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Tomutonttu - Hylyt

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Artist: Tomutonttu

Album: Hylyt

Label: Dekorder

Review date: Oct. 19, 2012

A somewhat baffling accumulation of sonic debris, Hylyt is the latest emanation from Finlandís Jan Anderzen, a member of similarly-abstract outfits Avarus and Kemialliset Ystšvšt. Presented as two untitled 20-minute pieces, making the trek through the proceedings is akin to crawling through a narrow tunnel: at first itís sort of fun, but after a while youíre sort of ready to reach the other end. Of course, if youíre claustrophobic then it wonít be enjoyable from the start.

From time to time Anderzen provides a foothold, often a percolating synthesizer arpeggio, and those moments help give some much-needed focus and a sense of progress. Things here feel crowded, but itís more the incessant movement than actual density that makes it feel that way. The real issue is the disjointedness ó it feels as though the sounds burbling, bouncing and squelching their way past donít really mean anything. Thereís no sense of a master plan, so itís simply a collection of individually interesting sounds which, brought together here, donít add up to anything greater.

For those familiar with Kemialliset Ystšvšt, the general philosophy of Tomutonttu wonít be too big a surprise, as thereís a similar playfulness and aesthetic at play. Here, though, thereís a more artificial, perhaps synthetic, approach. Where Kemialliset Ystšvšt seems aimed at an organic, maybe even pastoral, abstraction, Tomutonttu feels more alien and less analog, with harder edges and a sharper sound. Which isnít to say this is difficult listening, any more than, say, Nurse With Wound is ó itís difficult if youíre looking for "normal" music, but I expect that those reading this wonít necessarily be too put off by echoing, unclear voices, scraping spring-like strings, warbling synths, and buzzing electronics layered like a broadcast from the future thatís been accidentally scrambled in the transmission.

As these tracks play, itís easy enough to focus on a sound here and there and find something charming, and intriguing. But a few minutes later youíll latch onto another, then another, and soon you realize that while theyíre each individually interesting, you havenít really gone anywhere.

By Mason Jones

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