KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Islaja “Palaa Aurinkoon” [Fonal]

Thurston Hunger   4/8/2005   A Library, CD, Format

This must be the sound that hibernating animals hear telling
them to claw through the ice and snow back to sunlight. It
starts with faint toy piano tinkering under a prayer of sorts.
Islaja is a Finnish femme intoning that prayersong. Her voice
is a warm whispered remembrance of the sun shining through
icy keyboards, bare-tree guitar scrumbling and other bits of
cold, crystalline sound from various Kemialliset brothers and
sisters helping out. On “Rukki” her voice becomes both a fly
buzz and then a phone-call-from-beyond singing ahh-eee-o-ah,
ah-eee-o-ah. Regrettably on other tracks the lyrics are as
wordless to me, as I speak not a lick of Finnish. Using a
translater, I just found the title may mean “burn sun” (but
this is not to say “paivetys” or sunburn) still I stick with
the notion that this has that chill of other free folk from
Finland (and the fine Fonal label). Most songs melt slowly
the title track has little Terry Riley keyboard spirals and
a clap and stomp rhythm. We’ve got to track down her first
release. Tune in, turn on, snowdrop out.

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