keskiviikko 21. joulukuuta 2011

Virta: "Elon syvä lempi" released 12.12.

Elon syvä lempi

AUER-010 / 400x / 12.12.

  Virta is the channel of the musical ambitions of Santtu Forsström hailing from Kristiinankaupunki - alluring small town located at the beautiful West Coast of Finland. This nature-praising and original music draws its influences from folk and progressive folk-rock, and the music of five tracks of this fourty-minute album is woven together with drums, percussions, lively bass, acoustic guitars and woodwind instruments.

   Skillful instrumentation and the progressive elements and song structures create an atmosphere that is at the same time sophisticated and primitively vigorous. "Elon syvä lempi" is rich in nuances, and full of feeling of longing and ethereal calmness. Combined with the ever-present feeling of the element of unpredictability the album truly bears resemblances to the streams and rivers of the North. The calm waters under thin ice can suddenly form a stream and powerful river might abruptly give away it's power, and rest for a while in a form of pond smooth as glass and evaporate slowly just to reincarnate in a from of a strom cloud to the horizon. "Elon syvä lempi" was released 12.12. (1st press 400 pc.) and contains artwork of Samuli Kontio and Eva-Maria Aitsam.



   Virta on kristiinankaupunkilaisen Santtu Forsströmin kanava musiikillisille hengentuotteilleen, ja 12.12. 2011 julkaistu esikoislevy kantaa nimeä "Elon syvä lempi". Suomeksi laulettu luonnonläheisyyttä huokuva omaleimainen musiikki ammentaa aineksia mm. folkista ja progressiivisesta folk-rockista, ja rönsyilee rumpujen, perkussioiden, kielisoittimien ja huilujen siivittämänä halki tämän neljäkymmentäminuuttisen levyn viiden kappaleen.
   Taidokkaasti toteutettu instrumentaatio, ja progressiiviset elementit ja kappalerakenteet luovat levylle hienostuneen, mutta tinkimättömän alkuvoimaisen tunnelman. "Elon syvä lempi" on polveileva, kaikessa harkitussa viileydessään eteerisen kaunis, ja täynnä lämmintä kaihoa ja kunnioitusta herättävää arvaamattomuutta - aivan kuin pohjoisen joet, vuot ja virrat. Jäisen riitteen alla lepäävät suvantovaiheet saattavat yht'äkkiä muodostaa puron, joka hetkessä kerää tarpeeksi voimaa muuttuakseen pärskähteleväksi koskeksi, ja vastaavasti tulviva voimaisa vuo saattaa yllättäen luopua vimmastaan ja levähtää hyvän aikaa peilityynenä lampena vain haihtuakseen hiljaa myrskyä enteileväksi pilveksi horisonttiin. "Elon syvä lempi" on julkaistu 12.12. 2011 400kpl painoksena Samuli Kontion ja Eva-Maria Aitsamin kuvataiteella ryyditettynä.



tiistai 20. joulukuuta 2011

MAA live at Darkland Fire II festival, Rakvere, Estonia 3.12.

photos: Lloyd James



assisted by: F. LÖF

maanantai 7. marraskuuta 2011

keskiviikko 26. lokakuuta 2011

Pyhä Kuolema "Saavun vaikken kulkisi" 22.10.

Pyhä Kuolema
"Saavun vaikken kulkisi"
released 22.10. 2011
orders: info [at]

                Pyhä Kuolema is a solo project of Mikko Pöyhönen. It was founded a while after the neofolk-duo Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa decided to quit. The ruins of Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa left behind were still smoking when something new, beautiful and fresh started already grow from there. The death of the duo Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa was also the birth of Pyhä Kuolema - a birth of  an extremely intimate, emotional, personal, and spiritual solo-project.
                Traditional to the bone, but still clearly finding it’s own sound despite the classic  ”man+guitar” approach, Pyhä Kuolema debut album ”Saavun vaikken kulkisi” brings forth a dozen of atmospheric, national romantic, extremely emotional and personal songs sung in Finnish. The style of playing and singing varies from solemn ritualistic neofolk-songs to troubadur-like playful approach to traditional folk.                
                Despite the fact that he is also a quarter of the neofolk-lounge band MAA, and half of the gloomy neofolk and freezing ritual music duo Tervahäät, he is still driven by so such a great urge to create, that new songs for Pyhä Kuolema are found frequently. He composed, sung, played, recorded and mixed the whole album by himself, giving it the intimate touch and manages the handling of the double edged sword that this kind of folk can be – the  sometimes even rough and stripped down output with no gimmicks is this time succesfully shaking hands with the alluring soft intensity.

tiistai 18. lokakuuta 2011

MAA steel pins

The logo of MAA - the spring sigil, the sacred heart - is now available as a noble, beautiful and sturdy steel pin.

solid steel
size 1"
108 pc. available

price: 6€
orders:  info [at]

maanantai 17. lokakuuta 2011

Pyhä Kuolema: Saavun vaikken kulkisi pre-order!

