MÄLÄSKÄ: First Day of Spring (2020)
“This is an album that one tames track by track with a core whose wealth has a strong penchant for a modern psychedelic vision”
1 First Day of Spring 7:59
2 Dialogue Between Birches and Oaks 7:27
3 Song for the World 7:00
4 Die Morgenlandfahrt 11:17
5 Green Glasses Don't Make the World Green 6:17
6 Crisis? What Crisis? 8:50
7 Dawn for the Pollution Eating Elves 8:41
8 In Loving Memory 14:10
(Percussion – Bas Broekhuis)
(CD/DDL 71:42) (V.F.)
Distortion effects, falling sounds, illuminated streaks and electronic tweet-tweet are the birthplace of First Day of Spring, which is surrounded by jerky waves. It's spring in the studios of Mäläskä! Reverberating effects are added to this musical dew which never stops receiving emaciated strata coming from the asymmetrical corridors of FIRST DAY IN SPRING's multiple panoramas. Layers of mellotron from the early 70's lay down a floating floor where the blades tremble before so much sonic radiation. There are indeed percussions which flow in these ambiences. But this absent and muted rhythm has as much impact as the spits flirting on the cymbals. No! What is king here, are these strata which crumble as they fall, the tears of mellotron and these strange avian dialogues which fill a panorama of atmospheres in its philosophy of psychedelia of modern times. So is done First Day of Spring, so is FIRST DAY IN SPRING. As much impactful was Uncle Jim's Cidney Factory, released in 2016, as much disturbing is this 2nd album from Petter Janse and Remy Stroomer. Don't look for a rhythm here, there isn't one. In return, there are ambiences. Lot of these atmospheric phases, where the Mäläskä duo flood our ears with a feast of sound that requires a lot of attention and a certain open-mindedness from a listener who can display his frustration by going directly to In Loving Memory, because of the presence of Bas Broekhuis, after having given up with Dialogue Between Birches and Oaks. But beware, careful listening reveals a lot.
This column will not be biased simply because I have a good relationship with Remy Stroomer, in addition to admiring his various artistic projects. Facts! I relate to facts and my impressions. Dialogue Between Birches and Oaks layers its armada of reverberating effects from Petter Janse's guitar, while a wave rises on the horizon. This wave melts in floating shroud with slow movements armed with a seraphic voice while a permutation between guitar and synth was carried out without feeling it too much. And when you think about it, these two instruments are the birch and the oak in a surreal dialogue. We can hear, towards the end, a dash trotting in these woods. Only and only if we let our imagination follow the course of the music. I admit that after this title, I start to worry ... Wooshh and waashh carry chimes in their winds. This introductory decoration of Song for the World lets in a piano and its notes weighing the weight of humanity on the fingertips of its pianist. Serious and lonely, I even see Remy pensive and calm behind his keyboard. And this feeling of promiscuity between my headphones and the notes of this music, as long as I can see and feel the facial expressions of the two musicians in several places of this album. Here, the piano stalls its journey through the psychedelic effects, the fuzz-wah-wah and the words of a six-string which manages to join (the two musicians are improvising at the moment) the emotions of the six-string. An intense title that gives me the essence I need to continue my discovery of FIRST DAY IN SPRING. Die Morgenlandfahrt is the opposite of the duel piano and guitar effects in Song for the World. Like the piano, the notes of the acoustic guitar resonate with an impact that reaches our hearing at the same time as the vacuum sucks them. The music is intimate and minimalist with this dual. Remy abandons his sobriety to bring atmospheres into tortuous corridors where the metallic-electronic airs have less bite than the impulses of the specters of his arsenal of sound effects. I hear the musicians' breaths and the dust on the strings tremble and fall under the bites of Petter Janse's fingers as I sit somewhere in the studio.
Green Glasses Don't Make the World Green is reminiscent of Eno/Fripp, the Philip Glass arpeggio dance is really nice here, while the wild Crisis? What Crisis? seems out of place in this decor of serenity. Not that the music is bubbling with rhythm, but rather that the ambiences are drawn from a discord between metallic tones and loud white noises in a musical drama entitled music for tortured souls. We are in the lair of the anti-music of this album with this title which goes darkly towards the buzzing of Dawn for the Pollution Eating Elves which carries the vision of its title with wonder. So much that these purrs of machinery are at the heart of this industrial ballet where the amplified vibrations of these buzzes, without including velocity, spoil a little the interest of this tugging in order to reach the optimal point of my open-mindedness. When ambiences and ambient music becomes a weapon against meditation and/or sleep, is this called Industrial New Age? The fact remains that my ears bled here. If the whales were made of metal, they would have this chant that opens In Loving Memory. These melancholy layers float with this state of weightlessness which makes an oscillation so delightfully imperfect. Noises, like aquatic roars, form a setting with such a perfect illusion. It's a moment of dark ambient music where the addition of various sound elements distance from the dark Immersion of Steve Roach. The percussions of Bas Broekhuis are membranophones which tinkle and resound in order to accompany this buzzing silence which surrounds a piano. This piano invites itself with the jeremiads of the floating guitar strata conceived and imagined in the factories of ectoplasmic atmospheres, leading the sweet nebulous ballad of In Loving Memory up until the end. These borders of an album which is tasted with a little taste for another extraordinary adventure in the worlds of contemporary EM.
Offered in a manufactured CD and as an H-Q download, FIRST DAY IN SPRING is an album that one tames track by track. Its core is its finest wealth to those who love music. But in the end, it remains an album of ambiences with a strong penchant for a modern psychedelic vision which nevertheless conceals small treasures thus making polishing required for loving other titles a little easier…
Sylvain Lupari (May 18th, 2020) *****
Available at Deserted Island Music