Contemporary Dead Finnish Music Ensemble

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Dead music project

Welcome to our research centre! Let me introduce myself: I am Anton Epstein, chairman of the national Dead Music Society. I am the team leader of a modest but still important research project called Dead Music Project or DMP as short. I hope to clear some prevailing misconceptions about dead music in general and share some feasible information with you as I explain our analysis methods and the findings of our group. Let us go to the library so we can discuss in private.

A lot of music died in the 1980's, and only the minority were caused by natural death. Musical murder was a commonplace. Such cruelty is rare even amongst the most uncivilized corners of the feared International Music Business. Only other known examples of horror of that magnitude are the discrimination of W.A. Mozart in Vienna and the ruthless despise introduced by the Serialism during the 1950-70’s.
Fortunately, by using the most advanced techniques that the modern intellectual world has to offer, we can bring these innocent casualties back to life. Total success is not guaranteed, however. There have been many heartfelt moments - tears of joy from everybody here in the laboratory - when we have heard the very first beats of a revived musical baby. On the other hand, the amount of shock and wretchedness after a long and strenuous miscarried attempt of reconstruction is inconsolable.

Let me lead you through the pieces in the album “Ideal Standards Vol. 1” in a chronological order so I can share with you some of our achievements. Before we go any further I must tell you as a side note that - perhaps you are old enough to remember it - there was a famous company, a toilet seat manufacturer called IDEAL STANDARD. Perhaps it is still operational, who knows. They were by all manner of means the best of the best of the best!

HUMAN SORDINOS (*1982 +1989)

An early composition made by young schoolboy Antti Pesonen. It appears to be the first piece written on the first piano in their home. His classmate Kalle Laine wrote the lyrics. The first public performance of the piece was held at the school’s opening of the morning. Solo voice/piano live from the music classroom through the central radio.

While being a simple and atmospheric piece, a male voice accompanied by a pianist, it contains some basic elements and developments that are present in some form in AP’s later works as well. It’s fair to says that on this recording Matti Jalava’s sophisticated chordal arrangement helped the song to become what it always wanted to be.

THE SILENT SIDE OF ME (*1984 +1989)

This composition made AP want to change the name of the band from Angel Dust to Kharon. He abandoned everything that was made before and wanted to have a fresh start. An own style and sound that could be taken seriously had born. Long duration or complex structures weren’t anymore a blockage for floating and fluent musical thoughts. The original version had even a furious instrumental section in time signature 11/8, but in this revision it has been removed. Indeed, the piece is more coherent without it. We have some recordings from 1985 to prove its existence, should it become necessary.

DARK AGES (*1985 +1986)

Following the confidence which the birth and success of “The Silent Side of Me” had given AP could search even deeper towards the uncharted musical territory. A very uncomfortable time signature 5/4 and heavy dissonance by the use of tritonus makes a striking contrast and gives the listener a beautiful relief when the serene B-section once emerges from the darkness. All our research material indicates that the B-section was composed on an acoustic guitar on the beach, on a lovely summer day.

OZONE (*1985 +1987)

After the long cinematic and oriental intro, we are again confronting a tritonus interval appearing early and used strongly in the main theme. The whole rhythmic structure is based on one module or cell and varied over the piece. The origins of that rhythm leads us to the word “A-jat-ta-ra". “Ajattara” is an old Finnish name for the "evil forest spirit". We have some fragmented information that this basic idea of the song came to AP during meditation.

HIGHKING MUSIC (*1993 +1994)

It’s known that this work first started as an instrumental collaboration with Rami Talja (image link) and AP in the band Paha Kurki. (image link) During the restoration process, to our great surprise, a vocal melody with lyrics came to an existence. Some other quaint things happened also; we will get back to those later on.

STOP THE MACHINE! (*1993 +1994)

We conclude from his notes and scribbling that it was only after representing the idea of B-section and enthusiastically approved by his band mates, AP started to compose a contrasting part to begin the song - this 10 minute epic. The central part - a fugue for two voices – derives from the summer of 1993 when AP had borrowed a four track cassette recorder and a Chapman Stick to experiment with some fresh musical ideas. Performed live three times by Paha Kurki in their final stages.

THINKING MUSIC PT. 2 (*1993 +1994)

“ThinKing Music Parts 1 & 2” were composed for a gig set that was performed three times and was considered by many to be the heyday and artistic apex of Paha Kurki. These two pieces wrapped the set by beginning and closing it. “Part 1” was so badly injured in the traumatic life-ending incident that we are very fortunate if we are able to reconstruct it for the upcoming Volume 2. In order to succeed in the restoration we will presumably have to also take under careful examination the piece called “Nordic Nights” (*1994 +1994).

ZEPHYR (*1997 +1998)

After a precise study of his notes it’s evident to me that the rather complex and long works like “Stop The Machine!” and “ThinKing Music Parts 1 & 2” didn’t offer AP the kind of challenge he explicitly needed in order to evolve as a composer. He decided to try composing with fewer variables and simpler structures. “Zephyr” is based on A B A B C –formula and the rhythm base is definitely elementary, hence giving room for melodic ideas. It is a rather well known theory of mine that the development of artistic expression can be divided into four stages:

1.One can express simple things poorly
2.One can express complicated things poorly
3.One can express complicated things well
4.One can express simple things well

This can be applied e.g. to playing of a musical instrument as well.

THE PROBE (AWAY FROM THE WAY) (*2000 +2004)

Imagine a highly evolved robot that has been sent to explore the signals received from the outer space. Somewhere during this long long journey it creates an artificial intelligence as pre-planned and realises that it can never get back home, even when it has completed the mission. After that, it sees some incredible things he would like to share with us but the transmission is already lost.

Something like that was a starting point and a vision for “The Probe” according to our findings. It is a continuation of the “less is more” school of thought like “Zephyr” but the viewing point is totally different. Synthesizers dominate soundscape and the lack of bass guitar gives it unique character. From his diary we can learn that AP was most pleased by his wife Riikka’s bountiful comment that despite the very simple basic elements the piece holds the mood and the tension up quite well.


A Short Introduction to TEKNIIKAN IHMEET / TECHNICAL WONDERS


Tekniikan ihmeet as pictured at the Club Tavastia

Sometimes when researching we stumble on something that is not quite dead music per se, it is music that for some peculiar reason didn’t die while it should have. Saved by the bell or by numbers, who knows? One prime example is “Väylien hälyä” / “Channel Noises” (image link), a concept album by TEKNIIKAN IHMEET (TI).

TI was a group of players, composers and artists who wanted to continue the true tradition of progressive music. They had their idols and icons of course, but instead of imitating the progressiveness of their heroes, TI wanted to invent and bring something prog to the tradition of prog.

In the piece “Väylien hälyä” TI had a goal of creating one long, coherent and meaningful musical work, which is composed by using very diverse styles and elements. The lyrics reflect different aspects of the main theme and central musical ideas have been used throughout the album. The main issue in the piece concerns the new era of modern technology versus human life, the wealth of communication and the lack of human relations. That is, how the man is becoming loose of the nature as well as other human beings. The development is evolving and revolving. This subject is at the same time fascinating and horrifying. Not unlike the time we are living in.

 
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