Boomkat Product Review:
Sähkö flex their mean jazz muscle with the modal depths of The Mystic Revelation of Teppo Repo, channelling strong Don Cherry or Ndikho Xaba and The Natives vibes from the forests of Finland
Arriving in stealthy pursuit of their four LPs for band member Arwi Lind’s Helmi Levyt label, ‘Kosmoksen erakko’ is TMROTR’s first international release and a surefire portal to their non-placed sound. The handful of tracks naturally combine disparate elements ranging from Finnish shepherd music to spiritual jazz and lilting nyabinghi rhythms in lokey quizzical juxtapositions that speak to the idea of forests as a common site of inspiration worldwide. Aye, these guys can definitely see the wood for the trees, projecting a sublime consolidation of far-flung musics with a neatly understated, rhizomatic vision that’s snagged us, at least.
As with Sähkö’s cherished jazz cuts on main and its Puu sublabel, ‘Kosmoksen erakko’ errs to the cool grooving, spiritual side of the matter, rather than abrasive or avant. The vibe is beatdown and concentrated, with deft, lissom rhythm section of Arwi Lind (percussion) and Eero Tikkanen (bass) laying down viscously shifting, swingeing groundwork for Otto Eskelinen’s playful flutes and vox. They nail a killer mix of atavistic and futuristic spirits on the hypnotic, snake-charming opener ‘Jolkottelevat sudet’, and proceed thru its spirited variants of beret and sunnies jazz cat cool on ‘Reida’, to sound like Don Cherry at chrimbo with the sleigh bells of ‘Yö päivällä’, before puckering up the deadly fusion of machine drums and soundtrack-like vibes recalling Barry Adamson in South Africa on ‘Kalahari’, and stretching out with a seductively dusky appeal over the 9mins+ of ‘Vuosaaren kirkonkellot’.