Unless you?re a fast mover and very well informed in general, it?s hard to keep track of the output of the Finnish scene. Some limited edition releases are gone within days or months and fetching a copy afterwards at a reasonable price is next to impossible. Such was the case with Kuupuu?s limited edition CD-Rs and one cassette that she released herself and on various labels over the last three years. Luckily enough for snails like me, Hamburg?s Dekorder label undertook the task of saving Kuupuu?s mysterious soundscapes from being left to only a handful of people. ?Y?kehr?? is the first of two vinyl-only releases compiling tracks, previously only available on long gone albums and EPs.
Kuupuu is the solo guise of Jonna Karanka who is a frequent member of Avarus, The Anaksimandros, Maniacs Dream, Kukkiva Poliisi and Hertta Lussu ?ss?. All of those bands work as collectives, not attributing too much importance to their individual members. In that regard, it?s very interesting to hear Karanka?s solo recordings that sound very intimate and personal, not last because of their home-recording sound. The oldest songs were originally released on a self-titled CD-R from 2003 and come closest to actual ?songs?. The dancing chimes of ?Niittyleikki? and the backwards looped instruments on ?Jisa Kehr??? provide an atmospheric background for Kuupuu?s vocals.
2004 saw three Kuupuu releases, two CD-Rs, one self-released and one on the Foxglove label as well as a cassette on Nidnod. The self-released ?Kev?tlauluja? is represented only by one track on ?Y?kehr??, which is one of the strongest on the LP. The contrast between Karanka?s stringed instruments and wordless vocals and what sounds like airplanes flying by makes for a fascinating listen. ?Sateen Suutelemat? and ?I Can Walk the Dark? are more prominently featured on the LP. ?Mesisade? from the cassette and ?Pihlajapuu? from the Foxglove release open each side of the LP with comparatively violent noise that soon becomes more tame by Jonna Karanka?s hushed vocals. Also the other two tracks taken from ?I Can Walk the Dark? are fairly haunting compared to the rest of the LP, setting an interesting contrast.
Finally, there are three tracks from the 2005 ?Kulta Sulka? CD-R, sold during Kuupuu?s US Tour. ?Aava? is very opaque with the humming of a thousand bees accompanied by chimes and vocal loops while ?J?? Maa? is a soothing lullabye. The third track from the 2005 CD-R is its best. ?Noita, Josta Tuli Avaruusukko? starts with lovely mouth harp and another wind instrument I can?t identify and blends into a guitar based song that ends in dissonance. On ?Noita?, Kuupuu actually gets closest to the more song-based and melodious music her companions in Hertta Lussu ?ss?, Lau Nau and Islaja are making. A ghostly photo of Karanka (supposedly) on the front cover and a mixed media collage on the back cover complete this incredible release that was much needed. 9/10 -- Stephan Bauer (31 July, 2006)