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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Jussi Lehtisalo - The Complete Solo Works [Ektro Records - 2013]

“The Complete Solo Works” brings together two solo albums from the largely prolific & multi project linked Jussi Lehtisalo- who is most known as the bass player/ key mind behind locked riffing/ multi genre finish project Circle, but is also connected with the likes of Pharaoh Overlord, Steel Mammoth, Rättö Ja Lehtisalo, Krypt Axeripper, etc. Lehtisalo also runs the Ektro label, which focuses in on old & new Circle recordings, a selection of creative & mixed genre Finish sonic fare, quirky & odd reissues- that take in everything from: macho 80’s metal, Finnish post-punk , US noise Rock & hardcore punk , Finnish death metal, and beyond.  So as you can imagine this release is very difficult to pin down into any one musical genre.

As already mentioned this CD takes in two out of print releases. Firstly we have “Rotta” from 2010, and this originally appeared in vinyl form as a joint Finish label release between Full Contact Records & Svart Records.  Next we have “Interludes For Prepared Beast”, and this appeared in 2012 in vinyl & cassette form, and once again as a joint release between Full Contact Records & Svart Records. This reissued CD has a very impressive running time of just over 78 minutes.

“Rotta” takes in four tracks, and these last between just under the nine minute mark to just over the fifteen minute mark. First up we have “"Veljeni”, which is built around a mixture slowly bobbing bass lines, mellow blues rock guitar textures, amassed twittering bird field recordings, sudden darts of harmonica 'n' earthy western gitar twang, and drifting ‘n’ mellow finish spoken word. Track two is entitled “Vimeinen Kalja”, and is built around shimmering subtle noise textures, repetitive mellow clean electric guitar riffing, moody bass-line wonderings, & slow juddering slightly dub like electrionca textures. Also later on we get odd spoken word reverb Finish talking/singing, and dog barking field recordings. This track comes off as sort of a strip down Orb, meets shimmering noise making, via mellow guitar & bass ambience. Onto track number three “Aikoja Sitten”, and it's first half is built  around a tense mix of swirling storm reverb effects, slow darting ‘n’ dark 80’s indie rock guitar ‘n’ bass interlockings, chilling synth drift, looped creepy bound & dissolving texturing.  In the track’s second half we drift into a mix swirling sound texturing, chopping & slow swirling synth spacey- ness, that's drifting Finish tongued monk like vocals . Before it drifts back into a bizarre mix of slowly darting orb dub-iness, western cowboy twanging, and looped moody string sawing. The final track on ““Rotta” is entitled “Ei Siin Mitää”, and this starts-off with a rapid ‘n’ churning feed-back buzz, which opens into a mellow yet gloomy mix of chiming/ scuttling guitar work ‘n’ bobbing bass work- this all starts to build momentum  with layers of moody whistling ‘ n’ sweeping choral snthy texturing, & guff Finishing vocals being added to the mix. In the latter half of the track we find slowly wondering almost dubby bass lines, moving against twang bound blues rock guitar reparations, and slow clouds of harmonica honk.

 

“Interludes For Prepared Beast” takes in two tracks, and these both come in at just under or just over the eighteen minute mark. Firstly we have “Caterpillars”, which starts out with a mixture of chirming ‘n’ dart doomed metal guitar repetitions,  locked scuttling insect like percussion, and  a melodic yet gloomy second guitar element. By the second minute this is added to a mix of  guff doomed vocals, and sudden harmonic runs of woozy 1980’s video game synth texturing.  By the 3rd minute we’re into a more twanging  prog meets dark guitar element, with layers of weird sweeping reverb vocals & gasps. By the sixth minute we have a brief break down with just the scuttling now almost typewriter like percussion, before we kick-into a mix of speed-up marching band keyboard/ xylophone element & metal like stomping riffing. Then pretty soon we drift down into a swirling mix of: darting yet slurred jazz drums, washed-out guitar swoops, vibe & icy keyboard hits, Ulver like monk vocal harmonies, and synthetic ‘n’ slightly melted easy listening keyboard pipes. Before the tracks end it darts back into a mix of gunning 80’s metal meets speed-up marching band xylophone/ keyboard element.
The second track is entitled “Here March The Cranes”, and it starts with a rapid ‘n’ seared mix of small chugging & darting guitar harmonics, and waves of crashing drums.  Fairly soon up it moves into a mix of bobbing & playful bass, whooshing & swirling amassed metallic guitar harmonics. By the three & half minute we moved to a mix of down-swung African harmonic tinged bass lines, and darting 'n' swooping guitar struts. Then we move into a mix of moody & rising metallic post-rock, noir detective like speaking in Finish toughed voice - this is darted with slurred yet showy 1980’s synth banks. At the nine & a half minute mark we move into a mix of oriental tinged 1980’s synth string stabs ‘n’ swoons, tinkling & fading percussion, & locked  yet epic chugging  metallic prog rock guitar elements. It sounds like a more locked down,  showy & vocal-less version of Sigh around the time of Hail Horror Hail. Then we end the track on a rising 'n' heroic mix of: stomping metallic/prog riffing  churn  of soaring harmonising, and licks of 1980’s metal guitar virtuoso soloing.


“The Complete Solo Works” brings together two very creative & atmospherically rich releases, and each release defiantly twist 'n' turns through all manner of musical genres, and moods. 

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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