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Stinako (Finland) – Mind (EP)

Stinako (Stina Koistinen) knows a thing or two about medical matters. A few years ago, together with her compatriot Astrid Swan, she released a poignant EP which examined the lingering effect on both of them of chronic illnesses and how they dealt with it.

Now she returns with what is the first of three EPs in 2024, each representing a different genre and each of which has a specific theme of its own, namely ‘Mind’, ‘Body’ and ‘Spirit’, starting with ‘Mind’, which is a collaboration with Timo Kaukolampi, a Helsinki-based experimental music artist and self-taught composer, producer and meta- band leader.

And here’s me thinking he might be a rally driver.

(Meta is nothing to do with Mr Zuckerberg by the way; apparently ‘meta’ is the idea of music of a higher order which would contain any existing music of any tradition as a special case. But I stand to be corrected on that).

It’s certainly the case that his reputation precedes him and that must be the case if he is working with Stina, whom I rate as one of the leading singer-songwriters and composers in Finland, which has a few, having placed her at #1 in the NMC 2022 Singles of the Year list for the exhilarating pop banger ‘Pelasta Mut’

The album ‘Ghostina’ wasn’t half bad either but then she was quiet throughout 2023, no doubt working on this little delight.

I did a hatchet job on Finland’s ghastly Eurovision 2024 entry a couple of weeks ago. Why they didn’t just slot ‘Pelasta Mut’ into it defeats me; the winner’s trophy would be halfway from Malmö to Helsinki already.

But back to the present day. Each EP has, as its title suggests, a specific theme and through them she explores assorted genres while working with different producers.

She says the three EPs “celebrate my diversity as an artist reflecting a genuine commitment to authenticity and creative integrity.”

Regular readers will know my attitude to declarative statements like that; I never take them at face value and always seek confirmation.

She continues, “‘Mind’ delves into my thoughts and experiences regarding illness and mortality, exploring how these have shaped my perspective on life. The fear of death and uncertainty about the future are themes that resonate throughout this EP, influencing my music in profound ways.”

We’ve examined several pieces along similar lines recently and featured Norway’s own Queen of ‘Death Pop’, Tulle, a couple of days ago, although some of her work might be a little tongue in cheek and, as far as I know, not prompted by genuine morbidity.

That’s never going to be the case with Stina. She lives with the reality of illness every day.

Incidentally, this is, I think, her first work in English since the days of the duo Color Dolor.

The first track, ‘Biding my time’, starts with what turns out to be a persistent, growing, haunting invariable synthesiser chord which creates the impression of what some older folk refer to as ‘God’s waiting room.’

But this one is so sombre it might be the room where the past their sell-by date humans wait to be extinguished and turned into food in the movie ‘Soylent Green’. Or it could accompany the ending to ‘Cocoon’. It’s powerful.

The imagery of her running through 100 bridges and burning them all behind her is a delight. I’m assuming here that she is alluding to her own treatment, for which she did burn her own bridges (i.e. no turning back) to face down a major operation which could have had several outcomes, many of them bad and that this is about waiting for that crucial day to arrive.

“Will you still love me, even when I’m not the same?” she asks, “when I am changed…when I don’t love you?” (Hinting perhaps of irreparable damage to whatever enables us to love).

Complementing a touching song is the multiplication of her voice to that of a heavenly choir.

The tachycardic ‘Scatter’, which progresses at about 200 bpm throughout put me in mind initially of the urgency of an ‘against the clock’ surgical operation but on second examination is perhaps more representative of how living with chronic illness and its possible outcomes impacts on rational thinking, so that thoughts are random and misdirected, leading to spells of uncontrolled high anxiety which then collapse into a state of stupor just as a storm regresses into rainfall, the allegory she applies in the song.

It certainly paints that picture well while musically, if the first track had trip hop roots this one is Jean-Michel Jarre on Prozac.

‘Mess I’m In’ seems to me to represent the isolation of illness. How you become invisible (in Stina’s terminology a “Martian”) if you are only in evidence for short periods of time, to the point even that no-one knows anyone is living at that address, let alone that there is someone inside it who is falling apart.

I’m reminded, for the second time in a matter of days, of Alexei Sayle’s graphic portrayal of the old as invisible in his excellent book of short stories, ‘Barcelona Plates’. Of how they become nonexistent because no-one wants to fuck them any longer.

Substitute age for infirmity here.

And the loss of love is even more palpable:

“Is your heart broken too? /We could start a club for all the lonely hearts/Living in this city”.

Musically, ‘Mess I’m In’ is slower, considered, more stable, and balladic. Almost an acceptance of fate. It has a wonderful mix of mournful strings, vocal effects and a weird electronic rhythm which could be the heartbeat of an alien.

‘Oblivion’ is the most portentous track as its title suggests and it moves along rapidly like an out of control train. I was expecting a synthesised requiem but it turns out to be more of a lament and it reintroduces the second party to all this, the lost love.

Some songs immediately conjure up images in the mind and this one definitely does in the final segment (I won’t say ‘verse’ because there is no verse-chorus structure).

To a background of angelic effects it reminds me vividly of the final moments of Amber, attended by her partner Wilson in the fourth season finale of ‘House’ when Amber dies of an irreversibly lethal combination of otherwise harmless drugs and a road accident in one of the most riveting pieces of TV drama I’ve ever seen.

Watch it, then read these purposefully convoluted final lines to the song while playing this music to it and you’ll see what I mean.

“And you will never be enough

Oh for me and all my love, oh

And I will never have enough

For you I’ll have enough

Of you…I’ll never have enough

I’ll never have enough

I’ll never have enough”.

As always I’m guessing what these songs are about but what is more important is how it impacts on you as the listener. Stina Koistinen is a master of the art of imagination seeding and ‘Mind’ is at the zenith of her work to date in that respect.

Vocally, she is in fine fettle as always, employing tones and timbres in her voice that I haven’t heard before, and for the most part softer, with less of the gymnastics we have become used to.

So, does this EP constitute “a genuine commitment to authenticity and creative integrity?” Are you kidding me? Authenticity should be her middle name.


The next two EPs will be ‘Body’, which “celebrates the physicality of existence, emphasising the importance of embracing and enjoying your body despite societal pressures and personal struggles…a celebration of all bodily experiences from panic attacks to falling in love.” It was composed and produced with Tapio Viitasaari (who definitely isn’t a rally driver).

Finally, ‘Spirit’ examines her worldview and beliefs about the state of the world, containing both reflections on current events, such as political elections, as well as expressions of hope and values. It invokes “flower power, 70’s folk music and non religious gospel meeting to make a soulful entity.” It was recorded in Stockholm with a variety of musicians.

‘Mind’ cover art by Irja Nuru.

Find her on:




Timo Kaulokampi:


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