ous mal Nuojuva Halava (CD, £13.75)label: Preservation
Nuojuva Halava is the debut album from Helsinki, Finland's Ous Mal, the recording project for 22-year-old Olli Aarni. With previous CD-R releases, Ous Mal has already gained notice for his expansive sound, which further developed in widescreen ways here. Finding common ground between the dusty tenor of old-school hip hop cassettes and the fog of deep ambience as a base, the music of Ous Mal also takes on an ingrained influence of traditional Finnish folk for an epic, otherworldly take on sound and song. These atmospheric pieces can slowly swell into ecstasy or settle into hazy shades and spring into moments of joyful pop abandon. That line back to tradition - with some pieces using the age-old Finnish stringed-instrument, the kantele, and others drawing from old Finnish hymnal albums - makes for a lyrical imagery that evokes an elusive sense of place. It's a sound with the lingering presence of the past but with one eye set firmly on taking it into the future. Roughly translated, nuojuva halava means swaying bay willow. The way things in nature change through time and surroundings is a recurring inspiration for Olli's music, heard especially in the way he often takes his textures towards compelling points of decay. Nuojuva Halava creates a picture of great scope in its colliding of ideas into kindred spirits, arriving at a zone that's as bold and blissful as it is personal.
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