"Saavun vaikken kulkisi"

22. 10. 2011

pre-orders: info[at]animaarctica[dot]fi
13€ + p&p, orders posted on 22.10.

torstai 22. syyskuuta 2011

Somnivore review at HEX Magazine

Clergy of Oneiros
Anima Arctica, 2007
Review by Henry Lauer

True to their name, Finnish experimentalists Somnivore have served up a dream-laden sonic voyage with their album Clergy of Oneiros. Using found sounds, samples, noisescapes, and a stately sense of drama, they’ve created an unsettling, absorbing, and subtle piece of otherworldly work.
In essence the soundtrack for a shamanic journey, the music weaves fragments of classical music, noise, chanting, percussion, some truly unique mouth harp, and all sorts of recognizable (and not) samples. The tapestry of sound flows smoothly, freely…yet also with that disjointed, constant segue that dreams exemplify.
If the overall effect, therefore, is something that could be called dark ambient music, then so be it. Atmosphere is the order of the day, but the album doesn’t conjure dark horizons so much as the mercurial landscape of inner space and occult vision. Whether Gothic choirs, whirring buzzes, ritualistic drumming, or enigmatic, softly-spoken word, Somnivore never ceases in its hazy ramble through the landscape of the midnight hour.
This is an album for dreamers, trance-explorers, and mystics. It feels primal, like a lake buried deep beneath the earth, cold and still and resonant with the distant sounds filtering through the Underworld. Although there is enough repetition and structure to keep the ear engaged, the album continually opens and closes doors into dreaming and forgetfulness. At times it can be an unsettling experience.
Clergy of Oneiros is not for every listener, being clad in shadow and eerie gloom. As an aid for trance, meditation, and inner exploration, however, it seems extremely well suited. Recommended for those with an ear for atmosphere, magic, and liminality of mood.

keskiviikko 21. syyskuuta 2011

MAA, Tervahäät, Pyhä Kuolema T-shirts!

Pyhä Kuolema logo shirt

Tervahäät logo & tree

MAA, logo & birds
(these are leftovers from MAA concert, only a couple left, more soon!)

tiistai 20. syyskuuta 2011

Pyhä Kuolema

...while waiting the debut album to arrive from the press... here is the brand new Pyhä Kuolema logo!
T-shirts (black w/ white print) available from the Anima Arctica shop

"Saavun vaikken kulkisi"

1. linnun laulu I
2. nuori maa
3. tuhat kuolemaa sekunnissa
4. yöaika
5. pelkurin palkka on rakkaudettomuus
6. avaruusmies ja helvetinmies
7. ajattele minua
8. voimamies
9. linnun laulu II
10. syntymäpäivä
11. pyhän äidin kuolema
12. tanssi vainajille

maanantai 5. syyskuuta 2011

Hex Magazine review: Tervahäät

Review: Tervahäät

Anima Arctica, 2009
author: Henry Lauer

Picture the silhouettes of pine and birch, thick and dark, reflected in lake water. The sun has fallen to the sky’s edge, and a chill breath hovers on the air. You stand, feet bare on the earth, staring at the way the water distorts the reflection of the forest…and yet in its distortion the water also reveals a layer of hitherto obscured truth. Condense this moment into 35-odd minutes of music and you have Finnish band Tervahäät’s self titled release.
This deeply introspective experimental folk group are all about stately vistas daubed in shadow and mystery. Their music – heavy, distorted, slow-moving, yet folky and organic – invites beautiful, if unsettling, synaesthesia. A waking dream, like the journey of Orpheus into the Underworld. It is raw and vulnerable; at once personal and yet eternal.
Tervahäät’s album is mostly instrumental, woven from overdriven bass, atmospheric guitars, piano, a strangely soothing banjo, and some very creative and eerie found/junk percussion. The elements are spread minimally on the sound canvas, like an Impressionist painting of a winter scene. Our imaginations are invited to fill the gaps, to wander into Tervahäät’s cold but exquisite realm of inner space.
The occasional singing and spoken word vocals are half-wild, like a wolf mourning a broken heart. The lyrics are in Finnish so I cannot comment on their content, but the vocals perfectly compliment the music, which feels at once abrasive and majestic; pastoral and raw. Set again the vocals are occasional naturalistic samples, which are tastefully utilized.
This is not happy music, yet to say that it is depressive would be false. It does not convey the ecstatic melancholy of good doom metal, nor the love-lorn personal touch of some folk music. Instead, t resides in its own little space of dark animism, intimate yet foreboding. Despite the weight of the music, its atmospheric riches make it just as suited for background listening as for intensive focusing – I always admire such multi-faceted music.
Tervahäät is highly recommended for fans of folk music, ambient music, doom metal (although I stress that is is not metal by any stretch), and lovers of nature in its colder incarnations. It is not for those who cannot tolerate darkness and depth – the shallow and easily satisfied should look elsewhere. This album is both dark forest and reflective waters, and invites us to find ourselves in surprising new ways and places.

keskiviikko 10. elokuuta 2011

Virta samples and other news

Two sample songs from upcoming Virta album "Elon syvä lempi" added to the radio.
This is the debut album of this project of mr. S.Forsström, and I am more than eager to release this beautiful and extremely skillfully presented piece of art later this autumn.

