Katu Kaiku may not be your typical Midlands Rocks fare but, hey, we’re about the music here, and if it’s good, it’s in. Maybe it won’t be your kind of thing, but then maybe it will. Anyhow, what harm can a review do?
So, on to the skinny. Katu Kaiku are a Finnish jazz power trio. All members of the burgeoning Finnish avant-jazz scene, they started as acoustic free jazz street performers and are now set to release ‘Luna’ – their second album and their first for Svart Records. And quite a progression it is.
Proceedings commence with a gentle drum pattern, a vaguely guitar-sounding bass riff and sweeping, dreamlike saxophone. It’s soporific, but in a good way. It whispers in your ear, strokes your hair, feeds you grapes. It briefly floats away to leave just the bass, before drums and sax re-emerge. It’s resolutely not rock in any way, shape or form but it is very lovely. Lush and chilled, it’s the very definition of late night music, best shared with a comfy chair and a cold glass of whatever takes your fancy.
And that’s pretty much what you get. The songs waft into each other continuing an album wide vibe. A strange, calming crackle surrounds the saxophone, like listening to a beloved old LP, adding to the feeling of familiar warmth. Riffs emerge from the ether and disappear again, snaking around the luscious melodies.
Occasionally the pace picks up…slightly. There is marvellous pacing and control of mood throughout while the saxophone adds a gentle air of tension and anticipation. Like Coltrane on Night Nurse. It’s almost too relaxing. You may feel the need to run around the room, blast out some Motorhead, eat blue Smarties or give yourself a mild electric shock. The songs caress your ears – floating, drifting, spiralling, lulling you.
Their free jazz past is hinted at occasionally – but only subtly. Songs mostly just groove along in their own space, creating their own calming slipstream. There are occasional detours – ‘1000 Sails’ has wordless vocals, barely a notch above humming, while ‘A Month Of Sundays’ has full on vocals. It’s breathy sax and ethereal lyrics combining to create a moody, abstract Film Noir theme.
So, a fine chillout album, a break from the grind and chaos of being a full-time rock dude. It brings to mind the sadly now defunct Esbjorn Svensson Trio or the music of German jazz label ECM, who describe their releases as being “the most beautiful sound next to silence”. I can think of no better description of ‘Luna’.
Review by Gary Cordwell
Released on 29 March 2019 on Svart Records
- Quote You
- 1000 Sails
- The Colours Of Our Mind
- Spirit Lake
- Into The Purple
- A Month Of Sundays