File under = new weirder Finland
I don’t know what kind of water they have running through the taps in Finland, or the greater Scandinavia as a whole for that matter, but I think it is about time that we had some of that fresh icy H2O diverted to these shores. Something about it - something which I can only assume really - must be utterly refreshing and beautiful, that is if quenching thirst can be beautiful. If you don’t quite know what I’m getting at, then Lau Nau (formally Laura Naukkarinen) is the perfect introduction. Nukkuu, her second solo album, is this metaphorical water personified, a kind of living water if can excuse the Christian connotations. The album is utterly refreshing, starkly beautiful and satisfying in the same way that you might imagine a pure mountain stream would be on a hot summer day. I know, the comparison is a bit much, but it is hard not to be hyperbolic. There is something absolutely transcendent about the album, something gorgeous, something untainted and pure, something. It may not be easy to identify the otherworldly spiritual undercurrent that Lau Nau has coaxed into her recordings, but there are definitely identifiable ingredients to the success of this album. First and foremost must be the voice. Lau Nau’s vocal delivery is enchanted, child-like and pastoral. I don’t know what language she is singing in so lyrics are a non issue, only pure angelic tones. The effect of her voice is actually not all that dissimilar to some of our American Sirens out of the northwest like Grouper and Inca Ore, though her associations with Islaja and Kuupuu might be a better starting point. However, for my money, Lau Nau reaches loftier heights on Nukkuu than most have in the whole of their recorded output. The instrumentation is key as well. Various plucked and bowed instruments mix with what I can only assume are instruments from the communal musical toy box of Finland. It is a perfect fit to the otherworldly/child like/pastoral feel I was talking about earlier. In fact, this is probably the reason why I prefer Nukkuu to other albums of similar ilk (though, I love 'em all). Oh, and just as a little qualifier (if you haven't figured it out already), this stuff is weird, but weird is often the most beautiful and you won’t find anything much more oddly beautiful than this browsing the pages of FG.