2. Patient Observation
3. Pill Induced Slumber
4. The Dream
5. Awaken / Panic / Restraint
6. Electroconvulsive Shock
7. The Path to Recovery
“Hollywood was recorded live in 2009 using drums, saxophone, flute and synthesizers. “Misty” is a tribute to the big orchestrated scores by MGM, Disney and the like, while “Drug Legs” is influenced by film noir. John Carpenter was also involved.”
Zelienople is Matt Christensen, Brian Harding, and Mike Weis.
As musical form, songs have always been important to Kiila, and consequently Tuota tuota develops around its songs. On the other hand, the album consists of many details: the sound is full, the web of instruments more varied and carefully orchestrated than before. It is unnecessary to separate the electronic from the non-electronic components. Different traditions of folk and pop music intermingle with electronic music and improvisation, tones and sound itself. This way, the album also poses questions about songs and songwriting.
The motifs in the songs are not easy to render in English, but one can at least attempt to translate some of them: master of the house, elk antlers, tree bark, sound of rapids, fog, letters, calves, fingers. The list, however, doesn’t make the songs easier to understand in a foreign language. The words sound archaic, anachronistic or timeless, the language of the myth. But can they be something else, too? And how transparent do we want the myth to be? At the risk of sounding dull, I suggest that the songs do speak to their age, our age, the nature of knowledge and work, the fluctuations of inspiration and threat. Unfortunately, it is mostly only the Finnish-speaking listeners who will be able to assess the validity of this idea.
The name of the album, Tuota tuota, translates roughly as “well, well” and signifies a thinking pause, a moment of contemplation. The language alone is likely to give pause to an English-speaking listener, but I hope the idea will convey itself in more ways than just that. And a pause for thinking is, of course, never a waste of time.
Julianna Barwick’s music is unlike pretty much anything I’ve heard before. Sure, there are faint echoes of past artists, and I’ll get to them shortly — but this EP’s six tracks are a revelation nonetheless. Barwick’s modus operandi is to create music using effect pedals and loops of her own voice. Musical instruments rarely intrude (”Anjos” has a piano loop, possibly some synth), or if they’re there, they’re difficult to distinguish from the voice-derived sounds. It’s beautiful music, somewhere between ethereal and ambient.
At times, I’m reminded of a few different things. John Foxx’s Cathedral Oceans albums, for example, which are ambient music based around Foxx’s church music-inspired vocalizing. The odd choral sounds of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares. Classic Harold Budd and Brian Eno ambient. Sigur Ros.
Though Barwick’s intrument is her voice, there are few discernible words or lyrics here. Her voice is used as an instrument. Only one song has an identifiable lyric — “Choose” has the words “any way you choose.”