Finnish auteur Jaakko Eino Kalevi collaborates with Taiwanese singer Yu-Ching Huang on a new mini-album titled Dissolution. Over its seven songs, Kalevi explores new musical avenues in a concept that’s broadly about self-care and living well, while still sticking with his psychedelic pop roots.
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Jaakko Eino Kalevi has proven to be a pleasingly slippery character over the course of his career. For the past few years, in which he’s partnered with Domino’s esoteric sub-label Weird World, the Finnish artist has nailed down an enigmatic brand of synth-pop pitched somewhere between Arthur Russell’s dancefloor exercises, early Ariel Pink and the aloof shapeshifting of Alex Cameron.
Kalevi’s new mini-album ‘Dissolution’ tightens the screws while still maintaining his air of mystique. The major change is in the rhythm section, where live drums are often swapped out for processed beats. This gives the record more impetus, ushering out the slightly Yacht Rock-inspired sound of 2018’s ‘Out Of Touch’ LP in favour of some highly danceable grooves. ‘The Source Of The Absolute Knowledge’, for instance, sees the woozy Balearia of ‘Out Of Touch’ now bolstered by driving 808s in a manner that recalls Prins Thomas. Even the cuts that do still feature a kit have more bite to them - there’s a bit of Confidence Man to ‘Dissolution’s title-track - and ‘The Search’s zapping bassline harks to Drexciya as the rest of the tune supplies more hypnagogic pop goodness.
At his heart Kalevi is still concerned with creation of atmosphere - the honking ‘Out Of Touch’ and kosmische-inspired ‘Conceptual Mediterranean (Part 2)’ which bookend the record are pure mood pieces. It’s Kalevi’s growing ability to marry archness with the immediacy of rhythm that will have you rooting for him on this - and subsequent - albums.
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