“For A While” AND “The Free Players”

It may be the understatement of the year, but Keijo sure is an odd duck. Keijo, easily the granddaddy figure of the Finnish free-folk scene, ups the weird ante for musicians to follow.with his latest release “For A While” on Last Visible Dog Records.

forawhile.jpgWith more than a few tracks consisting almost solely of clanging metallic noises, loops, and seriously lo-fi guitar strumming; this is either Keijo’s “Metal Machine Music” album, or a serious attempt to shake the yes-man psych audience where every farted CDR is suddenly cosmic.

Probably the strangest thing about this album is how much it grows on you. Admittedly, I started out with a pretty low opinion of it. The third track, “Once More Last Time” is just about as aimless and amateur a song as you could ever want. But then Keijo drops in a cut like “Wet But Light,” an extraordinarily well-crafted electroacoustic piece with the sounds of spinning marbles, melodic guitar lines, and ultra-organic washes of white noise. Even the mastering, which can make or break a noise track, is well up to speed.

“For A While” has a sketch-book quality to it, with fairly dissimilar tracks played next to one another; and some rather sudden breaks. However, listening to new music wouldn’t be too much fun if everyone followed the same rules. So, where For A While” certainly isn’t the total tour, it is a great way to “visit” a unique mind.

freeplayers.jpgThose wishing for a little less “weird” with their Keijo, allow Last Visible Dog Records to offer a current special; “The Free Players.” These five Finnish gentlemen will serenade you with psychedelic sounds grown from the finest instruments in near-earth orbit. Perfect music for late nights surveying the damage wrought on your pad– not too smart inviting those bikers in, was it? If you time it right, you’ll be able to wake the neighbors through the ironic fracas of “All Peaceful,” but still frighten them away from complaining to the landlord with the uneasy sense of growing paranoia on “Rise With the Stars.”

While definately much more accessible than “For A While,” I had a lot less fun listening to “The Free Players.” My subjective pleasure aside, both albums feature fine recording throughout. Neither have anything that could be called liner notes, just a mention of who was present (and for one person, what they played, go fig). With similarly-designed cover art, these two albums may have further themes playing out between them that I have yet to notice– but my suspicion is that only a few people will be completely happy with both.

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