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Avarus - Vesikansi

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Artist: Avarus

Album: Vesikansi

Label: Secret Eye

Review date: Jun. 29, 2006

A member of the increasingly notorious Finnish cabal that includes Kiila, Kemialliset Ystävät, and many others too difficult to spell and impossible to pronounce, Avarus bring the noise, in their own way. Vesikansi offers a 46-minute live performance from Dublin in April of 2005, divided into three songs over four tracks.

These cuts are squawky, squeaky, unidentifiable sound collections, occasionally but only rarely settling into a vague Krautrockian groove, the sort that Sunburned Hand of the Man can lay down while in the throes of chaotic blur. At other times, Avarus could be channeling the friendly side of Wolf Eyes, or the free jazz cousin to Excepter. The seven-minute "Lapsivesi" is quietly cacophonous, droning yet always active. Calmly psychedelic this is not, and towards the end it gets pretty ferocious. "Loylyvesi" starts somewhat more quietly, but that's a trick, as it gets pretty intense. This is noise in a relatively mellow manner, though, more Smegma than Hijokaidan. It's nonsense music, a mishmash of could-be-anything sounds blending together in an alien stew.

The same title, "Vissyvesi," is used for the third and fourth tracks and includes the participation of Tara Burke, a.k.a. Fursaxa. The first segment, over 18 minutes long, starts with buzzing and scraping, and proceeds from there through more changes than I care to count. At times there are even recognizable voices and guitar pluckings, and about halfway through it settles into the first of a series of rhythmic nods, a heavy stomp that actually makes me wish for more of the same. But the band has to move on, and so they do. In the second segment, they spend the 11 minutes spanning the history of sound from guitar licks to vocal choruses to burbling synths and clashing cymbals. It's both beautiful and ugly, sometimes simultaneously.

The album is difficult, at best, to describe at length, so perhaps I'll just sum it up as being for those for whom it's for, if you get my drift (and theirs). This is psychedelic in the same way early Faust was, in that it teases the brain, but certainly ain't the Dead, unless you took all of their tuning-up exercises and layered them atop each other. This is free music, almost as if the sounds had minds of their own and decided to get their groove on. But their groove isn't one recognizable to us humans. Not that it matters.

By Mason Jones

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