Ektro Records is thrilled to release Tulemme sokeiksi (”We’re Becoming Blind”), a retrospective CD compiling material by Musiikkivyöry (”music avalanche”). In addition to being a curious chapter in the endless saga of the post-punk era, this DIY document is also one of the finer, more elusive threads of the global cassette-culture scene. Originally issued in 1981, Musiikkivyöry’s two tapes were the work of Mika Taanila, a 15-year-old who would grow up to become an internationally acclaimed filmmaker. This compilation features the key tracks from those micro-edition bedroom recordings.
Musiikkivyöry’s output is typical of the early ’80s’ raw zeitgeist, but with a timeless, teen-anguish twist. Taanila heartily embraces punk’s total do-it-yourself ideal, yet his style is light years away from the conventional guitar groups of the day: Atonal riffs, home electronics, randomly cut-up radio sounds, noise, and primitive industrial weltschmertz blend into a rough, highly personalized whole.
Among all the prevailing efforts to reissue just about anything that moved from the international post-punk home-made cassette and DIY era, it’s a pleasure to find this astonishing curio from Mika Taanila who, in 1980-1981, did his bit for the Finnish underground, recording cassettes under the guise of Musiikkivyöry (literally, ‘music avalanche’). A disaffected and introverted young man, Mika was just 15 when he recorded these raw and primitive pieces of electronic concrete negativity, working alone in his bedroom and turning his back on his parents and the confirmation-school camp where he was born. He issued the results in tiny quantities on the label Valtavat Ihmesilmälasit Records, an enterprise co-managed by the very notable Anton Nikkilä, and it’s perhaps unsurprising that like many others in the Finnish scene, he drew inspiration from such bands as This Heat, Cabaret Voltaire and The Normal. Compiled here with all tape hiss intact, and a full-colour insert with detailed photographs of the original tapes, Tulemme sokeiksi (EKTRO-059) is a great package which also exists as a newly-minted limited edition cassette, and is testament to Jussi Lehtisalo’s attention to detail in such matters. Mika’s music was of course featured on the excellent compilation Pilottilasit, which I also recommend. Another piece in the huge jigsaw of this hitherto-neglected area of music, this record is full of sinister pulsing, unpleasant growling, vari-speeded voices, relentless tape loops, scrapey metallic bursts, and all the unhealthy obsessiveness we should expect from an intelligent, alienated adolescent genius. Great release, highly recommended in every possible way.
- Ed Pinset, The Sound Projector, December 2009