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

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cul de Sac - Ecim – This four-piece from Massachusetts offers a free-wheeling neo-psychedelic sound that finds itself at home somewhere between current bands bands like Porcupine Tree, and the experimental music of...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues