contributors should/woud have
contained anything from experimental electronica, to acoustic balladeers
and experimental-metalics a la Voivod - thus reflecting the variety
and contemporary spirit of Calvert's music. (I still like the idea....but
lack of time prevented me from pursuing it any further) - sorry for
that long intro - the good news is: some artists already went to work
- and among them were Nemesis. And they
didn't do just one cover, they had a go at THREE songs.
So, here's another exclusive feature: 2
of these covers in exquisite real-audio format:
#1: I HEAR VOICES
- a synth-grooving version of a song from Calvert's last solo-record
#2: THE LUMINOUS
GREEN GLOW OF THE DIALS OF THE DASHBOARD - I am particularly happy,
that Ami and Jyrki have chosen a / this song from Calvert's quite underrated
record. It was certainly a difficult choice, as it's among the best
of Calvert's songs, also in terms of the arrangements - but they really
came up with their own - equally great - version. Highly atmospheric.
Nemesis contributed to this site in yet
another way: for my animated version of Calvert poem SWING,
I've used various snippets of their recent output to provide the page
with a suitable 'soundtrack' - and I do believe this mixture works quite
well. See and hear for yourself HERE.
- More on Nemesis:
- the band's
own space on the WWW - the
their page contains all the infos on the band you need - and also
quite a good selction of Mp3 files, covering mostly their recent
(luckily) long ago passed the phase when my major influences were
easy to pick up while listening to my music. Nowadays, Calvert's
influence can hardly be heard, but his impact is still very strong
on the conceptual, spiritual and thematic side...."