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Paavoharju

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

Finland.

 

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.

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