The World Mankeri Orchestra Inky Joy
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The World Mankeri Orchestra
Inky Joy
The Primitive Music Association of Finland

cd cover We last heard from World Mankeri Orchestra on the 2000 release Thauma, a mostly Bacchanalian spree of Nordic free jazz performed on instruments nearly half a millennium old. With Inky Joy, this Finnish quartet returns in fine and full experimental regalia, etching new lines in ice hard as glass. Recorded live, these "Ethno Boys" display the recondite range of their improvisational imagination and the stunning versatility of their homemade lirus and namesake mankeri.

The opening "Marble Dust" is a shadowy figure emerging from the fog. Friend or foe? Rippling saxophonic liru counters a droning clarinet; they're centered by unearthly vocalizations: ghosts of this age-old music's original pioneers.

"Gaule of Eeeles" is a ball of wails. Blowing off the dust and wax of ancient instruments after three years between records, this track serves as proper notice of World Mankeri Orchestra's return. Two lirus, bass and percussion propel a full-on sonic assault, sheets of sound interspersed with quarter note blasts, gasps and shrieks.

At the center of this record lies "Tobak, Cinammon," an ancient Finnish chamber piece, bringing it all back from wherever we just were. It's a thoughtful discussion, passionate but never quite heated. Warmth & respite. Notably, it's the only track on Inky Joy employing the clarinet-like mankeri. Relish it.

We turn the corner with "Dragon Blood," the record's longest song at just over ten-and-a-half minutes. Solo liru floats above a slow steady kettle drum rhythm, moving forward ever slowly, but undeniably in motion. Halfway through, we're joined by another liru and clank clank clank percussion, like David Murray in Tom Waits' workshop. We proceed as if this is how it always was.

"Celestial" picks up where "Dragon Blood" leaves off, a solo liru beckoning for companionship. It finds it, through the dark ethers of galactic bodies, calling to one another. Oh, Inky Joy! - Joel Davis

More about the artists: (in Finnish)

CD available from cdRoots

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