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Kemialliset Ystävät - Ultra

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Artist: Kemialliset Ystävät

Album: Ultra

Label: Outa

Review date: Apr. 15, 2005

In an interview with visual artist Jan Anderzén, the brain behind Kemialliset Ystävät, he told me that he liked the idea of his music and art traveling around the world in the form of CDs, LPs, 3” CDs and vinyl singles. One gets the impression that Anderzén does not distinguish his visual creations from his audio ones. When one compares the two, they share many features: Byzantine and disorienting detail; lack of conventional perspective in favor of obsessive layering; no definite center; an abundance of dissonant elements, from minute squiggles to long wavy lines, pasted into enchanting collages. Ultra shows that KY’s work is more tape art than music, more tactile audio experience than a linear progression of sound.

Without offering anything radical departures, Ultra, a limited edition 7” single released by the Finnish Outa label, extends Anderzén’s by-now extensive discography and collects three miniatures that concisely capture KY’s most common approaches. On the A-side, a gaggle of stunted, wobbly riffs – made by piano, electric and acoustic guitars, ribbons of electronic tones and flutes – blur into a buzzing din on “Elämä ‘jatkuu’ (Life goes on).” Spectral, pre-linguistic chants and bent synths make up “Olemme pala aurinkoa”. On the B-side, “500 miljardia enkeliä (500 Billion Angels)” is a noisy tapestry of frantic, scurrying squeals, leftover bits of percussion, vaguely barnyard sounds, Donald Duck-like babbling, flailing zithers and thick pulsing drones.

By Matthew Wuethrich

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