Syven, Aikaintaite

We all listen to music for different reasons, but at the root of things, we presumably go back to the things we love the most over and over again because they stir something inside of us, be that something whimsical, something political, something sorrowful, even something dreadful.

And then there are the pieces of music that transcend the personal, the pieces where the music stands on its own, where it takes on its own life - where it stands beside us, or across from us - the point being that it is anywhere that is not inside of us, because it is just too large. There is too much meaning, to much profound wisdom contained therein for it to remain in our hearts. It is an entity entirely its own. It is not alien, but it is other.

Finland's Syven (whose song "How Fare the Gods?" you may remember from the stunning compilation Whom The Moon a Nightsong Sings)  have created just such a piece of music. The music contained on their debut album Aikaintaite is bigger than the immensely talented duo of A.T. and A.K.S.; it's bigger than the instruments it's played on (including the native Finnish kantele); in some ways, it's bigger than music, bigger than art. It's bigger than any genre, obviously. We can call it folk, we can call it neofolk, or ambient, or whatever else we want, but in this music, genres break down. One listen to this album will show you that. It has elements of all these things, even a few hints of metal, but the tremendously atmospheric and evocative layering of synths over the kantele, the tribal percussion, the field recordings, and the varied vocals (from feral growls, whispered chants, and amazing low male choirs that at times approach the depth of Tibetan throat singing) makes no real suggestion of genre. It needs none, as it is its own.

The record is self-described as primordial and shamanistic, and these words are certainly appropriate.

There is breath within this music. There is life. It speaks to us, yes - but when it speaks from another side, it listens as well. It is open. It does not preach, it does not explain, but it communes with us, as we commune with it. It is... more than a gesture, more than a prayer - it's a beckoning to nature, a beckoning to the ancients to show us hope, to spark the light in all of us that keeps us alive in the harshest and most difficult of times.

Click over to Vendlus Records, where the album will soon be available, to hear samples.


TheWiseNoob said...

That last paragraph was beautiful. Now I want it even more. >_<

Krumbled Kookie said...

Thank you for that comment, it's nice to hear.

You won't be disappointed in this record, that much I think I can safely promise.

Sarah Frary said...

So unbelievably stoked for this. It will fit the dark, somber woods of southern Alaska where I'm wintering quite well, I think.

Krumbled Kookie said...

You have no idea how jealous I am, Sarah, that you're wintering in Alaska. Where in Southern Alaska, if you don't mind my asking?

Sarah Frary said...

And all I can say is that I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be here! I've got a new series of art that I'm hoping to pound out during my hermitical isolation here. .. of which I will happily show you.

As for the location, I am on the Kenai peninsula, specifically Ninilchik. Which is a very tiny town tucked a ways away along the highway to Homer, Alaska .. which might be a more recognizable place.

Krumbled Kookie said...

The Kenai Peninsula and Fairbanks (not the city, but the surrounding wilderness) are the two places in Alaska I've had pegged in my mind for years, and someday I will get there.

Cheers to you Sarah, may you enjoy, learn from, and appreciate your time there. I'm sure you will.