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A Thing With Feathers

by Aki Himanen and Aleksi Kinnunen

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Matt Banash
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Matt Banash This release is about musicians playing together first and foremost organically. The ideas swell and pass, the music chugs and pops, and it all flows. Good for deep listening or soundtrack to get you going. Favorite track: Conflict Dance.
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Uneasy Tones 05:59


Aki Himanen and Aleksi Kinnunen return to Jazz-o-Tech for the stunning new album A Thing with Feathers. It arrives on May 27th and features seven tracks that explore the contrasts and similarities between improvised jazz and machine-made techno.
This Finnish duo finds Aki Himanen on trumpet and electronics, and Aleksi Kinnunen on drums. They landed on this label with last year's fantastic Dawn Drops EP, and before that offered the dark and experimental sounds of their debut album Scapes 1, which was inspired by generative music techniques and collective improv.
The new album again finds the pair exploring the delicate balance of machinery with humanity and how they coexist. Each of the tracks starts as an exploration of electronics; a quest to find interesting moods and textures and then build on them. It was this same spirit of adventuring into the unknown that defined Miles Davis's ever-futuristic 'Bitches Brew' - collaborative and hypnotic improvisation, not only between musicians but also with machines.
Say the pair of the record, "The interesting part of this dialogue is that it’s always unpredictable and evolving - what’s coming out there is always a mystery for even us. That’s the magic of open-hearted spontaneous interaction. A Thing With Feathers is an album full of mental landscapes so we encourage the listeners to visualize the album in their own minds and find their own journey through it. For us, the main theme of the album is hope and how we should never lose it. We don’t want to be too specific about it because it can mean plenty of things, but in a way, the hope is our guideline which goes through the whole album.”
The sublime 'Shining Shades' opens with a suspensory groove, floating drums and distant trumpet motifs that lead you into the darkness. 'Butterfly Globe' is a more tender and spacious track as gentle trumpets ring out in melancholic fashion over loose broken beats. The title track features Finnish jazz pianist Iiro Rantala, who has long been associated with the wonderfully weird and visionary Töykeät trio. It is a track full of longing, with heartbroken piano keys and chords swelling to an overpowering crescendo of emotion. 'Conflict Dance' has more signature trumpet motifs swilling about the mix, this time with sci-fi synths and turbulent drums heading into battle.

'Lost In Balance' features Finnish jazz bassist Eero Tikkanen. It has a deeply hypnotic groove and a real sense of hope in the trumpets that soar above. 'Resolution Of' ups the pace again, with rumbling bass and thunderous claps, shimmering drums and a rising sense of tension that will have dancers on their toes. 'Uneasy Tones' closes down with scintillating techno-jazz improvisation, thumping drums and busy melodies that have you in a frenzy.

The superb A Thing with Feathers is an immersive musical starting point that triggers plenty of deep thought and just as much carefree dancing.


released May 26, 2022

Aki Himanen: Trumpet/Electronics
Aleksi Kinnunen: Drums, percussions
Iiro Rantala: piano in “A Thing with Feathers”
Eero Tikkanen: Double bass in “Lost in Balance”

artwork by Polygonia


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Jazz-o-Tech Berlin, Germany

Jazz-o-Tech is an innovative project which puts together techno producers and jazz musicians. A powerful sound and an innovative concept: this is Techno Jazz!

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