Barren up north
VERNERI POHJOLA & BLACK MOTOR: Rubidium
TUM Records TUM CD 031
Rubidium is a collaboration between the Tampere-based Black Motor trio and trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, and could be described as Finnish music in the classic sense. The rough soundscape on this album merges with soft melodies creating jazz that is at once barren and tender – just like the northern nature and mindscape. Pohjola’s trumpet sound and Black Motor’s playing represent the barren side of the music, even though there are more cultured moments too. The dry general feeling of the album is supported by its mixing, which sometimes gets very unwilling and intimate ending up resembling a kind of mono or lo-fi aesthetic, even if the recordings are really today’s top quality. Black Motor makes a lot of music in the spirit of Edward Vesala and other Finnish free jazz players, which can mean very intensive expression that tests one’s idea of beauty. At first, the album even sounds unnecessarily crude, but the lyrical melodies get more space as the album goes on towards a more balanced whole.
Translation: Jonathan Mander