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Koutus, Harri Kuusijärvi: Koutus

Looking at the promo sheet for Harri Kuusijarvi Koutus's latest album Koutus I have to admit I was a little taken aback when I saw the words "accordion music". I try not to prejudge anything I listen to but images of sitting at the computer listening to the latest polka music had my knees buckling. Well, fear not people, this is hardly polka. In fact I am hard pressed to find the right descriptors at all.

The band consists of Harri Kuusijärvi (accordion), Veikki Virkajärvi (electric guitar) and Tatu Rönkkö (drums and percussion).

The album was inspired by the Arctic landscape and I can hear that in the music. With only drums, guitar and accordion you can well imagine the music takes on a minimalist approach. It is also very moody and atmospheric as the trio try hard to capture the 'mood' the arctic conveys and for the most part they succeed. The opening track "Introduction" starts with layered accordion and icy stabs of electric guitar. It is this biting tone that gives the music a rock vibe. Drums start in slowly before the music stops allowing just accordion to grace the soundscape. It is all very atmospheric and moody and the music slowly builds to a more 'rock' sound. "Mama Come Home" features an off kilter drum beat with the guitar, again, having plenty of bite. "Waltz From The Past" features softer guitar and accordion while "Reindeer Derby" veers into the avant-garde with the music building into a chaotic frenzy of sounds.

Overall, this was a bit of a tough nut to crack. Although it is all well played I did find myself getting sidetracked as my attention began to wane. I will say this is more of a 'winter' album than one to listen to in the heat of summer. Perhaps I will try again in a few months. For now Koutus earns three stars.

Track Listing:
1. Introduction (5:57)
2. Mama Come Home (4:40)
3. Waltz From The Past (2:35)
4. February Oblivion (4:54)
5. Reindeer Derby (2:57)
6. Then (2:08)
7. Joik (4:29)
8. Koutus (6:50)
9. Now (2:54)
10. Fragile (7:05)

Added: August 5th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2081
Language: english

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