(2008, Secret Eye)
File Under = Finnish music, aka, nuts/awesome/weird music
To peg Finnish music staple Kemialliset Ystavat as a member of the freak folk movement is not so much a misnomer as an understatement. Sure, you could call him freak folk if you want, but Kemialliset Ystavat is way beyond the freakness of, say, Devendera Banhart or Joanna Newsom. His most recent, Harmaa Laguuni is the result of a long line of way out there interplanetary shi bubbling out of whatever alien voodoo pot the man is cooking this stuff up in. It also is by no means simply folk. There are folksy elements in there, sure - strains of acoustic instrumention, a general ‘organic’ feeling, but folk? My heavens, no. I’m hard pressed to describe this in any standard musical terms; folk, electronica, noise, music concrete, anything utterly and completely bizarre…there is a start. The end is simply: it’s Kemialliset Ystavat. Nothing really compares. Well, maybe if Black Dice and the inhabitants from The Labyrinth (minus David Bowie) got caught in some interplanetary black hole; that might compare. Until that occurs, we can’t really know for sure. Anywho, this is all just a long way of saying Kemialliset Ystavat is unique - unique and utterly mind-altering. Harmaa Laguuni is a limited tour only release that is still floating around a few places online. Spanning 7 tracks and 1,653 musical motifs (at least at my last count), Harmaa Laguuni is all over the place in a way that only Kemialliset Ystavat can control. In fact, I think it may be even more easily digestible than his super duper awesome self titled from last year. Harmaa Laguuni is an excellent exhibit of softcore weirdo noise for the whole family.