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Psychedelic music born of cabin fever. Weird pastel electronica. Bizarre
cut and paste loops. Hazy, mist-clad experimentalism. Eternal drone
theatrics. The music of Finland’s Paavoharju, now preparing for the
release of their 3rd album, is difficult to pin down. The Wire dubbed
the music as “home-taped experimentation married to pop ecstasy”, and
the albums “Yhä hämärää” (2006) and “Laulu laakson kukista” (2008) found
the band worldwide cult fame in the indie scene.
October 2013 sees the release of the band’s third album, titled “Joko
sinä tulet tänne alas tai minä nousen sinne” on Svart Records. Main
composer Lauri Ainala’s penchant for progress and experimentation found
him at a point where it was necessary for Paavoharju to renew itself.
The major stylistic change on the new album is the inclusion of hip hop
elements, with rap vocals performed by Paperi T (also of the Helsinki
hip hop group Ruger Hauer), but the handling of these influences is
unconventional. Paavoharju’s brand of hip hop is far removed from its
roots, taken off the streets and thrown into the nocturnal forests of
Familiar building blocks from the group’s previous work, such as the
array of female voices and troubadour Joose Keskitalo, are still there,
but they are distant, often drowned in swathes of electronic haze,
sometimes just barely audible as if a faded memory of something that
once was. The major theme on “Joko sinä tulet tänne alas tai minä nousen
sinne” is alienation – how things familiar turn into things distant and
strange. Speaking of the album, Ainala compares it to an old family
homestead to which one returns after decades and in whose decayed state
there is both horror and beauty.