Pyhä Kuolema album is sent to press next week.
The first concert of Pyhä Kuolema is held at the "Veljesiltamat" -happening in Oulu, 20.8.

MAA concert with Blood Axis is getting near now, get your tickets from Tiketti.
The website of MAA has been updated with new photos and info. MAA t-shirts are soon available.
The band would like to welcome a new member to the band: Risto-Matti Salo is now officially part of the core group of MAA.

- K.

MAA review at Hex Magazine

Anima Arctica, 2010
Review by Henry Lauer
MAA is nothing less than a groundbreaking neofolk band and Tuhkankantajat is right on the leading edge of what neofolk as a genre can be capable of. These Finnish maestros threaten to make an awful lot of the contemporary post-industrial musical scene seem, well, soggy and tired.
Opening with an atmospheric electric piece, Tuhkankantajat then dives into its musical body, drawing together folk, classical, jazz, experimental, ambient, and noise influences with a quiet and organic perfection. Sometimes the fluency of the music becomes almost playful, as though MAA are revelling in the joy of their creative prowess.
Although built on a core of acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and pathos-laden vocals, MAA also use piano (which draws out some astounding melodies), chimes, strings, and various electrical devices. As such the musical palette is as once comfortable for anyone with a taste for folk or acoustic music…yet challenging and mind-expanding as well.
Each song invites us into a rich weave: introspective, sombre, edgy, emotionally complex. Mournful-wistful-joyous, weary elation, measured but indefatigable momentum. Aching beauty, inky and dark and heavy, yet dappled with sunlight like the earth in a primordial forest.
At times the album becomes depressive and sluggish; at times it becomes strident and even hinting at an epic scope, of wide-flung vistas. On the whole it reminds me of the emotional palette and intensity of Nick Cave, yet without feeling derivative of the great man at all – a rare achievement!
We see a turn into new territory and away from recognisable neofolk with the final track, “Toive,” a 12 minute epic of soundscaping and pure ineluctable emotion, a profound journey into deep realms. Seductive, menacing vocals and an Eastern flavour beckon us into an increasingly intense world of drones, noise, and distortion. Layers and layers of sound, awash in cavernous reverb, carry us away into a subterranean ocean, menacing and otherworldly.
The track reaches a climax of intensity before decomposing into mists and darkness and ghostly voices. A dramatic and haunting conclusion to the album.
Tuhkankantajat is darkness tempered with ecstasy; raw and sophisticated; deeply interior yet verging on the boundless. These Finnish masters have been quietly forging rich new possibilities for neofolk, and it seems to me only a matter of time for their influence to pervade widely.

tiistai 12. heinäkuuta 2011

MAA interview at Santa Sangre

Sylvia Partyka made a nice MAA interview for Polish "Santa Sangre" webzine:

Somewhere in far far away northern part of the continent, three young talented Finns, spin  magical stories expressed through subtle folk- ambient music  which is flowing directly from  deepest places of  human soul. let us listen what they have to say.

