(But this, on the other hand, this
is Punk Rock)
Many, many moons ago - too many to even consider - Sami from Lahna Records
in Finland kindly sent me a copy of "Trubaduurimusiikkia
" (which I think prob. translates as "Troubadour Music" - some journalist I am!)...laziness plus far too many events to mention all conspired to stop me from writing about this (and a pile of other things - jeez, Shirt, where's that epic piece on Kompleksi
you've been promising most of this year)...meanwhile, my estemed colleague over at Outer Space Gamelan
only went and reviewed this CD about a decade ago while I was busy talking about nothing in particular really. I mean, it's not as if it's really long or anything
- there's only five tracks on this and a couple of them only clock in at around a couple minutes - the problem for me was finding some kind of handle on this EP...'cause, tho' it's superficially easy to describe the music, it's far harder (language differences notwithstanding) to place some sort of provenance on the proceedings...to place them in some recognisable context.
Okay: five shortish tracks for (intimately close-mic'd) accoustic gtr and voice. Vaguely folkish, I guess, yet they don't quite exactly fit in any obvious (to me) pure folk idiom...there's a Flamenco-ish feel to the picking on a couple traks, tho it's tooo slow for most Trad. Flamenco and not baroquely florrid enough...it feels (to my Unworldly Music ears) like it should've come from South-Eastern Europe rather than Scandinavia maybe...the vocals tho are, well, demented,
for lack of a better word...a near-insane tirade against everyone and everything
- you can almost hear the spittle hitting the microphone or the sound of beetroot red veins popping in his neck, but not being able to speak Finnish/Finno-Ugric (someone please hip me to the correct term) I have absolutely no idea as to the origin of these remarkable vocal flip-outs...so the result comes off like a particularly hypercaffeinated reading of Schwitter's Ur-Sonata set to a faintly Spanish-sounding gtr backdrop...
This is real face-contorted stuff (like Slaine during a paricularly powerful Glen Fabry-drawn Earth Warp-out), teeth ground dn to tiny little nubs, ulcers burning holes in duodenums w/ Aliens
style super stomach-acid, etc that should appeal to fans of, I dunno, Blurt/Ted Milton, Furious Pig and, er...
It's not easy listening, by any stretch of the imagination...but after a while it really gets under yr skin. An EP is just about right; an album would be a rant too far; and I can say, hand totally on heart, that this is a real grower...it's taken some persistence on my part, but I've really warmed to this. I'd love to see the guy play live. There's a warmth to his gtr-playing that works as a perfek' counterpoint to the teeth-gnashing spittle-storm vocals...still, this all reminds me of something, but I'm not sure what...it seems like its part of some lost European tradition, but I'm at a loss to say what...I can only imagine that the references to troubadour music must be ironic - my understanding of pure troubadour forms is that it was a witty expression of courtly love inna old school singer-songwriter stylee, like, um, Carly Simon in sackcloth leggings...but this taps into something more grotesquely European: I'm thinking of Brecht and Kurt Weill covered in love-bites after a 3-day absinthe binge; drunken French Trade-Unionists brawling in a cafe in 1921 over some local misinterpretation of Marxist doctrine; a dissolute Portuguese symbolist poet carving the name of his dead girlfriend into his arm with a compass...you know, back when people had opinions
and they argued and fought and protested about stuff they thought was important...yeah, that's what this reminds me of: blind, dark passion - stuff that means everything to you in the heat of the moment and gets tattoo'd on yr forehead the nxt morning by the eye-stinging inner-ache of a hangover. Apart from maybe The Beats, Americans don't do this kinda stuff very well, because they've not had hundreds of years of war and smoking heavily...and us Brits are crap at it too - we're too reserved; too hung up on Class-related stuff still - the nearest we come/came is the Byronic Impulse...Pete Doherty, eat yer heart out, sonny; you'll never touch on anything as volatile or volcanic as this: it's a snarl as a roll-up ciggie is spat out; it's a flash of the white of someone's eye in the crackling amber light of a tavern hearth; it's the stink of vinegar and blocked toilets and lost causes and broken, broken hearts.
The third track is really, really beautiful tho...Rainer reins his voice in til it softly tracks the Moorish inflections in his gtr, but there's an edge, an odd-shaped solidness
at the heart of his words, as if he's either wooing the object of his desires or lamenting its loss (I can't tell which), then his voice opens out and all Hell gallops out from his larynx. At the end, there's a pause and something that sounds like a sigh or even a muffled sob. Wonderful stuff.
The record-label blurb says: "Petri Rainer - a man and a guitar. Five songs with insanely impressive recipe. Apocalyptic folk-music, classical guitaring and maniacal pathos, troubadour music with a pinch of black metal. Troubadour music you haven't heard before."
Sami says Petri doesn't speak much English, has no website and never answers his emails LOL! so he helpfully provided some info for me:
"Petri is currently living in Kuopio, Finland. I'm not too sure about his musical background but....he has been doing this solo thing (gtr plus vox) for a long time. Previously, he had recordings with this man & guitar thing plus some (self played) mouth organ and percussion as addition to the songs. He does rarely live gigs. And yes, by himself, just a man and a guitar. The 'singing' he does has always been the same, the songs are always same kind of pathos. Petri is in his forties."
I asked about the 'troubadour' tag and Sami said:
"I guess 'troubadour music' is just a word that came into his mind. His previous (self-released CD-R) EP was called "A Confirmation Ceremony
". His lyrics are kind of twisted society criticism and political, and, yes, there's lots of angst, and lots of cleverly put "fuck off's" to this and to that. Some of the songs are kind of diaries of a madman :-)
Some song titles would translate as: "Because we all sink with a gurgling noise
...", "What Else the Shamen were than the Lunatics of their Era
" and "The Idea of the Rebellion is in the Rebellion - not in the Truth
"Trubaduurimusiikkia" is available from the Lahna Records site.