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Nordic Sounds

Haarla, Krokfors & Paivinen: Intimate Intensity

By Published: March 12, 2004

This music is spacious, but not ambient, spare but not minimalist, quiet but not sentimental, intense but not ecstatic, free form but not free jazz. The tunes are not ballads, yet nor do they swing. Both albums chart out their own spaces and invite the listener in.

Yarra Yarra is like a musical labyrinth: Päivinen and Haarla create the feeling the music exists before the first note is struck and the last note dies: one theme begins, then ends somewhere totally unfamiliar: short phrases unexpectedly resolve in dissonant places, then long spirals branch off in entirely new directions.

The tunes on Heart of a Bird are more linear, but the emotions expressed change with each listen; first grief and longing, then brief hope and calm – shifting musical sands.

Truly Impressionistic music – no direct source of light is stated, so a listener must provide their own shades. Not only does this music require 100% conviction from the musicians, but it also requests 100% concentration from the listeners.

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