This might be my favorite album of 08’.
Paavoharju’s Laulu Laakson Kukista sounds like a Sigur Rós album shipwrecked on a secret island, grasped by wild vines, and venturing into the mist . Every track on this album is coming from the same environment, the same spell, which is why Laulu has wound me up. This years "top" picks will be labored over scrawl spaces in the coming days and weeks, but I am sure that every time I listen to this album, it will remain both familiar and enchanting.
Paavoharju are from Finland, the Netherlands, and other places where godly carpenters of sound are birthed. The opener, "Pimeänkarkelo” is nothing surprising to an ambient music fiend prepared for the long haul, but the next track “Kevätrumpu,” rolls through like an electronica-dance-kicker. The whole body of work is wound tightly enough that severing a single reaching limb would be a fatal loss. This is Laulu Laakson Kukista’s strength, it’s weakness, it’s story; and there are plenty limbs to choose from if you’re counting. “Kirkonväki” is a haunting martial procession; "Uskallan" a well of Beirut-style-levity, and “Tyttö Tanssii” an acoustic lullaby that brings the magic to a quilted decent. The album doesn't loose pace with bridges like "Alania" and "Salainen Huone," serving a greater purpose. So what’s to hate?
In the end, my biggest complaint is that the album is too short at barely over thirty-five minutes long. Next time I would like to see Paavoharju stretch to greater lengths, but until then, I'm addicted. The year is drawing to a close, and Laulu Laakson Kukista is one to remember.