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Psychedelic Phinland


Subtitled: Finnish Hippie & Underground Music 1967-1974. Mostly amazing collection of underground Finnish music, presented in definitive fashion by the original Love Records label (there's a schmaltz/theatrical element on Disc 1 just to keep you on your toes). Great booklet of English notes and photos, Love Records does it again! Features Sperm, Baby Grandmothers, Suomen Talvisota, Pekka Airaksinen, J.O. Mallander, and a bunch of others. From the liner notes: "CD1 opens with some topical commentaries on drugs and the hippie lifestyle, as well as with early Finnish psych-rock, followed by more agitatory and provocatory stuff like Suomen Talvisofta who hilariously combined anarchist ideas with psychedelic imagery. After the heyday of he Underground movement, the more mystic legacy of hippiedome was preserved by the esoteric balladry of Pekka Streng, Hector and others. CD2 presents more experimental Underground, avant-garde and laternative music, most of it for the fist time on CD or previously not issued. Love Records and the small Eteenpain! (Forward), Finland's counterpart to ESP Records, were the main labels for the kind of music heard on both CDs." Some notes on the featured artists/tracks: "TOPMOST: One the first Finnish rock bands to add a psychedelic light show to their stage act. They completed their English-language debut album with this improvised collage of song bits, tape manipulation, and a mysterious mantra by British producer Stuart Collins, all inspired by the fade out section of the Beatles' 'All You Need Is Love.' HECTOR & OSCAR: The first Finns to sing about marijuana on a pop record. JUKKA KUOPPAMÄKI: Another ex-folkie attracted by Flower Power. He performed this hippie apology by request in the popular Jatkoaika talk show, clad in appropriate attire. Although Kuoppamäki himself objected to drug use, the song attempts to cool down the public panic over cannabis, reminding us that also coffee and tobacco were once prohibited. JORMA IKÄVALKO: Mocking youth styles was a favorite pastime of the 1960s comic songsters. According to this hippie parody, the longhairs' sins include: noisy guitar music, dance pavilion sex, miniskirts, gender-bending, smoking 'fodder' and the ruin of polka. BLUES SECTION: An experimental rock group with a free jazz flavor, also utilizing electronic music's trick bag. On this single release the melodic pop of Jim Pembroke once again shakes hands with psychedelic oddity. WIGWAM: Like Blues Section, Wigwam also kept in close contact with the small Underground scene in Helsinki. Their debut single, produced by Hasse Walli and Eero Ojanen, toys with an assortment of psychedelic effects. BABY GRANDMOTHERS: A cannabis-seasoned progrock jam, named after an essay by Meister Eckhart. Although the group is Swedish, their Finnish 7" single is the only recording they ever made. The musicians later played with the Mecki Mark Men, Kebnekajse, a.o. EERO KOIVISTOINEN: On the album Valtakunta ('Kingdom'), Blues Section saxophonist Eero Koivistoinen combined modern Finnish poetry with psychedelic sounds, like processed human voices, atonality and guitar effects. Put out by a major Finnish publishing house, the LP was a missing link between political cabaret song, avant-jazz, prog rock and the experimental underground. CHARLIES: The blues rock group Charlies was assigned to play music for the anarchist movie Julisteiden Liimaajat ('Poster Pasters'), often classified as the all-time worst Finnish picture. In addition to more psychedelic rock tracks, the band was asked to deliver this hot-headed Maoist treatise on bourgeois and proletarian art, picked out from the Chinese bossman's Little Red Book. APOLLO: Early heavy metal combined with anarchist bravado. Apollo, musically inspired by Led Zeppelin and Steppenwolf, threatens to overthrow the parliament, rejects money, and criticizes the hypocrite Church. SUOMEN TALVISOTA: The late poet Jarkko Laine (using the pseudonym Lauri Kenttä, Finnish for Clark Kent) sets into motion an avalanche of surreal images: Sirhan Sirhan painting a picture of Kennedy, the Lone Rider arguing about Lenin, Faceless Death longing for fairy boys, a thousand cock-heads escaping from closets... At the recording sessions, some of Suomen Talvisota's musicians were replaced by professionals. SUOMEN TALVISOTA: