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A Finnish Feast: Hundreds of Free Songs from Earth's Least Corrupt Country

By Published: September 11, 2005
Mist Season
Three songs from Mist Season

This Hämeenlinna quintet, formed in 2004, plays contemporary fusion with New Age overtones reminiscent of Special EFX and Hiroshima. These tracks from their self-titled CD are described with phrases like "true to a Pyrrhonian recipe" (on "Skeptoscopic Detector") and "footprints around the camp fire turn pale as the astral Indians travel through time to meet their destiny" ("Cosmic Wardance"). The arrangements are lush and acoustics pleasing on a surface level, the kind of popular and safe compositions that lack challenge and depth. If success is measured by its likely appeal to listeners into the genre and concepts of the songs, then it hits the mark.



Various artists
More than 200 free jazz tracks, plus more in other genres, at mp3lizard.com



The quality is uneven at this site for unsigned artists looking to promote their work, but there's no question about its value as a source for Finnish jazz of every stripe. There's a bit of guesswork as the site lists band names (clicking on them connects to their direct sites - a plus), songs available and - sometimes - ratings from users that may or may not have merit. There's so much here it's impossible to offer more than a sampling of his and misses. Among the good: Tapani Suomela And Friends offers 33 Dixie and standards from spirituals to silly ("I Scream,You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream") with strong liveliness in vocals and instrumentation. Lesser material includes a generous, but tepid collection of about 40 pop-jazz/New Age songs from keyboardist/multiinstrumentalist Teemu Vehkala.

Various artists
122 jazz songs, plus more in other genres, at mikseri.net

This site is a bit tricky to navigate since it's in Finnish and offers more than music, but clicking on the above link will produce a list of all songs available for downloading or streaming in the jazz category.



Various artists
Songs from Mesta.net

This site offers about 30 free songs from eight different Finnish jazz groups, plus many others from other genres. The site is in Finnish, but relatively easy to navigate as the styles such as jazz and hip-hop are defined in English, and links to the songs are clear (after clicking wait a moment when what looks like a possible error screen appears - the song will load automatically). Highlights include four ethnic guitar-led trio songs by Antemeridiem similar in style to Al Di Meola, four vocal hybrids by Tappi that blend traditional, Finnish folk and freeform fusion, and the playful techno ambiance of Trilobiitti on songs like "Allright."



Various artists
Hundreds of songs from Soundclick

This is a global database, so there's lots to discover once you move beyond Finland, and one of the better such sites when it comes to ease of navigation and providing information about the musicians and their songs. Clicking on the jazz link (or any genre) and then doing a search by country (or U.S. state) brings up a list of available artists. There's a lot of genre overlap - among those showing up in the jazz roster are "typical one-man band" Timo Kinnunen offers 81 songs of many types and guitarist Mika Luoto describes his 36 downloads as everything "from jazz to trash." Quality isn't always exceptional, as a number of contributors are solo performers doing projects on multiple instruments, but there's a good selection of keepers. Luoto, despite constant self-deprecation, displays tonal versatility and nimble fingers on fusion, New Age, folk and swing for "rabbits having a party." The very good and very bad can be heard from the Trio Torkeat (translation: "filthy trio"), whose offerings run from decent Dixie to distorted noise-oriented avant- garde - but at least the song descriptions do a good job of letting listeners know what to expect.





Reference Sites



Suomijazz magazine online

This Finnish jazz magazine offers a good overview in English at its Web site about the country's jazz scene, resources and recently released albums of note. Other and potentially more interesting material, such as most of the album reviews, are generally in Finnish, but browsers wanting some idea of, say, an album's quality can always skip to the star ratings at the end of the article.



Finnish Music Information Centre

No full-length freebies here, but one can hear short samples of an enormous range of Finnish jazz and other albums here, plus get information and links to a number of the country's music sources.



FinnLinks

There are dozens of links here to music sites, plenty of which offer downloads. It's also a rich and easy to navigate resource for Finnish sites in every conceivable category from history to pets.



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