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Uton - Mystery Revolution

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Artist: Uton

Album: Mystery Revolution

Label: Digitalis

Review date: Oct. 19, 2006

The music by one-man band Uton is like a mirage; just when you think you’ve got your hands on it, it turns immaterial and melts away.

Jani Hirvonen, who comes from from Tampere, Finland, deploys sounds with extraordinary care. Random-sounding percussion, droning keyboards, hesitantly plucked strings, and echo-bathed flutes drift in and out of the mix like ghosts moving on and off the stage of some eldritch pageant set in a crumbling factory at the edge of an old-growth forest. “Naurumme Hetken (Seuranna Otto)” would be a fitting soundtrack for some spook house; the keys hover for a time and then wind down while chimes clank and toll, blinking in and out like glimpses of some distant torch procession. “Taivaan Sini Sokea (Soikea)” is even more eerie; guitar licks slither and writhe like tentacles, grasping after the wordless singer who sounds like he might be trying to crawl out of the track on all fours. “Kuun Käsi Kävelee” plays up the music’s mechanistic elements; while flutes call forlornly from the next hill, synth bursts start and stop like a truck whose engine won’t quite turn over. The following track “Unohdettu Välipala” leads with an asthmatic squeezebox, but monster-movie organs overtake it like little green men engulfing a space age Gulliver with tangled cables of twisted melody.

Hirvonen makes especially apposite use of shortwave radio on “Psykosoaattinen Luuranko”; its distorted voices and crumbling static ooze around a music-box tune like some malevolent fog covering the advance of just-landed aliens. But as nifty as Uton’s music sounds, each piece recedes from memory as soon it ends, like a spell whose power only lasts while it's being recited.

By Bill Meyer

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