Jarmo Saari: Solu (2004)
The use of realia on disc might well have gone the same way as Syd Barrett's homemade attempts to capture the sounds of a live motorbike for his piece Rhamadaninto the cutting bin. But his progenitors succeeded with the same sound for Atom Heart Mother , and the recording industry progressed towards today's super sampling scenario. "Finland's hardest working professional guitarist" Jarmo Saari is doing his modest best to undo and yet confirm this trend some way by creating his first solo disc with a panoply of sounds which all originate just from his guitar, albeit with massive input from his store of digital sampling and processing effects.
The result is 46 minutes of exploration of inner worlds of noise and weirdness that beggars definitions of music. The sounds range from serene ethereal chanting, to semi-digested dog barks, via a swath of visions and moods between. He has admitted himself that hearing music in the bleep of a traffic signal, or the squawks of a toy robot, is enough of an inspiration. It's a philosophy close to my heart anyway, having once tried to emulate Barrett's search for novel sound by recording my own voice at different points down an exposed mains sewage pipe!
On top of over fifteen years' experience in the studio, Saari uses his intuition in a selective process to find and work with sounds, building up sonic-scapes that owe much to the visceral rhythms of techno and rap he used on the 2003 release of project band Reuna's Smelly, to his lead guitar of neo-progressive XL, as well as the vistas of his classical roots or his work in the 1990s with Finnish roots/jazz-rock Zetaboo.
The unity of his vision is not immediately apparentmost tracks are composed of varieties of looped and processed sounds, evolving repetitively but constantly through different shades of mood and process, flavoured with savoury epicurean electronic spices. Whether it's Kanon or Alarmo, it's difficult from the titles to know what to expect, let alone detect the processes whereby they are derived. The listener may sometimes feel like a guest at a musical Mad Hatter's Tea Party, waiting with mixed apprehensions for the next course to appear. In fact, the first seven tracks form the core of Saari's vision, "Solu/Cell," distantly corresponding to his spectacular live one-man-with-guitar sonic performances. As a sample of Saari's hard working inner ear, this CD is a treat for the aurally audacious. After all it suggests filing under Adventurous.
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Track Listing: Solu: Scroll; Spiral; Hurry?; Raw Beauty; Sing Lctrncs Sing; Morphosis; Ballad (wings, feather, space). Insects: cyba pedail; mad nest; Kanon; Alarmo (I created a monster); Blow.
Personnel: Jarmo Saari: guitar.