Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Paavoharju is part of an intriguing scene that subsists in Finland but seems to hail from a spirit world where the natural and the ethereal blur. The latest of several notable offerings from the Finnish label Fonal, Laulu Laakson Kukista finds the group studiously adrift, with impressionistic glimmers of sound (bird chirps, static, warbly chimes) situated within delicate songs that draw on everything from acoustic folk to the kind of smeary polyglot pop favored by Animal Collective and especially Gang Gang Dance. The group functions as a collective led by two born-again Christians, but the sounds they make suggest Christians of an extraordinarily mystical sort.


The same goes for Es, at least the mystical part. Es is the working name of Fonal's founder, and his gorgeous two-disc Sateenkaarisuudelma features a similar tendency to wander even while hewing closer to the rigorous, refined sounds of the classical avant-garde. The album heaves through all kinds of swells and drones, but there's something breathless about the way it transpires as a whole. Like much of what makes Fonal a label worth tracking, it's music that sounds like it was summoned more than manufactured.

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