From Forests Where We Feel Secure

by coldwarnightlife

12 APRIL 2019

“Are you still in Europe?” asks the evening’s host, drily. “I don’t know.”

None of us do, any more. All the better, then, to have visitors from the furthest edge of the EU.

A taster for this year’s Ilmiö Festival, three acts have braved the threat of Brexit to present the current sounds of experimental Finland.

The highlight, after an improvised electro-acoustic soundscape from Ahti & Ahti, is the appearance of Lau Nau and Pekko Käppi.

Laura Naukkarinen has released six studio albums as Lau Nau, and she has earned an international reputation for her work in film and with Matti Bye. A frequent visitor to the EMS studios in Stockholm, Naukkarinen has assembled a suitcase modular system of her own, which glows like the one carried by Thingumy and Bob in Tove Jansson’s Moomin comics.

What is inside is as valuable as the Groke’s ruby: a tangle of wires patching circuits to generate currents that carry Lau Nau’s vocals through the crowd like mist from the sea.

Pekko Käppi, a long-standing contributor to Lau Nau recordings, joins with a jouhikko and material of his own. The ancient instrument reveals hauntingly beautiful tones as it is bowed, as the wind blows through the pines.

The duo begin with Lau Nau’s “Sorbuspuun Alla,” which fills Cafe Oto with the serene sound of Naukkarinen’s voice. It is ethereal and organic, rising as if from the forest floor.

The set continues with performances of Käppi’s own material, as well as a new Lau Nau composition. There are moments of fluidity, tension and release that reflect the waves of the Baltic and the falling of birch leaves. This is music firmly impressed with the Nordic experience, and it passes like a midsummer night. Or a dream.

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