Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Markus Perttula (Finland) – Kun meri nousi yllemme (album; 2x sample tracks)

Continuing in the more serious but experimental frame that we encountered last night with the part-Finnish Lennart Ginman, here are two sample tracks from another Finn, Markus Perttula’s, album ‘Kun meri nousi yllemme’, translating as ‘As the sea rose above us’, which was released on 31st March.

Markus is mostly known outside Finland for his art rock band Sans Parade and for its single called ‘Hyperborea’, which sounds like something you might catch on holiday in Africa and which requires multiple toilet rolls to deal with it. (Only joking, Markus).

This is his fourth Finnish studio album and the press notes alerted me immediately to his penchant for arrangements that combine alt rock, indie folk and chamber pop (which is exactly what NMC is about), and his influences, namely Jeff Buckley and Radiohead. That’s some name dropping.

He also has a connection to the aforementioned Lennart as he too is classically trained as an upright bass player (I feel we’re on a roll here) while being “a fan of both melancholic Nordic and vibrant Anglophonic indie rock and pop.”

All that spells variety and the two selected tracks from this album demonstrate his virtuosity. There were four singles from the album and I chose two of them as the sample tracks.

The first one is ‘Vaaleanpunaisen kuun jumalatar’ (‘The Goddess of the Pink Moon’), which is billed as ‘Kings of Leon with a pinch of Muse’ but which has the imprint of U2 to me. Or should that be U3 to you?

I’ll just intervene here to relay an interesting quote I read this weekend from Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish (another Finn of course) which said he has written few songs in Finnish because “writing in Finnish is rather hard”, and “Finnish [could] quickly sound really cheesy.”

I sort of take his point. It’s the type of language that doesn’t seem to scan easily so you’re having to squeeze too many syllables in. But the other observation I’d make is that quite a lot of the Finnish artists who do choose to sing in their native language seem to sound quite similar, be they male or female (other genders may apply).

Indeed, I found it hard to differentiate him, at least with the higher notes, from Stina Koistinen (Stinako), a favourite of ours here at NMC. Perhaps they should consider collaboration?

Talking about squeezing things in, what the song then does is to drift into a 7/8 time signature, one which does leave the impression that a note has gone missing. The very first review I did of a Nordic artist, a Norwegian by the name of Rune Mandelid, featured a song in the even rarer 15/8 and the effect was even more pronounced. It’s a strange feeling. I sense it in the way that you do when the engines are throttled back on an airplane as it starts its descent and you feel momentarily suspended in space.

Then, when you are least expecting it, it transforms into a short, surreal orchestral piece complete with a clarinet solo and reversed vocals before it splutters out like the radio message from another Starship that is under attack from the Klingons, which Captain Kirk is listening to.

The other track I selected, ‘Hauraus’,  (‘Fragility’) was dictated partly by the fact that it relates to the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, fundamentally the view or thought of finding beauty in every aspect of imperfection in nature (there is debate over its precise meaning) and which interests me personally.

So, older Japanese people (not so much the young) will mend their clothes ad infinitum until they fall apart, rather than buy new ones and will regard the repairs as things of beauty. I concur, as one glance at my wardrobe will confirm.

Another factor is the rather interesting video, which puts pole dancing in a whole new light. (There’s a side story concerning skateboarding and plate spinning but I doubt you’ll pay much attention to that).

This one is completely different, with a light, airy, almost Brazilian boss nova style and it will get you dancing, if not up that pole.

I really need to delve more deeply into this album and suggest you might like to, as well.

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