Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ous Mal - Viime Talvi (under the spire, 2009)

Even if it wasn't for the song titles you'd still be able to tell this record was Finnish. Like all that country's finest musical exports, be they Hannu or Paavoharju, Ous Mal's recordings carry a certain grainy lo-fi charm, sounding like some gnarled old 78 you might find in an enchanted attic.
Vinyl crackle, weird old field recordings and weathered instrumental sequences all come together to make beautiful collages on tracks like 'Meidän Piha', which comes laced with faded string samples, glockenspiel melodies, wispy voices and the tolling of bells from a distant church. The glistening ambience of 'Tähdet' persists with the magic-realist sense of wonderment, sounding a bit like a haunted version of The Avalanches as it makes way for the equally ethereal strains of 'Tumma'. By the time you arrive at closing track 'Ukkonen' (whose curious sonic profile seems to shift from a spectral sea chantey into a demonic ice cream van) you'll be totally hooked on this record's creaky, tuneful and endearingly decrepit constitution.
Highly enjoyable Scandinavian lo-fi melodicism from the ascendant Under The Spire imprint, limited to a mere 100 copies.

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