Following on from 2016's Amorandom, Finnish pianist Aki Rissanen has produced yet another satisfying album. Born in 1980 he has already released nine albums as leader or co-leader. Rissanen studied classical piano at Finland's Kuopio Conservatory from 1990-2000 and then jazz music at Helsinki Polytechnic School and in 2009 gained a Master's degree in jazz piano and composition from the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department, also in Helsinki. He also studied improvised music at Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris.
From the outset Another North contrasts notably with its slightly more pastoral predecessor. There's certainly more crackling electrical energy witnessed here. "Blind Desert," as a prime example, evinces shades of Terry Riley and Philip Glass with Rissanen's deployment of streams of obligato piano notes coupled with an oscillating stereo mix. There's a similar device deployed on "John's Sons" but this time with echoey, subtle drums.
A masterly, languid interpretation of György Ligeti's "Étude 5: Arc-En-Ciel Reimagined" is followed by some frenetic action as heard on the aptly named "Nature Of The Beast," again echoing the album's vibrant opener. "Before The Aftermath," which revolves around a stately repeated chord progression, moves a little into early-ish Keith Jarrett country and the set concludes with the lively "Hubble Bubble." The music presented here covers a broad spectrum of moods ranging from cerebral reflection to visceral excitement, but all of it is universally engaging.
Track Listing: Blind Desert; John’s Sons; New Life And Other Beginnings; Étude 5: Arc-En-Ciel
Reimagined; Nature Of The Beast; Before The Aftermath; Hubble Bubble.
Personnel: Aki Rissanen: piano; Antti Lötjönen: bass; Teppo Mäkynen: drums.