Otherworld Ensemble – “Northern Fire” (Edgetone Records, 2018)

“Northern Fire” is a new release of “Edgetone Records”. Album was recorded by “Otherworld Ensemble”. The ensemble is based on great and productive collaboration of Scandinavian jazz masters. Fascinating sound was created by Heikki Koskinen (tenor recorder, e-trumpet, flutes, kantele), Teppo Hauta-aho (double bass, percussion, pigs), Rent Romus (alto saxophone, flutes, bells, mandolin banjo), Mikko Innanen (alto and sopranino saxophones, flutes, percussion, pigs) and Veli Kujala (quartertone accordion). “Otherworld Ensemble” has its own sound, which is unique and astonishing. The compositions are based on innovative ideas, fresh and evocative ideas, provocative musical decisions, experimental playing techniques and eclectic combos. All music is based on avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. It also has relation with dozens of other music styles – ethnic Finland, Norwegian and other Scandinavian countries music, minimalism and post minimalism, experimental music and academic avant-garde. The musicians are great improvisers – they are famous figures in international avant-garde jazz scene for many decades. Unique sound, extravagant point of view, bright and rising culminations, extraordinary combos, rich musical language and dozens of expressions, coloristic effects, special effects, electronics and home-made instruments make their music passionate and innovative.

“Northern Fire” is filled with sound experiments, weird timbres, expressive melodies and fascinating musical decisions. The music is bright, dynamic and vivid. It’s changing all the time – the musicians express huge range of colors, tunes and sounds, who are changed silmunateously. Freedom to improvise without conventional rules, traditions or strict forms brings the exceptional opportunity for each musician to create extraordinary and innovative sound. Enchanting solos, ambient and rough tunes, vital and expressive melodies, cosmic and meditative pieces, relaxing modes or active, driving and blowing riffs – it’s just a small part of the album. The album has solid and bright melodic section, who is gently mixed together with dynamic and constantly changing rhythmic. Reeds and e-trumpet’s melodies by Heikki Koskinen has an astonishing and moving sound. The main theme is dynamic and tremendous – sometimes it’s rapid and active, sometimes – abstract, meditative and soft. Light and gorgeous sounds of flutes, weird timbres, exotic and eclectic combos of kantele and recorder, bright, moving and expressive solos of e-trumpet – these contrasting and bright compounds are fused in one musical pattern. Improviser masterfully combines together traditional Scandinavian music, ethnic music of Finland and other Scandinavian countries with free improvisation, experimental jazz and the newest tendencies of it. It makes expressive and gorgeous sound and creates a dynamic mood of all compositions. These improvisations gently fit together with alto saxophone, bells, mandolin banjo and  flutes by Rent Romus. Improviser likes to make eclectic, weird, crazy or tremendous stylistic or instrumental combos. His musical language is bright and free, always based on synthesis between free jazz and authentic Scandinavian music, European and American avant-garde jazz or soft intonations of other jazz styles. Moving, rapid, aggressive and turbulent saxophone meets the funny, soft and gentle mandolin banjo with all its wide spectre of timbres. Dozens of colors are created by using special effects, extended playing techniques and original ways of improvising. The compositions are beautifully illustrated by bells. Flutes also are heard here very frequently – it makes meditative, relaxing and light mood. Alto and sopranino saxophones, flutes, percussion and pigs makes funny, hilarious or even crazy equation in improvisations by Mikko Innanen. Improviser really knows the best way, how to combine together different instrument and contrasting compounds. Enchanting saxophones, abstract and soft excerpts with fascinating special effects and weird timbres grow directly to luminous, turbulent and trembling culminations with sparkling passages and roaring blow outs. Gorgeous percussion timbres contain a rich and effective background. Humorous and funny mood is brought here by the pigs – realistic sounds of pigs become a bright accent of funny, crazy, weird or simply hilarious mood. The imitations of pigs sounds are used by another improviser Teppo Hauta-aho. Jazz master likes to find his own and extraordinary way of improvising – he likes to find new and exotic combos or ways of playing. Here Teppo Hauta-aho makes a weird and interesting instrumental combo – he joins together double bass and pigs. Soft, subtle and relaxing melodies, repetitive deep tunes, solemn and serious episodes are changed by tremendous and dramatic culminations, bright solos, shrieky tunes and moving, sparkling and dizzy passages. Wide range of trembling, vibrant, gorgeous and colorful percussion also is used here. Veli Kujala brings something fresh and new to these compositions with accordion and quatertone. These two instruments is rare and exotic combo – it relates the music to ethnic music of Finland, intonations of traditional music Scandinavian countries and free jazz. Live, energetic and active accordion is full of expressive melodies, remarkable solos, fascinating sound experiments and strange timbres. Flowing melodies are filled with sparkles, colorful twinkles, blow outs, special effects and extended playing techniques. Quatertune creates a mild relation with Asian music and its ethnic intonations. This album has innovative and bright sound. It’s based on rare and exotic combo of ethnic Scandinavian and Asian countries music, evocative free jazz, turbulent collective improvisation and inventive experimental jazz.


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