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Pelkkä Poutanen — Pyhä Veri Vuotaa
(Eclipse Music ECD-2020105, 2021, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-07-19

Pyhä Veri Vuotaa Cover art

A few years ago, I wrote about an outstanding album by a Finnish group called UTU. Pyhä Veri Vuotaa is a solo album by that band’s lead vocalist, Petra Poutanen, billing herself as Pelkkä Poutanen (“Just Poutanen”). The album is a true solo effort, with Poutanen providing all voices and instruments (which are not listed individually). The music is a swirling melange of overlapping vocal parts, inventive rhythms, atmospheric sounds, and instruments both electronic and acoustic. There is a distinct feeling that folk music underpins these songs, though they are far from anything that would be called traditional. The vocal arrangements sometimes bring to mind Värttinä, though very different backing — no fiddles here. There’s quite a lot of variety in sounds: “Sinne On Velka Viimeinenkin” (“The Last Debt Is There”) stacks layers of chanting over a loping groove assembled from assorted percussive sounds; “Matka” (“Travel”) features overtone singing drones and many other extended techniques blended into four minutes of atmosphere; “Marian Virsi” (“Mary’s Hymn”) features lovely harp-like backing for a delicate vocal melody; “Paimenen Sydän Ja Mao Tse-tungin Ajatukset Ovat Yhtä” (“The Shepherd's Heart and Mao Tse-tung's Thoughts Are One”) begins with a lovely guzheng solo before the voice enters. Fans of Bjork’s later music should find much to like here — Pyhä Veri Vuotaa shows just how creative primarily vocal music can be, and proves that Petra Poutanen is a major talent both in a group and on her own.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Petra (Pelkkä) Poutanen

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