Friday, January 10, 2014


Label: Ektro Records – EKTRO-039
Format: CD, Album; Country: Finland - Released: 2006
Style: Free Improvisation
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 recorded live at Telakka, Tampere 6.3.2005.
Tracks 2, 5 and 6 recorded at Kurvi Studio, 2005.
Mastered By [Mastermixing] – Max Latva
Mastermixing at Vapaa Palestiina Studio, spring 2006
Photography – A. O. Väisänen, E. Leskinen, H. Iffland, I.K. Inha, Pekka Kyytinen, Toivo Talvi
Producer – Jorma Tapio
Recorded By – Eero Savela

"All music is improvised."

1 Seita . . 4:06
2 Nocturnal Wind From The Lake . . 4:12
3 Alone In Public . . 3:09
4 Salainen Tuli / Secret Fire . . 21:33
5 Huh-Huh . . 1:17
6 Turja . . 5:42
7 Mana . . 11:35

JORMA TAPIO - Flute [Flutes], Bells [Bell], Voice, Kantele, Percussion
TERJE ISUNGSET - Drums, Jew's Harp, Voice, Percussion

Some particularly impressive shamanistic improv from the Norwegian/Finnish duo of Terje Isungset and Jorma Tapio. The boundless multi-instrumentalism of the two performers is something to behold, with Isungset’s percussion extending far beyond the realms of conventional drumming (apparently he fashions his own instruments from natural elements like arctic birch, granite, slate and ice), and similarly, Tapio’s woodwind playing seems to transcend the conventional language of the that family of instruments, especially on the appropriately titled ‘ Nocturnal Wind From The Lake ’ , which mimics the natural sounds suggested by the title. The closest Aihki comes to conventional jazz improvisation is on the extended jam, ‘ Salainen Tuli/Secret Fire ’ , which as the album’s centrepiece sees the duo running through their expansive repertoire. Beginning as a caterwauling free music workout, the piece eventually dissolves into the more esoteric, spiritual sounds that characterise this set of recordings, and make them so unique.

While the name Jorma Tapio may not be familiar to you, the name Terje Isungset sure as heck should. He's the man responsible for the Igloo record, a past record of the week, recorded entirely on instruments made from ice. We've been selling that like CRAZY, when all of a sudden we got an email from Jussi (Circle, Pharaoh Overlord, etc.) letting us know that his label Ektro was releasing a brand new record by Isungset, teamed up with some guy names Tapio. We were of course intrigued, but had no idea what to expect. And had we actually expected something, we probably never would have guessed how weird and wonderful this record would be. No ice instruments sad to say, but armed with flutes, bells, voices, kantele, percussion, Jew's harp and lots and lots of drums, these two whip up a super wild and wooly, ultra dense blast of what we can only describe as tribal forest folk free jazz. Or something like that.
Free jazz is probably the closest comparison, the first few tracks are dense psychedelic percussive freak outs, lots of splattery spastic free jazz drumming all over the place, deep bowed bass, steel string zings, and super creepy strangled and howled vocalizations.
Everything sounds very primal and tribal, thick swaths of rhythmic throb underpinned by shimmering washes of cymbal sizzle and warbly mumbled melodies. Isungset proves to be a pretty bad ass drummer, whipping up some seriously wild squalls of spastic skitter, and octopoidal crash and bang. The vocals grunt and chant, sort of yodel, and hoot and holler, very festive and just a little nuts sounding. When the drums recede a bit, the band sort of wonders through some ancient forest, fluttering flutes, simple subtle percussion, distant drones. A bit reminiscent of Avarus or Anaksimandros for sure. The 20+ minute centerpiece, the track "Selainin Tuli / Sacred Fire" lets the duo spread way out, and lay out an expansive tribal soundscape, like the earlier 'free jazz' tracks but stripped way down. Hints of No Neck Blues Band and Sunburned Hand definitely surface now and then, the track eventually building to a howling shrieking psych drone freakout before settling back to almost complete silence. then a gentle lilting smudge of soft flutes and abstract clatter. That smeared clatter sort of drifts into the next two songs, disembodied scrapes and creaks, random bits of percussion, thick washes of low end thrum, quite dark an lovely.
The final track is a flittering flutescape, a spare landscape of woodwinds and distant shimmer, which is soon joined by a buzzing Jew's harp, and the harp and flutes get all tangled up into a strangely propulsive groove, some sort of skeletal prog laced with primal psych rock primitivism and festive Renn Faire revelry, like stumbling into some clearing in the woods and finding some strange open air market, with a very strange duo performing before a crowd of rapt onlookers. Weird, but pretty darn cool as well. Finnish music obsessives need this no matter what. Lovers of that modern free folk new weird America thing might just find that this pushes all their buttons, and REALLY REALLY open minded jazz heads might also want to give this a try. Highly recommended!