Interviewees: Aki Cederberg, Juha Kettunen, Mikko Pöyhönen
May-June 2011
by Sylwia Partyka
 Tell me about the beginning of MAA. When did you come up with the idea of forming a band and who initiated  this?
AC: I consider the actual birth of the band to be a journey we did some years ago to Mikko’s remote countryside cabin on Spring Equinox, which also happens to be the birthday of one of us. The place we went to is very desolate and remote, and there’s literally nobody there or even really close by – except for many animals who made their presence known. The days were crisp and clear sunny winter afternoons, and at night the stars lit up the sky. In the main room where we set up our instruments, played and slept by a crackling wooden stove, we made one of the walls our main creative springboard, by each having bought with us disparate inspirational pictures, artwork, quotes and passages from books, which we then affixed on the wall, transforming it to a talisman or guide as to where we would like to take the band, or at least in what we wanted it to be rooted in. I remember us, aside from playing, taking long walks exploring the surrounding forests, fields and empty houses, as well as saunabathing for most of the nights. On a particular walk, we recorded one of us playing on a huge, discarded metal-container, that sounded like a cross between a gong and a deep toned drum – that recording ended up being used on the first track of the album. We also did a ritual to focus our intent and will on the new creative venture at hand, but decided to keep these things just to ourselves. All this literally gave birth to the band, and we made our first to songs then and there, ”Sydänmaa” (”Heartland”) and ”Tuhkankantajat” (”Bearers of Ash”), which are really central to the beginning of the band and very much mirror our experiences, thoughts and feelings. Since that time, we have made yearly journeys to the same remote place to coincide with the Spring Equinox. Hence, spring has become a highly symbolically significant element for us, both esoterically and exoterically, present now in imagery and song, and even the heart-shaped symbol on the album, which is an old, obscure sign for spring.
What does the band-name MAA mean? For which  kind of public do you make music? Who should buy your CD?
JK: We were combining the word “maa” with other words trying to find a suitable compound word as a name, but later we simplified the idea, and left only the most important core intact. Aki also pointed out the importance of that syllable and word, how the three-letter word is used in many different languages for things of significant importance.
AC: MAA in Finnish language means simply ”earth” or ”land” or ”soil”. It relates to one of our first songs, ”Sydänmaa” (”Heartland”). Maa is the root-word for ”mother” and ”matter” in many, if not most languages. It is a universal expression. Often it is the first utterance of an infant, ”maa”.
MAA also has more esoteric connotations. For instance, in the Indian tantric tradition of the Naga babas that I have some experience and knoweldge of, ”MA” (pronounced ”maa”) is one of the Matrikas, the ”little mothers”, a chain of syllables that constitute the core of sacred speech and therefore, knowledge. Curiously, ”Ma” is also a Sumerian word for „land”, which in that mythology was used to denote the the ”primeval land”.
Although we all have our roots in perhaps underground musical cultures, we do not care if we fit neatly into any subcultural niché. Some dour underground-purists have whined about what they perceive as ”pop” dimensions of our music, but that is their problem, and is really just an expression of how people involved in subcultures like this can be self-restrictive and foster a sense of false elitism. Quite simply, we make music that we like, and that is that. Of course we hope that other people like it too, but there is no specific public we have in mind when we make music. One could view MAA as ”esoteric pop”, in that it is fairly esoteric, as in ”for the few”, in terms of lyrics and imagery sometimes, and at the same time our musical approach is deliberately one of directness, simplicity, emotiveness – all of which are hallmark qualities of ”pop”. Although, I highly doubt that we will break through and hit the pop-charts any time soon!
Who is writing the lyrics and why did you decide to write and sing in your mother tongue?
MP: For the first album, the lyrics were written in collaboration. Our new material features lyrics solely by Aki, whereas I keep to composing the songs and arranging them with the rest of our band. I for one never write any lyrical material in English – even translating the lyrics from Finnish was hard enough. Rhythm and flow serve the lyrical content when the idea is able to manifest without any translations made by the writer. (MAA lyrics translated from Finnish to English can be accessed here.
AC: Using our mother language was very central and important from the beginning. Finnish is a beautiful language, and there is much that can only be expressed in a certain way in Finnish; there is a poetic quality inherent to it, and simply the sound of it is evocative. I also believe that we can write stronger, more original material using our native language, than if we would write in English.
To clarify Mikkos statement above, everyone wrote things for the first album, but the each of us wrote entire pieces separately. I think this is represented on the album as noticably distinct styles and approaches of the lyrics. As for compositions, as said, Mikko brings guitar-based melodies to the table, which we then start to process, develope and give form to. As I have written more of the lyrics, I usually create some song-melodies, and Juha brings in his ideas as well. I usually have some lyrics and lyrical themes in mind before anything is composed that I sometimes mention to the guys, and then, sometimes by pure chance, Mikko plays something that ”triggers” those lyrics, and then the song almost writes itself, although some songs require more effort than that. With us, the whole creative process is one of discovery and transformation, reminiscent of alchemy, where you transform base matter into gold, or magic, where you create something out of nothing or take a rabbit out of a hat. For me, this applies equally well to making films, writing, or other creative efforts.
I notice that you collaborate with many musicians, including John Murphy. How important was his work for the final version of „Tuhkantajat”?
AC: I was aware of John Murphy and his output for years before we actually became friends. I think he is a pioneer in the industrial underground. He has done so many great things in music, both as solo-projects and as collaborative efforts, and stuck with it, that I always considered him a really inspiring and interesting person. We first met when he played with Death In June in Finland, and after that we kept in contact and met whenever we were in the same country. At the time of the collaboration we did, he was having some problems with various issues and was staying at my place for a while. John and I had talked about collaborating on something before, and then MAA had just began, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to create something together. Mikko and Juha came over, and we did the collaboration in one evening, and that is what you hear as ”Toive” (”Wish”) – the last track on the ”Tuhkankantajat” album. It seemed to almost happen by itself – everyone was really happy with both the process and result of doing it, and I believe it also lifted John’s spirit somewhat in his time of turmoil. So, John’s contribution was important for MAA in an almost talismanic way, as it was the first thing we actually recorded, and sort of set the stage for things to come. John was also here last summer, and again we recorded some things together with MAA that might end up on the next record, as they are the first recordings we have done since the ”Tuhkankantajat” album.
I also interviewed John at length while he was here last time, about many things he has never spoken about in interviews before (like when he was a session-drummer for a shady French backing-band for Nico) – and I am looking for a suitable print-publication to have this published in.
I might add that all the musicians we have and are collaborating with, including Risto-Matti Salo (of Pimentola), Antti Haapapuro (Dolorian & several Aural Hypnox projects), Fredrik Löf (of Velvet Desperados) and Antti Hyvärinen are talented, brilliant people, and they have made important contributions.
 I saw that you will play with Blood Axis in August in Helsinki. I think that’s wonderful! Will this be your first concert?
 JK: Yes, the first official concert of MAA will be at Kuudes Linja in Helsinki, on Wednesday the 24th of August, supporting Blood Axis. This is a great honor for us. What a way for a new band to start their live performances!
AC: I think we all listened to Blood Axis when we were still in our formative years. I followed Michael Moynihan’s output in the 1990′s, and was inspired by his approach. I saw Blood Axis in, I believe it was maybe 1998, when they played on a boat in Stockholm, and interviewed Michael for an underground magazine. We have remained friends and kept in contact since then. Now, all these years later, it is, as Juha said, a great honor to be asked by them to play as support for Blood Axis. It feels like we are doing something right.
Tickets to the Blood Axis / MAA concert are available here

