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  • David Bentley

KO:MI: 'We Said We Didn't Know but We Knew' (single from forthcoming album with same title)

I admit I’m attracted to titles like this, as I was to Lydmor’s ‘I told you I’d tell them our story’. There is something both mysterious and beguiling in them.

KO:MI’s (Sanna Komi) second album release arrives via the Soliti label on the 13th November 2020 and the title track has just been released (11th September) as a single, accompanied by a Hetta Inari Komi-directed video. A relative, I assume.

The song “recounts the predictable outcome of a love affair that begins passionately, but ends up burning too quick and too hot, consuming both participants.” Fair enough. At that point I was expecting a traditional love song with Champagne Supernova overtones.

But then, “All rationality has flown out of the window long ago, but we (or, more precisely, the decision-making elites) cannot claim ignorance when the destructive consequences of capitalism’s love for the abundances of Earth have been evident for ages.” Ah, so it’s a protest song.

My last review was for another Finnish band, The Holy, in which I was slightly miffed at finding myself confused by the song’s real meaning. Accordingly I was now on my guard and decided to read up on the album.

It appears it “is a thematic album about continuing to live and love during multiple environmental emergencies and the social injustices built in them. Its stories often concern love and relationships but the societal backdrop, implicit at times, becomes overt and explicit by the end of the album. Amongst anger and frustration with the seeming inability of humanity to deal with climate change and growing global inequalities – an inability that especially us in the global North are irreversibly entangled in whether we have chosen so or not – there is also hope and compassion for humanity as a whole.”

The PR refers to her own quote in which she describes her compositions as associations that her brain makes after extensive listening of Philip Glass and FKA Twigs. That is spot on. Glass’s minimal, slowly repeating simple notes and chords are there along with, somewhat incongruously, Twigs’ dramatic, theatrical representations. She might have mentioned Kate Bush as well, as she does sound more than a little like Bexleyheath’s finest in the latter half of the song.  Oh, and Regina Spektor. Listen to how she sings “There was no choice” at 0:38.

Of course Twigs is an accomplished dancer as well as a musical artist and this song really needs a dance video. The one produced by Hetta Inari Komi here fits the song perfectly. She says, "This music video portrays a dancer combating herself. The video is inspired by third person videogames and a ‘choose-your-quarantine-character’ meme video by Danielle Baskin.” Actually that slightly disappoints me; I interpreted the video as representing humanity, represented by a woman in black, coming to terms with nature. Does that sound too pretentious?

A little more about Komi. She is a multi-instrumentalist known from a variety of Finnish indie bands (e.g. Pintandwefall, Kynnet, and Cats of Transnistria). While half a dozen musicians contributed to the album she is the one tastefully playing the violin here. She is a global development researcher interested in human/nonhuman nature relations and is undertaking a PhD in an unrevealed subject but which relates to “things that are wrong in the world.”

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