Playlist: Antti Klemi

Antti Klemi (right) is the lyricist and vocalist of the Finnish band Circle of Ouroborus, whose last two full-length albums - Eleven Fingers and The Lost Entrance of the Just -  have been released on Handmade Birds. The third part of this trilogy, which was recorded between the recording of Eleven Fingers and The Lost Entrance..., is set to be released by Handmade Birds towards the end of 2012.

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This list is a sneak peak to my artistic – be it lyrical or visual arts – origins (with a hint of music, of course). I thought it would be too obvious to list bands that you already know – you can check my playlist for Todestrieb Podcast ( ) if you’re interested in that side. Of course these five picks are only a slice of the whole scale and I guess that many of them are already known to you, but some things just earn more underlinings.

Albert Camus: The Stranger
I have always been more a philosopher than a mystic, and the French movement of existentialism has shaped my world view a lot: what is my fate and my will, what is coming from the outside, where does stand the line between independence and society, how can I strip the shackles of this world to be free etc. As you can guess, many of these topics are relevant and important in Circle Of Ouroborus too. Although Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea digs this world even deeper, I find this short novel of Camus more appealing and straight-to-the-point with its laconic, almost stagnant phrases. The great dialogue between Mersault and the priest finishes this book brilliantly.

Eino Leino
It isn’t exaggerating to say that I have mentioned a poet Eino Leino (1878-1926) in every interview I have done. But that has happened for a reason: Leino’s use of atypical words in such a natural and flowing way is amazing, and his play between a man’s inner world and universal visions is something very unique. A great in small, so to speak. If you want real connection points from Circle Of Ouroborus discography, go through the lyrics of Aamusta… from Unituli album or the song called "Tummemmat" from the coming 7” Pohjoinen yksinäisyys. From Leino’s own works I would recommend Helkavirsiä (Whitsongs, part one 1903 and part two 1916) – for example Äijön virsi is a quite striking piece of poetry. For the softer moments, take a look at Peace from the link below.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela
From Leino the logical step onwards is Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931), another fine symbolist but this time a painter. As Leino took lots of inspiration from Kalevala, also Gallen-Kallela is best known of his Kalevala themed paintings like "The Defense of the Sampo." His works are simple but still full of details that come up with time. Also the melancholic nature of the Finnish culture is well presented: there is always something blue in the horizon, and joy is only a temporary feeling, only waiting for its end. Another great Finnish painter is Hugo Simberg, but I go with Gallen-Kallela this time.

Samuli Heimonen
Then something new. Heimonen was the Young Artist of the Year of 2008, and I won’t argue with that decision a bit. His paintings can be dark or colourful, humoristic or pessimistic, but there is always something strangely fascinating in them: something wrong, and that is one of the elements I try to find from art. Art should be somehow irritating, even terrifying – it can’t let you too easily. It has been also interesting to see how Heimonen has progressed with his topics and style during these years, from the surface to the inside.

Finally some music. If you ask from a Finnish guy or gal about CMX, I’m sure he or she knows the band – and has also an opinion about it. Some say that CMX (meaning Cloaca Maxima, ancient Rome’s sewage system) is the most poetic and artistic rock band in Finland, while the other half says that the whole band is just annoying artsy-fartsy bullshit. Well, you can guess which side I choose. From the early years of furious and perverse hardcore punk to the most recent easy-going rock music, I like the middle-era CMX the most. Especially their Vainajala album weaves a hypnotic web of Kalevala leanings, melancholy, tight rock tunes and very ghostly atmosphere. Also their singer/bassist A.W. Yrjänä is a fine man with his words: again, very original use of words and topics, combining everyday glimpses of reality to unnatural themes. Check out the title song of Vainajala or Taivaan lapset and make your own decision.


Taivaan lapset (live):

1 comment:

Badger said...

Thanks for this. I've never seen the work of Samuli Heimonen before but it's breathtaking. I'll definitely be investigating further.