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TRACK LIST: 1. Salattu Maailma 6:59 2. Simpukka 4:07 3. Loitsu 4:13 4. Peili 3:28 5. Tuuli 7:04 6. Uni 7:35 7. Takaisin Virtaan 5:21 LINEUP: Aapo Helenius guitars; drums, congas; harmonium Ismo Virta guitars; organ, Mellotron; glockenspiel Kari Vainionpaa guitars, bass; flute Paivi Kylmanen vocals Kimmo Lahteenmaki drums; organ, Mellotron Olli Valtonen shrutibox, buddhabox, tampuras With: Jukka Aaltonen violin Timo Leino flute
Prolusion. The Finnish band KOSMOS have been a recording entity since 2005, when they released their debut album "Tarinoita Voimasta". Since then three more full length productions have followed in 2007, 2009 and 2013 respectively. "Salattu Maailma" is the most recent of these, and was self released by the band themselves just like all their previous full length productions.
Analysis. From what I understand when reading up a bit on this Finnish band, they take great care to craft lyrics with substance for all their compositions, with a certain focus on themes of a mystical, cosmic or otherworldly nature or mood. As Kosmos so far has chosen to use their native Finnish language, that is a dimension that might be lost for listeners residing outside of Finland. Unless they buy the CD of course, as translated lyrics have been included there. These translated lyrics are also available on the band website, if you search a bit, but those who download this production will miss out on that aspect unless they make an effort. As the lyrics appear to be a fairly important part of the proceedings for the band I thought I'd mention that tiny fact initially. As far as the music goes, the main foundation for the exploits of Kosmos is a simplistic, lo-fi oriented one. Dreamy, distanced female lead vocals, occasionally surging to the front with more power and intensity, backed by careful plucked acoustic guitars and usually with a steady but unobtrusive rhythm section. Just about everything hovers around this core foundation. Music of a tranquil and timeless nature, that might as well have been recorded in 1968 as in 2014. Most of the compositions does feature a few more embellishments: mournful Mellotron washes and frail, flute details are utilized on opening track Salattu Maailma, with a nice and more powerful recurring additional theme and a purebred psychedelic voice and Mellotron insert appearing along the way too. The following Simpukka is a more careful affair, but otherwise of a similar character, with sampled seaside sounds book-ending the composition, while Loitsu is a spirited take more firmly oriented on the core foundation earlier described, supplemented with a violin solo. What may be the B side of a vinyl edition of this production expands the scope of Kosmos' music somewhat however. On Tuuli the Mellotron and organ carefully grow into a song that opens as a lo-fi acoustic construction and ends up as a frail, dreamladen symphonic oriented creation, while Uni is a dark, psychedelic and cosmic dripping affair that might best be described as a dreamladen psychedelic construction with ambient touches placed within a nightmare influenced context. A fitting description might be smooth cosmic terror covered in silk, a creation that manages to be unnerving and ominous without utilizing any dramatic effects whatsoever. The album concludes with Takaisin Virtaan, a composition that opens as an acoustic number fairly close to what I previously described as the core sound of this band, and then gradually expands into a delicate, tantalizing psychedelic construction with a distinct folky vibe.
Conclusion. With "Salattu Maailma", the Finnish band Kosmos documents that there are still bands around that have a desire to create music with a basis in careful folk inspired music, expanding the scope of this core stylistic foundation to incorporate both psychedelic and to some extent symphonic oriented progressive rock as well, and that they are able to do so in a careful, frail and fairly unobtrusive manner. If low key, gentle psychedelic rock that builds upon a folk music inspired foundations sounds like something you would enjoy, this is a band that merits a check.
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