While Tapani Rinne is best known as a saxophonist with his long-running band RinneRadio as well as with the late Edward Vesala, Wimme and many others, in recent years he has reached more often for the bass clarinet. This heavy instrument has a wide range of expression, but has been a rare bird in jazz since Eric Dolphy’s experiments in the mid-60s.
Rinne expands the instrument’s versatility with electronics, aided by several current and former RinneRadio cohorts. As they lay down thick, murky synthetic foundations, his clarinet gleams over them, more like a bright lighthouse beam on a stormy night than a foghorn.
Foghornia is billed as a sequel to Rinne's 2019 album Radioton, a gently meditative soundtrack that approached New Age. While the pure, peaceful Polar and the deep-breathing Confirmation could be cut from the same cloth as Radioton, the rest of this follow-up is darker and more unsettling. The overall sound is eerie, nocturnal and wintry – yet somehow comforting, as deep forests are for people of the North.
There are urban sounds, too. Erottaja, named for a central Helsinki street, starts out slow, then builds in tension with electronic effects suggesting car horns and insects, as Rinne observes the scene with deep woodwind notes.
There’s also a thrumming, edgy energy to Kirjurinluoto, which Rinne dedicates to the late founders of the Pori Jazz Festival in his old hometown. It doesn’t sound like a festival, though, more like a solitary trudge through festival grounds in the off-season, imagining the echoed laughter of summer visitors and perhaps the call of a loon over the river.
Rinne gets out the tenor sax for one track: the mournful Ode to Helsinki, which could be more of an elegy, perhaps for a city that has sunk beneath the sea. These are the kinds of foreboding images aroused by the deeply soulful Foghornia.
TAPANI RINNE: Foghornia
Signature Dark SD2