UTU — Pieces of the Unknown
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-01-20
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.
Related artist(s): UTU
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more