Verde - "Kärmes"
(Karkia Mistika KARMI-010 2009)
From Aural Innovations July 2009 update
In 2001, there was a great compilation of experimental space/psyche bands called Flourescent Tunnelvision which included a tune by a Circle off-shoot called Tree Sine, and while I'm not sure they released further material, it represents to me the quintessence of "Finnish Krautrock" if you will (sans guitar). Mika Rintala (who's been on various Circle and Ektroverde recordings, while this is what... about his 10th Verde release?) played on that piece, and while listening to this album, I was oft reminded of that sound via the quirky loopy keyboard sounds. The album opens with a chorus of low moaning seance-y chants, heard often throughout the album, before hitting you with harsh synth streaks and a basic electronic pulse-rhythm with acoustics improvising overhead. Mika (an electrical engineer who has made continuing modifications to evolve his own sampling and electronics systems) does well at creating dark atmospheres by gradually pouring on more and more layers of sonics over hypnotic rhythms while usually managing to maintain a clarity of sound with all components. "Katos" merges banjo diddling with high-pitched didj-quacks and jazzy cymbal-brushes, not unlike the deconstructive "Ethnological Forgery" pieces that Can used to do. The sixteen-minute title-track meanders for a while in a repetitive pulse for trumpet before introducing the clashing computerizations of various sounds and keyboard loops. "Kukas" is probably my favorite cut, love this very distinctive deeply-muffled keyboard sound against the very crisp and melodious spaced-out keys and insertion of an earlier synth-line, all played over the knocking of toms. With the amalgamation of field recordings and trippy tronics, Track 8 recalls some of the Ektroverde I've heard, and at some point the piece merges into weird slow drone and free-jazz trumpet. The closer "Menos" brings the brisk sounds of violent crashing waves right into your living room, possibly even some synthesized or treated dolphin squeaks, a cool hypno-rhythm, and finally another bizarre combination of more waves and chants to fade. The album totals about an hour and while there's a bit of gratuitous noodling and raw material here which might have been more refined, it still does well at keeping its edge at most times. Love the photographs, too.
For more information you can visit the Verde web site at: http://www.verdeaudio.com
Visit the Karkia Mistika Records web site at: http://www.hahmot.net
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg