I’ve often held that some of the best experimental electronic music emerges out of Finland and here is young Orvokki (Oittila) with her debut album, to prove or disprove the theory.
‘Kasvotusten’ means face to face and the title track would have made for an appropriate sampler but for the fact it is only 1 minute 33 seconds long, hardly time to get face to face with anyone.
Eventually I opted for ‘Marie Antoinette’, the regal French Ms ‘Let them eat cake’ herself,a subject sufficiently evocative for a composer who seems to like going beneath the surface into experimental areas on much of her work and who offers plenty of material for her to work around – gambling, profligacy, also promiscuity, orchestrating orgies, incest – and they were just the sexual misdemeanors, never mind high treason, which alone took her to her meeting with Madame Guillotine.
So far she’s released only a few EPs but has built up a strong following both in Finland and abroad. Fundamentally she’s an exponent of electronic indie pop, but having listened to most of the album tracks I’d recommend that you don’t get your hopes up about being able to dance to any of them. This is deep, serious music for listening and chewing the fat over.
The instrumental intro sounds like somebody’s tape deck got stuck before her quite heavenly vocal arrives about 15 seconds in. What is it with female Finnish singers that they can sing so effortlessly?
A succession of electronically generated sounds cuts in, one of them providing a ‘beat’, others a series of high-pitched notes set on a rapid loop, then a deeper synth sound enters stage left and both are quite reminiscent of early passages in ‘Tubular Bells’, if that helps you formulate an early appraisal of what this sounds like.
Then, from out of left field, a military beat arrives then instantly disappears to be replaced by a formless vocal over random drum patterns. It is almost as if she is chanting a nursery rhyme. Then it recovers much of its structure instantly to encompass an ensemble of everything you just read about which carries it through the outro.
I have no idea if the track is actually about Marie Antoinette; I couldn’t get hold of the lyrics to translate. But that final passage did open my mind to an image of the lady in an open cart on her hour long journey to execution, experiencing a mélange of sensations. If that was the intention, it worked perfectly.
‘Kasvotusten’ was released on November 24th on the independent Luova Records label.
Find her on: