in Reviews

Head-spinning – mind-clearing

by Jaani Länsiö

Oh yes! One of the best releases this year is the gilt-edged calling card of accordionist-composer Veli Kujala that simultaneously slakes a thirst for something new and strikes a nostalgic chord.

The cover and soundscapes evoke immediate connotations with video games in the days when the figures were pixel guys and the soundtrack was a sharp, beeping organ. Heavy music at that time also exuded a blokish bluster that springs to mind on hearing the thudding, teeth-grinding CybOrgan beat.

The TampereRaw and Uusinta Ensemble strings plus Susanne Kujala’s organ sound as bombastic as a stadium band. The composer himself gives a head-spinning performance in Hyperchromatic Counterpoint on a quarter-tone accordion, and it is surprising how quickly the ear gets used to this “out of tune” instrument.

Forty-five minutes of this instrument and this work do, however, test the listener’s staying power, and probably not even the most hardened new-music fan can avoid a moment of weariness, but this is precisely why the experience clears the mind and opens up the ears.

Translation: Susan Sinisalo

KUJALA: Hyperorganism

CybOrgan; Hyperchromatic Counterpoint

Veli Kujala (quarter-tone accordion and pre-recorded tape); Susanne Kujala (organ); Uusinta Ensemble, TampereRaw (strings)

Alba ABCD 393