_ Aquarius Records

Links in Comments!


  1. JORMA TAPIO and TERJE ISUNGSET – Aihki (2006)



  2. For those who want a little more to know:

    Duo’s music is thoroughly improvised and its spirit rises from the untameable virgin wilderness of the North. The performance works like an authentic soul trip to the heart of nature.
    Isungset’s unusual and primitive drumset consists of natural materials, like wood and stones. He also plays jaw harp and uses his voice as an instrument. Tapio’s repertoire goes from a variety of fl utes and clarinets to kantele and all sorts of little instruments…
    After many years of collaboration, they eventually publish a common album. When listening to this “Aihki” (Ektro-records -released September
    2006) you feel that there are no boundaries to their music shamanism, and their deep humanity.

    TERJE ISUNGSET (b. 1964) is one of Europe’s most accomplished and innovative percussionists. With over two decades of experience in jazz and ethnic scandinavian music, he is taking these types of music far beyond their traditional boundaries. He has crafted his own instruments from Norwegian natural elements, arctic birch, granite, slate, sheep
    bells, and even ice. (See:

    “Yes, Terje Isungset is a drummer; in fact he is one of Norway’s most creative percussionists, but this solo set presents him more like a cross between a sound artist and a shaman.” François Couture

    JORMA TAPIO tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, bass flute, etc.
    Jorma Tapio (b.1957) is one of the most emotionally powerful, inventive and original woodwind players in Finland. He is really going his own way to fully express himself and expand his personality through music

    Jorma Tapio said:

    "I am professional woodwind-musician from Finland - modern jazz & improvised music - but hopefully - Music:)
    Altosax, tenorsax, flutes and bassclarinet are my instruments. Said to have a powerful, emotional sound and spirit.
    I starrted with western classical music violin/piano, then saxophone and jazz. My greatest teacher was composer/drummer Edward Vesala. I played in his Sound&Fury band 1985-99. We 4 CDc fro ECM and tours around the world. I have had bands like Tapio-Hongisto quartet w/trombonist Jari Hongisto, Open Mind tior w/Pepa Päivinen - sax,fl& Heikki Wikla-fagott, I played with Raoul Björkenheim,s Krakatau and had lot of my own projects and bands.I have played internationally with: Terje Isungset, Daunik Lazro, Bobby Bradford, James Newton, Joseph Jarman, Conny Bauer, Philippe Depecher, Jean Bolgato, Shoji Hano, Kenji Haino, Arve Henriksen, Per Jorgensen etc.
    I have improvised a lot with dancers f.ex. Kirsi Heimonen in hospitals, for old people, children, aids-patients, mentally retarded . My special interest has been buto-dancers like Masaki Iwana, Omori and Fujieda Mushimaru.
    I have also made music for theatres and radioplays.
    Now I have bands: JORMA TAPIO & KASKI (w/ Sampo Lassila-bass and Simo Laihonen-dr), duo TAPIO_TUOMI (w/ Janne Tuomi-dr,perc.), SARASTUS - devotional music ensemble w/Kristiina Olanto- voc and Harri Taittonen - piano and of course SOUND&FURY."


    Edward Vesala Sound&Fury: - LUMI (ECM 1986),
    - Afrikan Tähdet (LEO:music for children 1989)
    - The Death of Jazz (ECM 1990)
    - Invisible Storm (ECM 1992)
    - Nordic Gallery (ECM 1994)
    Krakatau : Ritual (KR 1988)

    Terje Isungset: Floating REhythms (Via Music - 2000)
    Samuli Mikkonen : 7 Henkeä (SM 2003)
    Rolling Thunder : Live in Japan (Aketa disk.2003)
    Jorma Tapio & Terje Isungset: Aihki (Ektro 2006)
    Frio: Sampo Lassila, Heikki Nikula & Jorma Tapio:
    Sketches of Art in Artist (2008)

  3. Hey Vitko . . . I have "Iceman is" byTerje and ALL the Vesala and more that is referred to by Jorma. From what I have read Edward was a real taskmaster and perfectionist but the results were amazing. Thanks for this listen . . . I wish that Manfred Eicher would get weird again and record something like this organic brew. Back in the day the album "Dis" I think it was called had Garbarek playing with a windharp recorded by Kongshaug on the North Sea.

    1. "Iceman Is" is one very interesting albun and especially dear to me. There is also a wonderful vocal Lena Willemark.
      Is it finally ended the ice age? :)

  4. thank you, wspecially enjoyed the piece with the jewish arp