From the grass-green blurry image of a Finnish farmhouse to the final quiet tones of the music within, this release from Finland?s Lauhkeat Lampaat cloaks everything with a softly beguiling sense of mystery. It?s a completely successful move, and also refreshingly pure in its conceptualization. Beginning as a series of gestures, hums, clicks, and whirrs, the first track clocks in at a monster 24 minutes long. It?d be easy for this music to blend right in with the background chatter of daily life, and in fact, that may be the very point. The concrete element is ever present with Antti Tolvi?s field recordings adding an essential element. In less able hands, it?d also be easy to lose attention quickly, given the sparse nature of this particular soundworld. Soon enough however, close listening reveals an attention to detail and rigorous quality control to the sonic proceedings. A recurring bass tone adds a narrative thread to the first ten minutes, and suddenly before we realize it, the activity has shifted and a forest of more recognizable sounds have joined in the fray. Electronics sounding like chirping birds, struck tones from a bell, and the clicking of a clock bring us back to earthly regions. The second track is even better, offering a focused 5 minutes that is tough not to view as a postscript to the splendor of the opener. It?s certainly easy enough to hit repeat and start all over again, but the only complaint here is the desire for more. It would have been nice to see what lay beyond the realm of that second track, a teaser for new vistas perhaps.
This is certainly challenging music in that it requires serious listening and attention, but it?s not by any means difficult. Instead, even the most modest of efforts expended will be rewarded with quick entry into the dreamlike world these two have crafted for us.
There?s a level of depth and clarity to all of the sounds produced here that gives the listener the feel of almost being there. Everything is clear and lovingly recorded, while at the same time you can feel the space of the room. Creaking floors and winds blown through an open window wouldn?t be the slightest bit out of place here. In fact, it?s the very sense of physical space and location that gives ?taikaa takataskussa? its greatest charm. It?s never clinical and always engaging. There?s nothing here that screams out Finland, save for the mysterious and entirely organic nature of the whole affair. Jaako Tolvi is credited with objects and ukulele, but you?ll be hard pressed to identify much of the latter, at least in any traditional sort of way. Adding geography and nationality into the equation would only would only detract attention from the simple fact that this is a lovely, if somewhat hermetic, work of aural beauty. That?s all we need to know. 9/10 -- Eric Hardiman (29 January, 2008)