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Nordic Notes
Review by Chris Nickson


cd cover The name of this Finnish trio is a perfect description of their sound. Sähköpaimen translates as “electric shepherd,” and their music is a persuasive, heady mix of the contemporary and the rural, as Amanda Kauranne and Kirsi Ojala's wind instruments, mouth harps, and wild, uncontained vocals rub and roil against Eero Grundström's electronics and loops.

The album title – “twilight” in English – marks that time of day when the transition from the real world into the realm where magic happens, and the band explores the possibilities that lurk in the darkening shadows. The deep influence of the tradition and folklore wraps itself around the album, as on “Jyrinpäivä,” where a troll-like chant constantly growls under Kauranne’s voice and the burbling machines.

They’re at their most powerful in the moments they throw off restraint and release their wildness; voices open in a cattle call or a bloody scream. There’s certainly no shortage of imagination here, as the epic, insistent, nine-plus minutes of “Jaakko-Kulta” shows. It shape shifts as it moves, a transformation of mood and tone that encapsulates every facet of the band’s tone.

Something’s going on here, and it’s very interesting. Maybe we need more electric shepherds.


Find the artist online.

Further listening:
Puuluup - Viimane Suusataja
Ensemble Gamut! - RE Celenka - Villoi Varsa

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