STR’s quest for fantastic Finnish bands continues, and this time we’re paying a visit to the Helsinki based band Shogun Kunitoki.
Shogun Kunitoki (can’t tell you what it stands for, as unfortunately don’t speak the language) had released their first album Tasankokaiku in 2006, and was critically acclaimed by many good critics at Pitchfork, Stylus, Exclaim, Dusted and others.
Between the years of 2005-2008, they wrote the songs to their next album, released in 2009 with one of my favorite labels – Fonal.
The new album, Vinonaamakasio is a fantastic result of that writing period.
SK’s music can be described as a pioneering retro. To begin with, the overall sound, though much polished then the old scratchy 60’s-70’s vinyls, is brilliantly psychedelic and mysterious.
The music is keyboard dominated, but this is not to point out the band is less rockish then any other psychedelic/prog band with killer guitarists.
The analog and vintage synths present here, cracks the ear with sophisticated turns and curves, merges horrific nightmares’ soundtracks, delicate adolescence hours with The Doors‘ Morrison Hotel (and of course, a burning candle) and a mind boggling trance mode throughout the songs – yes, this is an experience.
In differ to other instrumental experimental bands, that holds the drone sounds, metal elements, pagan folky witches, and ambient/airports modes, this is something else.
You may think you’ve heard it before, but if I search my brain cells for some similarities, I can think of Can or Faust with the urgency and passion, Ray Manzarek as a father figure and perhaps just slight of Hawkwind/Tangerine Dream with the spacey elements.
But other then that, it’s a brand new statement. Yes, a pioneering retro.
The songs takes you through a rough journey, not taking any stops in the way, and not making it easy for you. The synths are there, picking on the eardrum, no relief. But after you get used to the band’s sound, you allow yourself to get carry away with the sounds and doomy\gloomy vibe that’s planted under the melodies.
When Lennon said “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream“, he meant it in the most Kunitoki way.
Another good thing to point out about the band, is that they truly understand the marketing aspect of music. Besides this really amazing album, they added a cool feature for vinyl freaks such as myself.
We’ve all bumped into these picture LP’s, with pictures of the Stones, Beatles, Bowie etc.
Never in my life did I see an animated picture album, until I saw the following Youtube clip. Besides the animation itself, in the band’s webstore, you can buy the special flashlight, needed to be used in order to have the full psychedelic experience, and not only that – you can have the DIY kit, and there’s another video of instruction to it.
Here’s and example of this experience:
And if you’re into DIY electronic things, here are the instructions. It’s really easy.
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