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Boomkat Product Review:
Here's something very special indeed from the Preservation label: Nuojuva Halava is the debut album proper from Finnish artist Ous Mal, aka 22-year-old Helsinki resident, Olli Aarni, who recently appeared on Under The Spire with his Viime Talvi release. As with that outing, this album features a scratchy old sound palette, seemingly made up of several layers of dust, cobwebs and crackling atmospherics. The fustiness makes for a beautiful production technique, but the music itself is often incredibly light and ebullient. For all the lo-fi trappings encasing the record, you're seldom starved of something beautiful at the heart of the mix. For instance, on opener 'Marraskuu' there's a lovely swell of orchestral melody cutting through the sliced-up, heavily looped debris, and as Nuojuva Halava unfolds you'll hear Aarni putting to good use a combination of samples and instrumentation (including the indigenous Finnish string instrument, the kantele), conjuring a sonic playground that's loaded with fantastical imagery and faux-nostalgia. By the time 'Vaskiset Kielet' arrives you might be a tad surprised to hear a warm, low-end beat plodding alongside the track's patchwork of decaying melodies, but eroded away rhythms are buried throughout the album's sequence and as the label is keen to point out, this is a collection of of works that finds "common ground between the dusty tenor of old-school hip hop cassettes and the fog of deep ambience". A very fine album indeed.