Mental Es Anything

Mental Alaska: Nu Science, Es, Anaksimandros, Köhn
Sunday 6 August 2000 @ Telakka, Tampere.

Mental Alaska takes place at the club-theatre-gallery Telakka, and with its electro-acoustic and experimental nights remains - with free entrance for everyone and loads of DIY spirit - one of the last bastions of idealism among Tampere's other more commercially oriented club events, so this one just deserves massive props and mentioning even more widely than here in its tiny hometown.

Nu Science played a surprise gig after having performed at Koneisto, the electronic music festival in Turku on Saturday. This was not to the tastes of all local postrock purists, but personally, brought an additional nice flavour to the event. Being now three members, Mikko Ojanen and Henri Tani added with Aku Raski, Nu Science's sound is in better balance than has been ever before. The sound seems to be going more into the 70s jazzy analogue ambient and what Herbie Hancock used to do, with Rhodes piano and all, but I don't know if this is such a bad thing; depends on the listener. Very chill-out anyway, with moody and atmospheric melodies.

Es is Sami Sänpäkkilä, whose one-man performance with old vinyl players, radios, tape recorders and so on really amazed me, with continuous minimal loops creating warm soundscapes, repeating in cycles. The sound differed quite a bit from his more guitar & effects oriented Flick album on (K-RAA-K), but if this is really where he's going to in the future, I can hardly wait for his forthcoming releases. Maybe the next Pole or Mika Vainio is born here...?

Anaksimandros consist of local guys, who run the whole Mental Alaska sound system. This time the line-up was Arttu Partinen, Kevin Regan, Jan Anderzen (of Kemialliset Ystävät) and Markus Mäki on violin (the original member Janne Laurila concentrating now on his own Office Building project). Their music is total free improvisation with guitars, effects and acoustic instruments, which as such is an interesting effort, but still remains a bit formless.

Köhn is Jürgen De Blonde from Belgium, and his performance was eclectic electronic beats, added with some Sonic Youth-esque guitar touches (he has played as the band's support) and improvisation. Very good, but after the totally mind-blowing show from Es this didn't strike me as hard as it should ideally have; pity in fact, but still someone to watch out for. Finally there was a jam combining members of all performing bands, but this didn't bring much new to the overall event; was just a nice finale to it all.

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