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Album Review

Kadi Vija Key Project: Roaming in the Contemporary Society to Make Peace With It


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Kadi Vija Key Project: Roaming in the Contemporary Society to Make Peace With It
Kadi Vija's voice often feels like some exotic Asian string instrument, particularly the kind with a resonant droning tone that flows and bends in the hands of an expert player. She uses her natural instrument in much the same way, almost always eschewing actual words for a nuanced vocalese that is every bit as expressive. The things she feels like conveying don't necessarily need to be spelled out in lyrics (or indeed at all). Her swoops and glides can paint a variety of pictures as abstract and evocative as the songs they're paired with.

If that abstraction leans towards the weird side here, nobody can say it is any less weird than the contemporary society of the title. Vija's way of making peace with it seems to be to adapt its confusingness to her own milieu, where quaint retro-jazz is no less likely than sound-sculpting impressionism. She is fortunate in her choice of colleagues; from Max Zenger's haunting bass clarinet lines to Tuomo Dahlblom's mostly-light guitar atmospheres, everyone involved stays well in step with her skewed song structures while adding a couple of subtle or noisy spotlights of their own.

Perversely enough, it almost sounds unusual when Vija starts singing some actual words, though those couple of spots still ebb and flow well within Roaming's offbeat wheelhouse. The melodies and chordings still refuse to sound too comprehensible even when the lyrics might. As evocative as those moments are, the songstress sounds most at home in spots like "Water Dripping Dance," where her bebop scatting bounces in unison with Zenger's rich clarinet before things drift into squealy avant-garde guitar a couple minutes later. Roaming is indeed the key theme here, whether through seemingly unrelated genres or odd tonalities, and yet there's a mysterious feel that it doesn't necessarily take an avant-garde fan to appreciate. Through it all, her improbably smooth-sounding vocal acrobatics still bewitch the senses even while challenging the ears.

Track Listing

Standing Still; Blind; Water Dripping Dance; Circles and Falls; Roaming in the Contemporary Society; Between the Lines; Chord Travel.


Kadi Vija: voice / vocals; Max Zenger: clarinet, bass; Tuomo Dahlblom: guitar; Tuomas Timonen: drums.

Album information

Title: Roaming in the Contemporary Society to Make Peace With It | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Flame Jazz Records

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