Wine tasting

Music in the radio is like wine tasting. It’s all 99% same. Just the label is changing. All the people who are familiar with the structure of pop music know that there aren’t actually too many ways to make a hit song. It’s always basically the same. Only thing changing is the style and the fashion. I was listening to a ‘cool’ song of a Finnish musician and it hit me that I couldn’t tell if the song was good or bad. The only thing was that it was cool and I just didn’t identify with the particular breed of coolness.

I was discussing this with a friend and he agreed that it’s hard to tell a real song from a faked one. What if that once believable alternative rock band is actually downloading it’s music from an internet hit song generator and copying their style from the hip alternative urban peoples magazine. Could you actually tell the fraud? Could you just take a generic formulated pop song and disguise it with the coolest hippest most underground sounds and get away with it? Well, I think you can and that’s how most of the music is actually done. It’s brand marketing and the music is just a way to market the actual stuff they sell (jewellery and clothes lifestyle products etc). The music just has to fulfil a medium high standard set in advance, and that’s about it. No real creativity involved. Just brain wash the kids and take their money.

Well I’m not all cynical about music business. I think the business is based on the basis of human behaviour (Hey that’s probably even more cynical!). We have a ‘reality’ inside our heads that’s a sum of a million concepts. It’s a system that evolution has created. That reality is usable survival tool but it’s also advertisers most sought after prey and they want to get in there. I try to be aware about my reality so I don’t run to buy an iphone or a poker face ringtone for no reason. Of course your ‘reality’ is not the reality itself so it’s not such a big deal after all. But it’s a way of conceptualising the true reality. It’s also a way of recognising a label on a wine bottle. How much it affects the way the actual wine tastes is the real problem.

-Okko

Festival Surpas, Portbou

Yesterday i bacame the happy owner of a new kim kim udu. Having already spent all my savings in Spain, that means i’ll be eating oat meal for the rest of this month (and maybe next month too), and trying to explain to my lady why there is again a new piece of pottery / strange exotic instrument filling our livingroom. But i’m happy sitting on the sofa, slapping that ka-goong-boom hour after hour for my neighbours’ delight.

How did we come to this? It all dates back to a night in August in Catalunya (and of course my obsession with strange looking loot that makes sounds).

After spending two weeks in Barcelona and other parts of Catalunya I ended up to the French border, in the city of Portbou, a picturesque town of one thousand people and a fascinating history from the Spanish civil war. This is the town where Walter Benjamin lived and died, and many others wept for their former home land as they tried to escape the fascist regime to France.

Not much happens in this nowadays amazingly peaceful town (they don’t have police officers, for example), except every year in August, as Festival Surpas brings art to the streets and old buildings of Portbou. It’s hard to describe all the different forms of art you can enjoy, not only as a spectator but also as a participant. Theater, cinema with live bands, street art and various kinds of music everywhere.

There is also a strange Finnish twist in this festival, bacause one of the four main organizers is from Finland. So this year, among Spanish artists there were also Finnish composer Martti Parkkari, photographers Pekka Turunen, Sanni Seppo and Ritva Kovalainen, and musicians Teho Majamäki and Tapani Rinne.

The first night Teho and Tapani played an acoustic duo concert in the huge 300m long tunnel that goes under Portbou railway cargo area. An amazing soundscape as the music started rotating in this round tube-like space. What happened after the concert led to me being broke now. I was helping the musicians with practical matters, like carrying their load of instruments to the hotel. Or that was the plan. Of course the musicians wanted to relax after the concert, and in the end we had spent three hours in the tunnel drinking wine and talking music. That is where i had a chance to try Teho’s new, hand made udu designed by himself. Booom. Playing the finest udu i’d ever seen, inside a space that actually was like one big udu, that was mind-blowing.

After returning to Finland i had an obsession. And after spending many sleepless nights i finally one night destroyed a bottle of wine to get the courage, and ordered myself a new baby. Despite all financial facts. Now it is here. And here am I with a stupid grin on my face, doing my booom, bouomm, booom.

