Monday, August 30, 2010

Joonatan Elokuu - 'A Vagrant's Whim' (UTUPUU02, 2010)















Download from
http://kiiltomatolyhty.bandcamp.com/


We are happy to inform that 'A Vagrant's Whim', the new album by Joonatan Elokuu is now available! Those fluent in Finnish can order it via http://www.utupuu.fi (the site does not yet feature English language). English inquiries can be made by contacting info(nospam!!!at)utupuu.fi.

Tracks:

1. A Song Writ on Leaves
2. Rishikesh Song
3. Wicker Girl
4. Silk Road Sunrise
5. A Dream by the Arabian Sea
6. Montsegur
7. Born Again with a Hedgehog's Heart
8. Nancy
9. Valencia
10. Brother Sun
11. Like Christ and Osiris
12. Galilee

Playing time ~46 minutes.
Mastering by Mikko Määttä.

The CDr comes in a handmade, nature friendly packaging. The price is 8e (+2,40e postage).

The album is a collection of songs composed during various seaside drop-outs in India, France, Spain and Portugal (2008-2010) and finally recorded & finished once safely back home in Finland (...after a perilous journey through the Balkans & East Europe, including desperate hitchhiking and traveling with a French circus troupe...but that's another story, folks!)

The songs here are presented in a rather stripped-down and raw form; compared to the debut album 'Mushroom Heart' (2009), the instrumentation on 'A Vagrant's Whim' is much more dependant on just guitar & voice. Other instruments include cittern, harmonica, melodica, sitar, indian harmonium and portuguese guitar.

Released through Utupuu, limited to 300 hand numbered copies.

Phil McMullen from Terrascope wrote:

"Staying in Scandinavia, it was good to receive the latest full-length limited edition release from Finland’s Joonatan Elokuu, entitled “A Vagrant’s Whim”. For the most part this follows a simple formula of guitar and Elokuu’s soothingly soporific baritone, supplemented here and there by wife Helena on vocals and occasional other accompaniment. There’s not much to choose between the songs, all of which will delight in a lo-fi, late night, mellow sort of way. “Born Again with a Hedgehog Heart” features some sampled dialogue, possibly from a film (now that could be the quiz question this month), and “Nancy” continues with the spoken-word (Elokuu’s this time) while introducing some understated but evocative electronic backing, whilst “Like Christ and Osiris” features sitar and Indian Harmonium (and probably other things). Elokuu’s evidently an interesting and widely travelled chap with many a tale to tell, and this is all very pleasant and a fair enough if not quite essential contribution to the wyrd/alt/psych/whatever folk canon."

A short review from Psyche Van Het Folk:

"The second album by Joonatan Elokuu reminds me even more of In Gowan Ring, singing minstrel-like songs in his own modest way, with a warm introspective expressive way of singing with two acoustic guitars and accordion, and with the addition of some second female voice (Helena Halla) here and there. Only after a few songs different arrangements occur, like some flute with echo on “Silk Road Sunrise”. Special to hear also is the “Born Again with a Hedgehog's Heart” intro with a dialogue from a movie of someone seeking for birds/nature-like spiritual freedom. “Nancy” is expressed with more spoken word with warm ambient electric piano and synthesizer. More stretched in acoustic improvisation with harmonium, zither and sitar is “Like Christ and Osiris”. The last track concludes the album by adding whistling. Another good one from this new psych-folk artist. Released as a CDR in an envelope with some artwork."

Oscar Strik from Evening of Light wrote:

"After several years of building up steam as Aura Shining Green, it seems Joonatan Elokuu has recently settled into a relatively steady rhythm of writing and recording songs. Mushroom Heart was a very pleasant album from 2009, and this one, self-released in late 2010, is its equally fine successor.

Even more so than the last time around, travels form the inspiration for this collection of singer/songwriter folk pieces. The road took Joonatan and his wife Helena through Southern Europe and Asia, as we can see from titles like “Montségur”, “Valencia”, “Silk Road Sunrise”, and “Rishikesh Song”. This, however, hasn’t resulted in an overload of oriental and raga influences, as has been a fairly common occurrence in folk music since the 60s. Though certainly inspired by all kinds of vagaries from modern folk, guitar and voice dominate practically everywhere on these songs of Joonatan’s, and frankly, he needs little more to make perfectly enjoyable and intimate songs.

That’s not to say there isn’t some variety to be found. Melodies are executed with flair and diversity across the different tracks, and in some places intensities of arrangement highlight the flow of the music, such as in the rich “Wicker Girl”, where multiple guitar lines and additional vocals by Helena fill up the sound perfectly. At the other end, there is the ambient spoken word piece “Nancy”, a brooding track based on soft organ chords in the background, some use of samples, and introspective text. I wouldn’t have minded even more of these experimental sojourns, and perhaps it would have made the album more balanced and powerful.

As it stands, though, A Vagrant’s Whim is another nice album from a warm voice among the underground folk wanderers of today. Joonatan and Helena are on the move once more, but there are plans of rereleasing remastered version of the Utupuu albums in the future. Until then, the two have made all of their recent albums available as a free high-quality download on their website here, so there is no excuse for not checking their material out right now, and if you like what you hear, I’m sure they might have some physical copies available for sale."

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