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kemialliset ystavat - Ullakkopalo
Another elliptical masterpiece from the Finnish psychedelic collagists, Ullakkopalo is clearly an album that's been laboured over. Supposedly this latest release took three years to complete, and although the same chaotic spirit of the outfit's earlier recordings remains in place, there's no doubting the heightened levels of care and expertise that have been poured into every measure of Kemialliset Ystavat's latest. Starting very much as it means to go on, the album introduces itself with 'Kajastusmuseo', a muddy traipse through run-down electronics, homely lo-fi percussion, children's toys and perky electric guitars. The resultant din is actually fairly indescribable and the music seems to be in a continuous state of falling apart, yet it never (quite) does. Before long, 'Kivikasan Rauhassa' stumbles into earshot, introducing wispy, forest sprite vocals and before you know it, some kind of deranged electronic pop song springs to life, sounding as if it had been cobbled together in some abandoned shack in the middle of nowhere - not so much in a Bon Iver, press-release-friendly sort of way, but rather that it'd be hard to imagine a record that sounds so singular and unlike other music having been conceived anywhere but in total seclusion. Fragments of rainy location recordings and grainy found sounds clutter up 'Kohde Haihtuu Ilmaan', but after a minute or so of mysterious shambling about the album moves on again, messing about with homespun electronics, recorders, bongos and peculiar animalistic chirps and splutters, only occasionally settling down into a reasonably recognisable format as in the case of the loopy, quasi-medieval acid-folk of 'Ystävälliset Miekat'. Listening through Ullakkopalo is a bit like sending your ears on holiday. Most refreshing and, of course, highly recommended.