Nordling Writes ov Obskvrities: A March to a Programmed Beat
Bleep bloop, mothafucka! Today let’s talk about something a little different: electronic music. Relax; not the kind of crap you can hear at the super-popular-WKND-fest. Today I shall talk about the progressive rock of electronic music (and frankly, progressive rock). There’s not much here to dance to, but you might still find something you enjoy.
Act I: The Finding
There were two major portals that led me to electronic music. The first wasgoing through my father’s record collection as a kid. I fell in love with prog, with which he had filled his shelves. Being a Finn and loving prog meant loving one band above all: Wigwam. Perhaps the most well-known Finnish prog band and one that would have become big – I mean really big – if they hadn’t shot themselves in the foot and head at the same time and effectively terminated their career abroad. Their second album, Tombstone Valentine marked many beginnings for me, not the least of which were directly caused by one minute and seven seconds called “Dance of the Anthropoids”. It was both wildly different and oddly similar to the band’s own output. The minimal electronic parts that just repeated over and over were quite far removed from Wigwam’s prog, even if it is relatively easy-access. Yet, when the complete song graced my ears, the lack of respect for traditional song-structure and the parts-after-parts-after-parts-approach reminded of an older prog band, Erkki Kurenniemi.
Despite my initial interest, Erkki Kurenniemi alone wouldn’t quite have me delving completely into obscure music.
The second push came a long time later, after I had begun to research Läjä Äijälä, frontman of Terveet Kädet. The Finnish Hardcore legend’s first electronic record, the debut of Aavikon Kone Ja Moottori was released in ’79, nine years after Tombstone Valentine. Despite having only released two one-sided singles, the bands proto-industrial effect proved massive. It’s even more minimal with no change or growth, and in this respect, it’s more reminiscent of noise-music than any rock or metal artist. I dare claim this slow and atmospheric style that commands as much attention as most technical of death metal with far, far less happening is the same that many years later became the very foundation of post-metal.
Act II: Skwee
Stripped down music working on a funky sound-carpet at best, random bleepilies and bloopilies on top of mindless humming at worst; such is the nature of Skwee. Synth and chiptune leads carve pathways to R&B-inspired rhythms and never let go of the golden 70’s sound of an analog synthesizer. It was a natural expansion to my library of various noises since I have always appreciated music that shies away from complexity without losing its impact, which must appear ironic, given my love of prog. Skwee draws from the very same well that doom- and post-metal units have been marauding since the beginning of time, but in a far more danceable manner (though Skwee certainly is not marketable or appealing to the masses). This relatively new style, originating in Sweden and Finland, is often credited to have been launched by Pavan‘s first 7″-singles in 2004. Accordingly the two labels you will want to check out are the Swedish Flogsta Danshall and the Finnish Harmönia.
Here, have some good Skwee; try to last until the minute mark.
Most of the new music that I have dug this year has not been metal, and this naturally means I have listened to a lot of electronic music as well. Some other artists I loved include Tähtiportti and Dan Terminus, neither of which really sounds anything like either of the above.
Tune in for the latter part, in which we shall talk more about Erkki Kurenniemi. I have a feeling many of you nerds may find the contents interesting even if you don’t care about the music.
Do you like electronic music? Do you even care? Why can’t I ever fit anything into one post?