As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to shed a bit of light and share a bit of information on the up and coming sounds of artists such as ES.
Sami Sänpäkkilä is ES -- but more importantly (to some, at least) he is the founder and sustainer of Fonal, originally began by Sami to self-release his own recordings. The Finnish pipeline Fonal has blossomed into has been embraced by music aficionados the world over making it a crown jewel of DIY labels.
Upon initial listens of Kesämaan Lapset, Sänpäkkilä’s fifth album underneath the ES banner, it’s plain to see why Fonal and its artists (none as popular as Islaja at the moment) are bending continental boundaries: good music knows no home. Kesämaan Lapset combines saccharine pop melodies with the ethos of electronic drone to create intergalactic soundscapes. As clichéd as it may sound, Kesämaan Lapset captures the moments in life that don’t need words; the memories that float in the milky molasses of our minds. Look no further than the album’s cover from which Sänpäkkilä draws inspiration: images of childhood be they real or imagined.
Sami Sänpäkkilä may have labored over Kesämaan Lapset for three years, yet it sounds natural and organic -- as if it sprouted from the enriched fertilizer provided by Sami’s constant thoughts. The five tracks of Kesämaan Lapset twinkle like nightly stars (“Kesä ja hymyilevät huulet”); gently sway in calm ocean waters (“Kesämaan Lapset”); smell of pine and mud like the first heavy Spring rain (“Säteet sun sielusta”). For all the movies and compositions that have claimed to capture those moments when time stood still and everything was surrounded by a soft focus, they compare not to the beauty and elegance of Kesämaan Lapset.
Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up and Thursday edition of Song of the Day for the KEXP Blog. You can now follow him on Twitter.