Do all bandmembers live in Helsinki? How often do you rehearse?
 JK: We all live in Helsinki nowadays, but I have been living here for only the last five years of my life. We rehearse a few times a week now as we are preparing for a concert, and are writing new songs for the upcoming album and to play live as well. There were longer periods when we were not that active, but the upcoming concert and the strong material of the upcoming full-length album really has made the group more vital than ever.
 AC: I am the only one who is born in Helsinki, but we all live here now and I think it affects the way we sound – the surroundings – and we might sound different were we to live somewhere else. The place seeps into and is reflected in the music. The lyrics even integrate some actual places, although in a subtle way. Also, we are inspired by a certain urban mythos, all the history of this city (and other cities), both esoteric and exoteric, both personal and impersonal – of which there is much in Helsinki. Sometimes it might be an old restaurant, or a part of town in a particular light, or the way an old circular window looks, or a symbol that is integrated into a piece of architecture or sculpture so as to be ”hidden in plain sight”.
When do you plan to release next album?
 JK: When it is ready and we have a record deal with bigger label.
AC: We have been working on new material that we feel is very strong. Aside from a new album, there has been talk about a split vinyl release with another band, about contributing a song to a compilation release by an American label, and about an LP re-release of ”Tuhkankantajat”. As Juha said, we are looking for a label with a wider distribution to release our next album.
Is MAA a full-time band, or do you play in other bands/projects?
 JK: I have several other active projects: Tervahäät with Mikko, Slave’s Mask with Mr. Spellgoth, and Key with Mr. Rauta.
Tervahäät was founded in 2008 and a second full-length album is on it’s way. The music of Tervahäät is some kind of mixture of experimental folk and ritual ambient, and it has been described by listeners and concert crowd as somehow very Finnish, ritualistic and intensive – maybe because of the eerie and mystical aura and distinctive ”coldness” in the imagery, lyrics and music itself. The second full-length album is ready soon.
Slave’s Mask was founded in 2003 with Mr. Spellgoth, who is active in several underground and well-known black metal groups, and the second singer of notorious industrial-metal partyboy-group Turmion Kätilöt. The first album ”Faustian Electronics & Bruise Poetry”, released in 2006, is combining the aesthetics of EBM, black metal and industrial noise. It is almost sold out, so get your copy while you can! The second album of Slave’s Mask is well on it’s way, this time with a much  softer touch, leaning more towards trip-hop avangarde and more subtle atmospheres.
Key is a relatively new band of Rauta and I. Rauta is the man behind dozens of different – usually black metal oriented – projects, of which I’d like to mention Circle Of Ouroborus here. I made a split album with them with my deceased project Somnivore. Key is an acoustic and somewhat native neo-folk, pop, post-punk hybrid. We really didn’t think about anything else than avoiding electric guitars and keeping things simple when we started, and we have been quite active and succesful on that road: there are three demos and two full-length albums available.
There exists a couple other projects too, but these are the most well-known ones I guess. Despite the amount of bands I have at the moment, I have learnt how to concentrate a hundred percent on the band or project at hand, and there is no competition of my attention between the groups. I dedicate almost all of my free time to art and especially music, so this skill of focusing is important for me in order to keep all the bands vital and active. I also run the label Anima Arctica, of which the focus is releases of the esoteric Finnish underground movement. The next album on the list is the debut of Mikko’s solo project Pyhä Kuolema.
MP: As noted, Juha and I perform as Tervahäät. I have a solo project called Pyhä Kuolema, with an album coming out this Summer/Fall through Anima Arctica.
AC: MAA is the sole band I am part of now. However, I am also active in other areas, such as writing and film. An occult book-anthology entitled The Fenris Wolf (Volume 4), edited by Carl Abrahamsson, has just been released, that features a long article by me, and is available via:
Which kind of expectations do you have? Is success something that you want to achieve?
 MP: I expect an open field with MAA. We are quite fearlessly mixing a bunch of influences none of our previous nor other projects are capable of dealing with. This might give a song or two a more pop music makeover, but when the message and the intention still flows through, I am not complaining.
JK: For me, success equals making profound art. Everything else is just a bonus.
AC: What is important is to have visions and strong ideas, and not to limit those visions and ideas, but simply figure out how to go about realizing them, and to understand that there are really no limits to what can be achieved. That is one thing that really exites me about this band – the limitless possibilities and open horizons, and knowing my companions are adventurous and enthusiastic enough to always want to take this ship into uncharted waters – for all of us.
 ”Tuhkantajat” has very melancholic and romantic aura. Are Finnish people hopeless romantics?
 MP: I don’t think the word ‘hopeless’ applies here. While some parts of the lyrics can seem a bit melancholic, I’d like to believe we produce, for a change, bright and even optimistic thoughts through our music.
 AC: I would agree with Mikko. We are trying to maintain a balance between Eros and Thanatos in our songs, a balance between songs that are life-affirming and songs that are death-affirming, and to have both aspects equally represented. We have tried recently to avoid making too many melancholic or utterly sad songs, as we realize that for some reason or other, this seems to come naturally for us, and so, yes, perhaps a certain melancholy romanticism is ingrained in our nature. But so is a perhaps a rather dark and lively sense of humor, and even this is part of MAA.
 Several words to Polish listeners?
JK: I have spent far too little time in your great country. I hope to see more of your beautiful cities and nice people in the near future!
AC: Although my last visit was too brief, I really enjoyed performing, meeting like-minded people and musicians, as well as discovering the history, architecture and atmosphere of Poland, so I hope we can get back soon.