(Next year Festival Surpas – I suggest you go there and see it)

-Kili

Cleaning the drawer- New song out every two weeks

That’s what we’ve been doing and will be doing till the end of the year. We have been playing as as band since 2002 and we have embarrassingly low amount of songs published so we want to change that. We’ve been recording old songs and producing new ones and we’ve made a promise to publish one piece online every two weeks till the end of the year (the next publishing date is in the end of next week [week no. 37]). By the end of the year 2010, we should have enough songs to be sent to a mastering studio and finally make a full lenght cd. The cd as a media is a little old format but I think people still like it. We shall have also full high quality album in downloadable format at the same time the cd is published so you can have a hifi addition to the streaming mp3’s. We’ll make an announcement about the updates on our blog and other medias (our blog will be updated at least once every week).

In addition to the upcoming album, we have a shorter cd in the making. Next thursday we’ll have a little workshop where we’ll make a short ep out of the songs that are already done and mixed . We’ll carry a box of those ep’s with us on our next gigs so people might get one as a souvenier if they like our show.

We have plans for other forms of content too. We’ve created a Youtube account and any time soon we’ll have a new music video uploaded. We have already one video finished but there’s been some difficulties with the final production so we can’t tell exactly when we can put it out. It’s a huge video (at least when measured in working hours). It has 3d animation and motion tracking going on so be prepared :). We’re going to make also a smaller mini video that we’ll shoot as soon as the weather conditions are perfect. It’s gonna be a nice lyrical autumn forest visualisation of the song named Hierro.

There’s also a nice new lineup additions on our next gigs (couple of new faces) but we’ll make a dedicated post about that later on. So here’s some of our current plans and ideas but keep checking our blog for there will be a lot more things to come.

-Okko

The owls are not what they seem

Autumn is near. I know it when I can relate to the crisp autumn colors in the greatest TV-show ever made, Twin Peaks. I know it when my mind is at the same time a little wistful to let go of summer and at the same time waiting for the nights to turn darker. We bought our first apartment this summer and one of the top criteria was to have these old broad window shelves on which you can burn candles. All summer I’ve been waiting for a nice cloudy evening when I can huddle up on the sofa with a pair of wool socks and light the candles. (This has of course been a little bit difficult with the heat wave lasting the whole of July.) Candles and wool socks make you safe. But then again, they need to be balanced by something scary, like a box of Twin Peaks DVDs, that I now have been watching again, non-stop.
It’s always autumn in Twin Peaks. I’m sure it would be easy to write songs there. At least for me autumn always inspires me to write. There’s more contrast in the air – autumn is just tuned right for my tone of voice. I think Bajo Cero’s best songs are always born in late summer or in the autumn. They always carry something eerie, like batting of dark wings in the night sky or the sound of your own fears, whispering in your ear. It’s a good thing we have wool socks.

-Anna

We come from a far away land – (more new material out)

The road was all black, but you could still see a bit of blue on the darkening sky, though hundreds of miles of yellow electric motorway lamps made it hard to see anything apart from the white paintings on the 100km/h road. This was Sweden, last year, after driving sixteen hours in a beautiful landscape. And still, four more hours to go. Approximately. My favourite music was playing, the rest of the band sleeping, except for those who woke up every now and then to make a nasty remark to keep me awake while driving. Mist was rising…

Our neighbor Sweden is a beautiful country, I must say. And after 20 hours of driving through that country we finally reached our goal, a small flamenco festival near Stockholm, four in the morning. Nordic summer was about to begin, more than a thousand kilometers South/Southwest of our hometown, so we took a quick bath in the sea. It was about the time to go to sleep.

It was the next morning we started to get the basic ideas for our now published song, Espejo. Hours (of waiting for the late night gig to start) brought us quite a good idea of what we wanted to express with those sketches of a song. Sounds from where we had left, Ultima Thule, but also sounds of the land we had seen on our way to the South, though for most of the world the whole part is North. There is a lot of land up here, and you are sure to notice that when you drive from one place to another to play your music.

This song is not flamenco. It is just music, and we love music. For some mystical reason this is our music.

Please listen to the latest Bajo Cero song at our home pages or at www.myspace.com/bajocerofin

-Kili

P.S: Thanks to all the participants on that gig in Sweden, that was truly a night to remember!