Get Classy with these Metal-Free Albums


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KO:MI – Songs Of Them

Sanna Komi has been honing her skills in Pintandwefall and Cats of Transnistria, among other Finnish bands. Those skills have grown to a level where it’s time to let them shine with a solo record. Songs of Them has been composed to fit as soundtrack to imaginary films, it’s direction DIY chamber-pop, in lack of a better term. Heartfelt piano, disruptively emotional string arrangements and dramatically embellished vocals create theatrical performances where electronic elements fill any tears and gaps.

While the concept is indeed very intriguing, Songs of Them is a heavy, even cumbersome, journey. Restless, manic performances and overbearing sense of theatrical make it a very difficult and wearisome album to be enjoyed whole. But it’s unusual hooks do dig their way into the brain, and when taken in smaller amounts, it’s an inspirational record.

Jussi Lehtonen – Move On

Jussi Lehtonen is one jazz-ass drummer, and by that I don’t mean to compliment his behind (though I’m fairly certain it’s finer than certain Dubious Editor’s, even behind it’s annihilation at the hands of one bruised-bottom Guacamole), by that, I mean, on top of his solo work, he’s played with Koko Jazz Orchestra, Dave Liebman and Eero Koivistoinen Quartet – who stole our glorious, gracious, cult-like leader Papa Joe’s heart way back when.

Look, I don’t know a thing about jazz. Even though I can no longer sustain my existence without regular doses of it, I couldn’t explain my way out of a paper bag, if it had to be about jazz. All I know is, I like this thing here – Lehtonen is a diverse composer and an excellent stimulator of mental images. While his evocative, melodious, jungle-of-rhythmic-changes of a performance on the kit stands a driving force, he leaves more than plenty of room for the soloists – guitarist Teemu Viinikainen, pianist Aki Rissanen and saxophonist Joonatan Rautio.

In metal, we tend to completely overlook, or hype beyond all reason, so called supergroups. Bands that often tend to sound like projects from a bunch of people that just came into the same room to jam and play a few covers. Most of them don’t end up well, but here we have five men, each with a distinctive style of their own, sounding good together, fitting their strengths and flaws into each others style. And you need to get on it.

Eero Koivistoinen Quartet – Illusion

Did I just mention I don’t know a thing about jazz? Well let me reiterate. On Illusion, recorded as one of the very last sessions on YLE M1 -studio, the Quartet is going strong, playing laid-back tunes, led by a saxophonist who’s been there and done that. At 71 years, Eero Koivistoinen has hardly got anything left to prove, and he can just focus on making whatever happens to float his boat. Throughout the record tempos stay on the moderate side and solos supple and willowy – which by no means that Illusion would regress into background music. Koivistoinen’s work is enchanting and engaging, pianist Alex Tuomarila’s fluent playing compliments him especially well on “Blue In Green” and while the rhythm group – Lehtonen & Huhtala – are somewhat more restrained than on Move On, develop tasty terrain (mud is good for you, didn’t you know) for the maestro to work on.

Illusion is an excellent, mostly laid-back, companion record to Hati Hati – and no doubt one of the better evening jazz records you have a chance to add to your collection this year.

All of these lovely albums are available now via Svart Records.

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