maanantai 11. heinäkuuta 2011

Key review at HEX Magazine

Silver Moon Slumber
Anima Arctica, 2011
Review by Henry Lauer

Hailing from the cold but beautiful climes of Finland, Key are purveyors of dreamy and evocative neofolk. Their new release Silver Moon Slumber is a beautiful album, at once trancelike and atmospheric. Loaded with unique groove, and resonant with inflections from New Wave, this release conjures cold but joyous landscapes in the mind’s ear.

Musically, the album’s architecture is built around jangling acoustic guitars, expressive basswork, and fluid drumming. Resonant and eerie vocals provide the direction for the music, which is also traced by the occasional support instrument such as chimes or fiddle.

The arrangements are sparse and hang together perfectly. The whole album has a supple momentum, the drums and guitars driving things along at a solid, albeit not frantic, tempo. The main source of melody tends to be provided by the bass work, which is very expressive and tasteful. Being a bass aficionado, this was right up my alley.

The combination of somnolent vocals, flowing drums, prominent bass, and jangling (if acoustic) guitars combine to intimate the feeling of New Wave bands from the early 1980’s, albeit presented within a more languid folk context. Key shares this influence with American neofolk outfit Cult of Youth, and both bands profit greatly from such fertile cross-pollination. This emerging direction in neofolk is very promising.
There’s something almost innocent or childlike about this album. It draws the listener down into a subconscious zone of awareness, deep and almost whimsical. The lyrics evoke naturalistic horizons and mysterious secrets, perfectly suited to the music. All of the elements combine to lead the listener into reverie and moments of animistic grace.

Key are gloomy, and at times heavy in that particularly Finnish folk music way; but they are also playful and uplifting. I think this combination of moods is quite an achievement, and I can happily recommend Silver Moon Slumber to anyone who has the slightest liking for folk music. I hope we’ll be hearing more from this very talented ensemble!

keskiviikko 1. kesäkuuta 2011

Tervahäät interview in Kaleidoscope magazine #9

Tervahäät interview in Kaleidoscope magazine #9:

   So, this issue of Kaleidoscope is concentrating on cultural awareness and national pride, so I guess it’s suitable to talk about Finland and about being Finnish with you guys. So let’s start with a difficult one: what is “Finnish” for Tervahäät – is it the environment, the culture, the state of mind – or maybe all of these combined? And connected to this, what Finnish and which sides of the Finnish culture does your music contain in your own opinion?

Maybe it’s easiest to turn this question around a bit… observing our surroundings gives us thoughts about what is not Finnish and ignoring that irrelevant stuff gets us on the right tracks. This is indeed a difficult question to answer, and I think we are actually trying to find an answer for this too with our art.

   Your debut album deals with Finland but it makes it quite unconsciously – there aren’t these typical kanteles or things like that but more mental levels, which come from your heart, not from the outside. How deep did you have to dive to get the core of the music visible/hearable? What kind of preparations did you have before you started writing/recording your music

All started as a vague idea and visions that lead to the first improvised sessions that we had. From that session we found the core sound and the right atmosphere. The first improvised session led to a strong vision about the name that was actually directly connected to quite normal wedding-tradition... When we look at those times – a bit over two years ago that is – we feel like the right mind-set helped us to find the sound, and the sound and the atmosphere it evoked resonated in some parts on our spirits, and thus gave birth to name and complete sound of Tervahäät and opened some more doors to the worlds where all this pours from. The name just struck one day loud and clear; the tar-wedding is the first wedding-day that you spend alone after your significant others death. This vision felt like channeling some forgotten tradition or a holy day that had in some level existed since the dawn of time, and despite it has really specific meaning it can also be looked in more symbolical perspective.

The second pillar of the basis of this whole thing – the percussive element - was found when we took the name and instruments with us to the place where we nowadays go to record and write. That old cabin and its surroundings, everything there from old photographs and newspapers, desolate old roads, snowy forests and active spiritual life seemed to open new doors. There we understood the importance of those percussions you can hear at “Otava” and “Menneet”. We also realised how that place had already affected to the birth Tervahäät, for it has been an influential in many ways and filled with strong spiritual experiences every time we had visited there before actually beginning with Tervahäät, before the clear idea of the first session was even there. When we entered that place the first time with the name and those sounds with us, it was a bit like returning back home. The element of improvisation is strongly still present when creating text and sound, but now it is accompanied by some bits of careful planning. Those percussions are a big part of the whole Tervahäät sound on the first album (and will be on the second one too), still we chose not to use percussions at all when we play live.

