|©2000 Laskeuma Records
1. Mamelukki & Musta Leski
6. Kebab Tai Henki!
10. Häntä Helli Käärme
12. Delhin Yöt
13. Siltojen Alla
Alamaailman Vasarat are possibly the most generic "kosher-kebab jazz" band I've ever heard. Not that I've ever heard any other bands much like them, so that's not necessarily a bad thing. Do you ever get just plain sick of electronic instruments? It seems these guys were, or at least needed a break, as there's not an electric guitar in sight here. Featuring as many as four members of the fairly loud Finnish progrock band Höyry Köne, Alamaailman Vasarat are one of the strangest acoustic bands I've heard over the years. But this soprano sax, trombone, pump organ, cello and drums quintet rock harder than most of the lame "turn it to 11, Nigel!" type of bands out there.
Imagine a fun melodic band that throws all sorts of nifty melodies and harmonies at you, not being afraid of hopping into dissonance and mad polyrhythms, yet who still manage to write catchy, enjoyable music. Dancable even! Throw in some tango, klezmer, jazz and funeral(!) music, and you have an album that really stands out from the crowd.
These guys are really able to keep together through the oddest twists and turns and really fill their performance with emotion, whether it's upbeat and jolly like "Mamelukki & Musta Leski" (featuring a distorted cello!) or slow, sad pieces such as "Jano". One of my favorite songs on here is "Hakumies", which starts out more like a sound experiment than anything. It has thumps and screeches, some dissonant chords slowly pumped out of the organ, and ever so jolly tritones scratching your ears. After a few minutes a beautiful, mourning melody surfaces and the song slowly grows, and grows...and grows. Of course, the second the track is over, "Dalhin Yot" takes over, and the tempo has gone into overdrive, with the music sounding more like a dance scene from a 60s spy movie.
I could go on and on, but I'll spare you from a ghastly track-by-track review. If you would like to try something new that sounds decidedly different from most of the music out there today, you'd do well in giving these Finns a chance.
Review by Øystein H-O
Review date: 02/2002