I have 2 albums for today and tomorrow that probably won’t get a whole lot of attention in the music press, but are definitely worthy of some Nordic Music Review love.
The 1st is courtesy of Finnish musician Jukka Ihminen, who we’ve known through these pages for years and years, courtesy of the excellent band Giant Giant, a trio that we liked and covered so extensively that we propelled them to almost obscurity.
Anyway in this guise he prefers no-one to know he’s called Jukka, so we won’t tell, and the project is simply under the name J. Ihminen, with the album being called ‘Pimeydestä valoon’. Now I have written about a few Finnish language albums this year, which I appreciate can have less impact for English speakers, but in this case slightly less so because even the songwriter himself admits he’s “not very sure what the words are about.”
Instead they are more a ‘flow of consciousness’, where he deliberately keeps the meaning unclear, even to himself, and maybe for English speakers that helps, just enjoy the music and the flow of lyrics, and don’t worry about the precise meaning. Title track ‘Pimeydestä valoon’ (darkness to light) certainly has a fluidity about it musically too, the rhythmic feel of the acoustic guitars is interesting and it has a catchy melody with brass support in the chorus - I’d have made it my single of the week if I hadn’t been writing about the album too.
I guess the ‘solo’ nature of the project becomes evident in tracks such as ’Hetken’, because they do feel like a more personal reflective version of Giant Giant, but always enjoyable I think because of the warm engaging instrumental support. But he opens up more in ‘Sanat’, with cranked up electric guitars in the chorus, before a series of particularly stripped back tracks in the lovely ‘Katve’, as well as ‘Luonnonvoima’, which translates to ‘power of nature’ and is simply about the power of nature, and how small we are in comparison to the world.
i like the intensity of ‘Aina jossain‘, again the rhythmic guitar is very much in the style of his band, but with the lyrics apparently still not really meaning that much. And the next 2 tracks are amongst my favourites, the competing guitars in ‘Parasta Ennen’ create a lovely fusion of sound, whilst ‘Muisto menneestä’ is another melodic catchy song which a few twists and turns along the way.
So generally a successful release, only about 30 minutes but with some enjoyable tunes and instrumentals, and the fluid carefree nature of the tracks and lyrics just allow the music to be appreciated for what it is. For sure it doesn’t quite have that energy or ’fizz‘ that Giant Giant had in their album, but delighted to have come across this, and hope that we hear more from this songwriter in one of his various projects.