• Music

    Johanna Juhola – A Brighter Future

    What a joyous release this is!  Accordion-based music out of Finland is just what the doctor ordered for our chilly Beijing day.  Johanna Juhola is one of many incredible artists on the Nordic Notes imprint who have blown my mind this year.  Imagine a collection ranging from traditional music melded with progressive, jazz, and perhaps a pinch of tango thrown into the mix.  One of 2023’s most charming releases.

  • Music

    post doom romance – fragments

    Post Doom Romance is a project between Mykel Boyd and Seah, and their collaboration produces a collection of sweeping drones dedicated to their supporters, immortalizing them on disc.  A noble project, but more importantly, the sound is engaging and hooks the listener into a pleasant ambient lull.

  • Music

    Santeri Dobrynin, Egor Masaltsev, Olga Plekhanova – Karjalan Jouhikko: Karelian Instrumental Music

    This release from our friends at Antonovka Records features three players of the jouhikko, a local stringed instrument: Santeri (Alexander) Dobrynin and Olga Plekhanova from Karelia and Russian Egor Masaltsev, who moved to the region.  There are 22 tracks of charming interplay between the three and individually.  All the tunes are traditional Karelian, except: 7 – traditional Swedish, 10 and 11 — by Olga herself, 18 — two tunes of traditional Russian songs from Karelia, 19 — by Karelian musician Leo Sevets, 20 — a tune from the play “Sampo: The Magic Mill” based on the Kalevala (author Maxim Gutkin), 22…

  • Music

    Bobby Oroza – Get On The Otherside

    The Finns are noted for not only being great musicians, but are masters at cultural adaptation.  They make tango even more melancholy than their Argentine friends do, and now, I guess I have to admit that they’re more than holding their own in soul and R&B if this latest album by guitarist Bobby Oroza is anything to go by.  The sounds are pure, sweet, deep soul with production that would make Smokey Robinson and many a Motown band smile.  Damn near perfect, this one.

  • Music

    Antti Lötjönen – Circus​/​Citadel

    Antti Lötjönen is a new name for me.  A bassist from Finland, his band absolutely swings and bops.  Perhaps it’s best to let him describe his latest album, Circus/Citadel, here on his Bandcamp site: “Antti Lötjönen says: “These compositions vary in terms of form and density, with each player having enough room to re-invent and expand on the music within the pieces. I wrote this music over a relatively brief time span. This, I think, is something you can also hear on the album, as the temporal closeness of the ideas brings with it a certain kind of unity. The…

  • Music - Qobuz

    Pekka Pohloja – Jokamies (Everyman)

     Jokamies (‘Everyman’ in Finnish) is a collection of tracks for a television series of the same name composed by the Finnish bassist Pekka Pohjola.  After his work with the hard-rock/progressive outfit Wigwam, he ventured into jazz fusion (perhaps New Age as well) and made some of the most impressive albums in the genre during the 1970s and 1980s, culminating, in my estimation, in this album.