A central figure in Finnish avant-pop, M. A. Numminen wrote this absurdly fast labor song about doormen who poison their boss, thereafter staging a wild party flowing with booze, eau de cologne, pot and LSD. Suomen Talvisota was convinced that simple 12-bar rock & roll was the best way to get across their message of smashing the Paralyzed Society and replacing it with a never-ending ecstatic ball. They also have a song where anarchists urinate on the emblems of authority, while pot-headed snow guerrillas elect a pig for president: 'Smell, smell, smell the toilet wall... Hash, hash, hash in the head!' TYLYMPI KOHTALO: The short-lived Tylympi Kohtalo, fronted by the Suomen Talvisota's guitarist, the late Pole Ojanen, attempted to combine prog rock with the Underground poetry of Jarkko Laine. PEKKA STRENG: The late Pekka Streng's mystical LP Magneettimiehen Kuolema ('Death of the Magnet Man') began the actual blooming period of Finnish hippie troubadourism. Here, Indian influences are exceptionally strong. JUICE LESKINEN & COITUS INT: One of those who kept the provocatory or taboo-breaking spirit of the Underground alive in the '70s. In this aviation song, erotic imagery and drug/psychedelic references blend subtly. HECTOR: A late flowering of Narnian hippie spirit at the dawn of indigenous Finnish rock. JUKKA KUOPPAMÄKI: This candidate for the Finnish Eurovision trials is an interesting example of New Age esoteria disguised as mainstream pop. Singer and songwriter Jukka Kuoppamäki progressed from UFOs, fairies and yoga in the 1960s to antroposophy in the 1970s. He became one of the most beloved songwriters in Finland. MARKKU INTO: In addition to improvised blues singing, his speciality on stage and in radio were long counter-cultural 'lectures.' THOSE LOVELY HULA HANDS: The TLH, three of them only 14 years old, were an acoustic quintet playing a sort of hippie chamber music on recorders, pipes, violins and guitars. This little summary of E. R. Burroughs' ape tales is followed by a motto piece. TLH's pieces were often based on the repetition of a short, simple theme. PEKKA AIRAKSINEN: The musical director of the notorious Underground group, Sperm, prepared this stage music piece for Mattijuhani Koponen's psycho-drama Sisyfos in 1968. The track is characteristic of Airaksinen's home-baked avant-garde: using two tape recorders, he plays guitar over his own feedback rumble, possibly spicing it up with some guitar effects, spring reverb, etc. THE SPERM: This brilliant epoch-making guitar concerto from The Sperm's only 12" album was once again accomplished by an uninhibited attitude towards entertainment electronics. The source of the threatening, gradually changing chirp is the incorrectly set bias switch of an Akai tape recorder. Later Airaksinen realized the sound was a recollection of a childhood nightmare. SÄHKÖKVARTETTI: An alternate version of the only piece ever performed by the Electric Quartet, Erkki Kurenniemi's unique four-man electronic instrument. This is the end part of a 24-minute live recording from the Elektrotapahtuma ('Electro Happening') at the Old Student House in Helsinki, November 1970. KRUUNUNHAAN DYNAMO: The Dynamo began as a blues rock group, but transformed into an acoustic 'hippie band' inspired by the music of pygmies and the Amazon Indians. A steady tabla beat and wordless humming were central elements in their music, which somewhat resembled the ethnic jazz of the British Third Ear Band. A cassette recording from a rehearsal session is the only audio document of their 'tribal music from the asphalt jungle.' SIKIÖT: Sikiöt ('Fetuses') were an indefinitely sized collection of artists and potheads, many of whom had no musical skills -- at least in the traditional manner. This track, recorded at the Ateneum Art Museum, features a creaking table and an electric harmonium with a board leaning against the keyboard. Second track with ten minutes of genuine trips atmosphere by guitar, violin, flutes and percussions. J.O. MALLANDER: Art critic/artist J. O. Mallander's Decompositions (1970) was a deconstructionist EP consisting of jazz classics 'remixed' by several techniques, such as repeating song phrases as loops, or moving the record player's needle here and there on the vinyl surface in cut-up style, etc. Here the beautiful 'You've Changed' is played backwards, maybe to display some hidden messages."