   And connected to this, what Finnish and which sides of the Finnish culture does your music contain in your own opinion?

This music and art is only atavism and visions channeled by by two Finnish men. Some people see different parts of Finnish culture connected to Tervahäät, we see only this purest possible form of art we are capable of.

   Another interesting thing is the “faceless” nature of your music – it’s hard to say, which instruments are used, whether the soundscape organic or electric or not etc. The sound is somehow timeless, like the songs were as natural and pure as leaves in a tree. Did you have these kinds of thoughts in your mind while making this album?

Those who resonate with our ideas and have longing to these different worlds like we do, maybe sense the results of our reaching towards these planes as some kind of timelessness. Being succesful in making something that feels timeless and ageless is always closely connected to reaching towards the divine and unseen – the formless, the timeless. The archtypical ideas have been born from somewhere, so that means the they are affected by time too and surely face some kind of death sooner or later - they are not timeless... But there are countless different kinds of  worlds between this roughest one that we operate at the moment– me typing these words, you reading this paper - and the ultimate formless one, in those worlds time itself has different kind of meanings. Maybe we have managed to capture some essence or reflections from these worlds to our art.

   But nothing comes from nowhere, so there must be some musical influences which have affected the music of Tervahäät… So, where did you suck the most precious blood from in order to create this album – something Finnish was maybe on the list?

We always notice the same selected works of groups of magnificent artists led by Albin Julius, Timothy Renner, Gylve Nagell and David Eugene Edwards to find their place on the player when we are travelling together.

   And let’s continue with the influences. Of course the whole environment and the society around us are fuel for creation, but maybe some particular things – literature, old stories, own thoughts and ponderings – were the brightest sparks to guide you to your destination?

Of literacy influences we have to mention the classical works about Finnish traditions and magick collected by Krohn and Lönnrot, and massive source of information about Savonian people, “Savo ja sen kansa”. Of course Kalevala is one of the most important sources of inspiration. We have also found some interesting old newspapers and writings from inside and from the surroundings of the cabin where we write and record, they also add something to the end result.

   Your lyrics use basic methods of Finnish poetry: alliterations, short verses and variations of Kalevala meter. This style reminds me of Eino Leino’s classic Helkavirsiä collection (which seems to be a favourite of IC Rex and many other black metallers too), so I have to ask about the influence of this book on your work.

It would be harsh overstatement to call this book influential to Tervahäät. We think it’s a nice piece of art, but to us it is not of significant importance.

   Still, you aren’t afraid to use gloomier and harsher language like a word ‘vittunaamat’ in Lumi – a perfect example that Finnish culture isn’t just a polished utopia in J.L. Runeberg’s national romantic poems but also snot and lots of perkele! Any thoughts about this?

These words are part of Finnish language and they are used if necessity dictates. This word “vittunaamat” (in the track “Menneet”) came out naturally when we were improvising the words. We have absolutely no need to avoid any part of the Finnish language. In this land of Kyrpäjärvi’s and Paskakräähi’s it hypocritical to assume that these words are not part of our true culture. That is where the collector of Kalevala poems made his worst mistake, he left all the sex, cursing and probably lots of magick and rituals out of the book. Maybe this was because of some relatively new integrated values that didn’t fit the original and true Finnish culture..? Anyway, this is a serious stain - forgery of the history of Finland.

   A listener can’t bypass the melancholic nature of your music either. I guess there are no countries more melancholic than Finland, but how would you describe this relationship between melancholy and the Finnish state of mind? Do you see it as a depressive and paralyzing power or more as an inspiring one? What kind of a role does melancholy have in Tervahäät

We don’t see our music melancholic, and we know for a fact that excess and overtly romantic melancholy is indeed paralysing instead of energising. We consciously try our best to avoid melancholic states of mind. Maybe melancholy is one of those mantels of martyrdom that Finnish people like to carry with some twisted pride.

   Many bands – black metal or neofolk or something else – are usually longing for the old ages, where people were honest and more close to their roots, and this seems to be the deal with Tervahäät as well. But is there any dialogue going on between the modern world and Tervahäät, or are you more like a ghost from the past, knocking on the listener’s door telling old, forgotten stories, blessings and curses?

Maybe that timelessness that we discussed earlier brings that feeling of old ages? Dialogue between  the modern world and Tervahäät is that we live in the year 2010 and this is when these efforts of reaching towards the transcendent take place, no more, no less. No matter how old and archaic feeling the visions of the name “Tervahäät” and its purpose we had, it still happened in year 2008. We are speaking again about this bridge from this day to those places unlike the world we are used to, how does one open it, and how does one record the experiences to text and sound.

   Nowadays the general assumption is that a modern man has lost his connection with his past, culture and soil, and it seems that we Finns are no exception. How do you see this situation: have Finnish people been alienated from their roots, or maybe the knowledge has been passed to a certain limited group who still wants to carry the torch, so to speak?

