Rockadillo (www.rockadillo.fi) / Northside-US (www.noside.com)
The most kinetic and lavishly woven of their three releases so far on Northside, Cugu illustrates how Wimme (Vee-meh) as a folk/art music phenomenon might best be understood as a group proper. In this third outing the Sami yoik (vocals) of Arctic Finn Wimme Saari, and the instrumental stage sets and programming production of Tapani Rinne and the Rinne Radio team, have arrived as a fully functional and perfected unit. While Saari's treasurable, rough-hewn tenor echoes wilderness experience, displaying mimicry of animals and nature's intelligent chaos in general, even as he sings words, Rinne has illumined it with synthetic and processed sounds of comparable organic complexity, but also woodwinds and other sonic garlands. The metric pulse of beats, secondary rhythm markers and murky sub-floors are artfully layered to suggest once again a digital bride to Saari's lonesome and cold-bitten voice, and appear in every one of twelve original selections.
Track to track the approach has never been more obvious yet exquisite decisions of atmosphere and texture await the listener around every corner; evocations of caves, sacred rocks, dew, and pups, to name a few. More so than either of the CDs Wimme or Gierran, Cugu seems more diverting than ritualistic, particularly on the tracks that a little too plainly display the formula. Still, Rinne Radio prove over and over that they can concentrate details without sacrificing any space or air, and maintain an off-kilter sense of time in at least a few places. Though the studio treatments are deliciously newfound, they would seem empty without the irreproducible warmth and idiosyncrasy of Saari's yoiks, and this is the beauty of the Wimme mechanism. Now, despite all of the above, I must plead hunger for more. What if a continuous, unified dreamscape, a sonic movie from within the Yoikworld in the very particulars of Wimme's modern vernacular were explored? Well, we'll have to wait and hope, else hark back to those Dalvadis Theatre soundtracks. In the meantime, one can still steal the world with this audio spectacular from the far north, especially when Saari looses a high altitude howl from the top of Radio Rinne. - Steve Taylor