Exposé Online banner

UTU — Pieces of the Unknown
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-01-20

Pieces of the Unknown Cover art

And while we’re on the subject of inventive combinations of acoustic and electric instruments (see Jack o’ the Clock), we have this amazing band from Finland. Lead vocalist Petra Poutanen plays kantele, which is much like the hammer dulcimer Damon Waitkus uses in Jack, as well as guzheng, which adds another dimension to the music. Poutanen is backed by a band consisting of Katri Antikainen (cello), Iida Savolainen (viola), Margit Urantowka (keyboards), Aku-Pekka Kurjenniemi (drums, percussion), Tony Sikström (double bass), and Teemu Kiiskilä (guitar). Poutanen has a distinctive voice with a jazzy vibrato that works beautifully in this context, and is often supplemented by lovely arrangements of overdubbed parts. The songs touch upon elements of folk music, atmospheric pop, avant-rock, and more, with unpredictable changes and unusual combinations of sounds. The title track starts with a meditative guzheng in a non-standard tuning, and when the vocal comes in, it’s also backed by harmonics on the viola (I think that’s where the high notes are coming from). It’s not till more than halfway through that the rest of the band comes in, with a brief section of crashing rhythm including the drums. “Safest Place” starts with a lovely string trio, the bowed bass, cello, and viola weaving around each other until the piano and voice come in. Other tracks are similarly varied and unconventional, weaving a fabric of great subtlety and originality. The result is completely its own thing, though similar in impact to a certain American band that’s been getting a lot of buzz lately: Pieces of the Unknown is highly recommended to the many who have discovered Bent Knee. Truly an outstanding accomplishment.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): UTU

Latest news

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Finch - Glory of the Inner Force – Dutch band Finch's debut album has been long overdue for CD reissue. Acclaimed as a classic by some, and as overrated by others, either way you look at it its still a must listen. Finch were an...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues