This text was originally published in the issues #11 (May 1995) and #12 (August 1995) of The Skreem, and has been updated slightly since that.
Not much happening on the Finnish techno front at the moment (1995), I'm afraid, but this typically rainy summer has been delighted by some live happenings and a few foreign guests. And of course some interesting new releases from the Finnish labels Sähkö,Dum and Lumi!
So, what's going on at these chilly Northern shores...
The foreign guests and parties in Finland 1994-95
Elliot Ness brought during 1994 to Finland some of the world names like LFO and Orbital (with their longest set of alltime - 1 hour and 50 minutes), Mr. C. of Shamen, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, and Laurent Garnier, who were all heard in Helsinki as the guest DJ's of Ness's Planet of Love club, which must have been the real highlight of the last summer. Also the last June saw the Heliopolis event at Jyvaskylä festival with Stefan Robbers of the Dutch Eevo Lute label fame.
Sven Väth visited Finland his second time in August, when Trans-Global Underground and Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart were also seen as part of the WOMAD World Music festival. The autumn '94 brought to Finland the names like Richie 'Plastikman' Hawtin, whose Halloween set was widely acclaimed; playing together with the British dance guru Andrew Weatherall, whose trance set was, according to those present, surprisingly lame... Also the chart monsters Prodigy were gigging in the largest cities during November.
The biggest spring 1995 happenings had been the Symbol party in Helsinki with the Dutch DJ Dimitri, and the Velvet Underground party in Tampere with the legendary British DJ Nicky Holloway, both in March. April 1995 also brought to Finland the Christian techno vegan Moby from the USA, who was also going attend the summer's biggest rock festival, Provinssirock in June. In April also took place in the largest cities the 'House of House' tour, with Lunatic Asylum from France, DJ Toby from Japan, and Choci from London.
At the end of May there was Dance Planet '95 happening held in Helsinki, with nearly 30 DJ's playing, among them two guys of 808 State plus Wild Planet (of Warp fame) from Britain as the live act. One of the DJ's was supposed to be Mark Oh of Mayday, but he didn't arrive for some obscure reason never explained, which understandably caused some ravers to accuse the organizers of ripping them off...
Technowise, though, the highlight of summer 1995 must have been the Down By The Laituri festival in Turku, June 15th - 17th; where among all two of Finland's acclaimed Sähkö Recordings' most reputable artists, the Turku group Panasonicand the Hammond organ man Jimi Tenor were seen as part of the schedule.
Panasonic - then consisting of Mika 'Ø' Vainio, Ilpo Väisänen and Sami Salo - was in 1995, and still is, Sähkö's flagship, and had during Panasonic's relatively short career already played their ultra-minimalist music in New York, London and Berlin. It's very typical, though, that Down By The Laituri 1995 was Panasonic's first appearance in their native Finland.
As for Jimi Tenor ('Sähkömies' LP, also 'Take Me Baby' remixes on T&B), his music can well be described as lounge lizard Hammond jazz sounds from outer space, and Jimi was already declared as an undeniable and absolute hero of the universe - when the local legend Pässi entered the stage, threw his underpants on Jimi's face and stumbled on Jimi's equipment with his pants down... Talk about some technical difficulties! Anyway, Jimi HAS TO BE experienced live, at least once during your lifetime. (Jimi's new album, 'Europa' out on SähköAugust 7, 1995.)
The traditional Finnish Juhannus (Midsummer) festivities were held in Helsinki the 23rd of June with the Sub-Ultra Marine Ultra Party organized by the famous Oksanen Brothers (the legendary Detroit Diesel duo) - with 16 live acts, 14 DJ's, gabber karaoke and hardcore bungee jumping for those mad & reckless Finns!
Some names attending the Ultra Party were Brainscan, SQ 2, Psyclone, Opaque, Pineapple Circle, Sintetik, SCI, Le Double F, Aqi, Jörg Mager, Victor Frankenstein, DieTroit, Speed17, 909 (Japan), Toby (Dick), and many others, refreshing the short (and characteristically alcohol-soaked) Finnish midsummer night with their banging headphuq techno sounds.
Other happenings worth mention were of course 1995's Typpihappo party in Turku (held as part of the Ruisrock festival), though only a total of 1000 ravers attended, since the promised and much-awaited Orb gig was cancelled - the good Dr. LX probably having got lost in his weed stack somewhere between the Battersea power station and Turku Typhoon hall...Instead the Finnish party animals were offered the acid jazzers D-Influence and the dub house veterans Renegade Soundwave from Britain, and of course the dance tunes of HyperdelicHousers DJ's; spinning some of their trademark good stuff from house to jungle to easy listening (e.g. Shirley Bassey version of 'Light My Fire', among all)...
As for the Drum II festival in Vaasa, the awaited guest of honour was Sweden's Robert Leiner (aka Source Experience of R&S Records); the trip hop gargoyle Tricky played for the spliffheadz and trendies at Vanha Ylioppilastalo in Helsinki the early July. Also the worshipped Teutonic trance guru Sven Väth was supposed to visit Helsinki in August as a delight of all the Finnish techno crusties, and the Bristol dance act Massive Attack in the early September.
DJ Elliot Ness' summer club was also rumoured to have some surprise guests that summer (1995), too; though Ness' shows are from time to time ridden with unreliability and last minute cancellations... Elliot Ness, the most well-known character in the Finnish rave folklore, is said to be notorious for his sometimes moody and unpredictable behaviour; is this guy in need of Prozac or what, many commentators ask. Well, "Ness-bashing" seems to be even too popular sports among the Finnish underground ravers, so pHinnWeb just refrains from any further comments, won't cast that first rock, and only recommends everyone to draw their own conclusions. After all, it should be remembered that jealousy is the most characteristic Finnish mortal sin, and everyone who manages to gain some foothold in this country - in any field of life - will most certainly be a target of rumours and badmouthing, as it is.
In the last Skreem (May '95) I mentioned Jouni Alkio and his Aural Expansion project, churning out some world class quality ambient/electronic listening music. Now the Belgian SSR/Crammed Records has put out some remixed versions of his songs from 'Exercises In Expansion' LP (which came ou there in Finland last year), with some brand new spacy workouts in the best Aural XP stylee. The final product is called 'Surreal Sheep' (SSR 143), and it's well worth checking out if ambientish and outlandish IDM techno is your cup of tea. There is also the 'Remixes Vol. 1' 12" from Aural Expansion, with mixes from Mixmaster Morris, Wagon Christ and Jouni himself.
And there was loads of other interesting new stuff from the land of Midnight Sun/Sin! How about:
* 'Porzelangasse Grooves Part I' 12" by Kirlian and 'Tal-S' 12"from Sil Electronics (both on Sähkö). * 'No Name' 2x12" and'Gloom' CD from Mono Junk (Dum).
* 'The Jack Is Out There' (LUMI-003) vinyl compilation from Lumi Records (of Oulu town in Northern Finland) - the selections varying from Detroit sounds to jungle...
For the most dedicated FinnFans only: on the ambient tip Rinneradio with their jazz/techno fusions, Wimme Saari with his traditional Lapland joiku chants combined with the latest ambient sounds; the rock experimentalists China Swallow and the psychedelic guitar droners Circle - who all deserve a mention for an unbiased listener. Check these crazy Finns out and just beware of the reindeer!
The digital manipulation of Jouni Alkio's picture
by Stevvi of Circuit 8 - ta, lad!
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