One can live a entire lifetime without caring about these roots that you are talking about, but ignoring them doesn’t make them disappear or make them entirely powerless. They affect many parts of your life no matter did you like it or not. So… somebody wants to ignore these roots for some reason. Somebody wants to dig as much as he can to find out how deep they are, and what do they look like… and somebody just wants to stay behind the back of the latter case and make notes that might help in his life somehow. Hopefully people are able to find suitable methods in solving  this important question. Our choice is clear.

   And if we look at how foreign people see us Finns – maybe our biggest selling points are Moomin trolls, Kaurismäki movies and a stubborn, withdrawn mentality, but is this also an image we want ourselves to be seen through? Or should we even give a fuck?

Maybe Kaurismäki brothers and Tove Jansson just create, the selling points come later. It is hard to imagine those kind of artists who would be fuelled by money only. Even the silliest Moomin-troll product has to have something of that jewel what is the original works of Tove Jansson. These products wouldn’t sell at all if they wouldn’t point to this marvellous original idea. We certainly have no agenda to generate any kind image of Finland. We are just Finnish artists, and it depends on a person whether he wants us to be the part of his vision of Finland or not.

   Well, another impression is that an outsider can’t even understand us Finns. Do you think this is true? And if it is, can a foreign listener fully understand Tervahäät? What would be the universal common ground in your music?

We have heard about that impression of weird and mystical Finnish people so many times that there must be some pieces of truth in that impression… Anyway, there are individuals around the world who find that their resonance fits to ours. Most of these individuals reside in Europe and North-America, though.

   If (or when?) Tervahäät will become a part of the Finnish cultural canon, how would you like your band be remembered? What would be a suitable epitaph for Tervahäät?

We have no wishes to be respected, recognised or remembered. We hope to manage to help people who are interested in similar things like us while walking firmly on our path. No epitaphs on the gravestone. A block of granite and engraved logo is all that the grave of Tervahäät needs.

   interview by A. Klemi / Kaleidoscope magazine
   Tervahäät are: A.K. Väätäjä & I.M. Akkanen

I.M. Akkanen & A.K. Väätäjä

keskiviikko 25. toukokuuta 2011

Pyhä Kuolema samples added to the Anima Arctica radio

Three tracks from the upcoming Pyhä Kuolema album "Saavun vaikken kulkisi" added to the Anima Arctica radio. The first choice is the track titled "Tuhat kuolemaa sekunnissa". I think it builds a nice bridge between the deceased duo "Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa" and it's heir, the solo project "Pyhä Kuolema" with it's name, style and atmosphere. It's almost like the last farewell toast raised for the ruins of the duo Tuhat Kuolemaa SekunnissaThe second and the third track "Avaruusmies ja helvetinmies" and "Tanssi vainajille" continue the same path with deep and refined understanding of building the wanted ambiance.  - K.

tiistai 24. toukokuuta 2011

Tervahäät & MAA lyrics in English

I've noted a few times (in reviews, message board discussions, or in e-mails sent to me etc..) people who would like to understand more about the lyrics of Anima Arctica bands really haven't found their way to the place where the translated lyrics are stored. So, info and links for you.  - K.

English lyrics


perjantai 20. toukokuuta 2011

KEY - Silver Moon Slumber released 15.5.

Key - Silver moon slumber

Regal thieves
Houses of the moon
To the heart of Europe
Honey Sun
The golden chariot
Two voices
Harvest the ashes
The mountain and the river
...Of blood and bones of the universe

orders: info -at-
US distributor: Handmade Birds

torstai 12. toukokuuta 2011

Pyhä Kuolema live 14.5. cancelled

Unfortunately the Pyhä Kuolema concert on Saturday 14.5. has been cancelled.
Gig organisers changed the timetable for this event drastically, and suggested that Pyhä Kuolema would play a set lasting only ten minutes.
The artist did what every self-respecting artist would have done, and decline this quoestionable honor to participate the evening.
I think we all agree that the new project of this experienced and talented artist deserves a different kind of approach to the first public appearance.


maanantai 9. toukokuuta 2011

Pyhä Kuolema live Saturday 14.5. at Helsinki, National Theatre, Omatunto-club

Pyhä Kuolema, the new project of the frontman of deceased Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa, will play live at the Omatunto-club at National Theatre (just in the center of Helsinki, right next to the main station) on Saturday 14.5.

If you want to hear the songs from the upcoming Pyhä Kuolema album "Saavun vaikken kulkisi", early evening is the suggested time to arrive and check the schedule, for the timetable for showtimes are set on the very same day.

keskiviikko 27. huhtikuuta 2011

MAA is rehearsing for BLOOD AXIS concert in August, and writing new material for the next album

MAA rehearsals 21.4.2011

MAA was assisted by Fredrik Löf (pianetti) and Risto-Matti Salo (keyboard, samples, percussions)
pics by Sg.7 & mr.Ping

perjantai 22. huhtikuuta 2011

Anima Arctica blog opened!

Purpose of this blog is to inform the people who are interested in Anima Arctica and related bands and activity a bit more than the dry and factual newsfeed of the actual website.
I hope that with some help of the participants and readers this will be a place of interesting short stories, pictures, and documentary of channeling, processing and creating.
Feedback and general activity and involvement will be appreciated!

- K.