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machineries of joy


music review:: aavikko:: derek

somewhere far away in the universe, there is a magical world that is ruled by the machines. the machines go to work, they have perfectly efficiently functioning little cubicles that they enjoy and perfectly efficiently organised little homes. they have mild-mannered parties where they chatter, mingle and, occasionally, dance. and at these post-modern tiki parties, aavikko’s derek is the soundtrack.

it is one of the great paradoxes of modern music that popular rock, with its origins in the gritty world of delta blues, more often than not sounds like it was churned out from a pattern on a military computer, whereas music made to sound as far removed from anything remotely human as possible should have such feeling. derek is not emotional in the sense that current 93 records are emotional, but it’s carnival-like organs and hip syncopation is so genuinely joyful that i would venture that it is impossible to listen to this album without cracking a silly grin.

what’s doubly strange about this band is that they hail from finland, not exactly a country one would associate with all-around fun and grooviness. listening to this, one can’t picture the frozen tundra, the way one could on releases from, say, aural hypnox. nor can one picture the individuals who actually worked to hammer this stuff out. despite its deceptively human name, derek belongs to the machines and they are apparently immune to the frozen bite of finland’s winter.

it’s always tempting to dismiss music like this as the stuff of novelty, but experience has taught me to be a little more patient. the fact is, much like there is nothing inartistic about comic writing (see earlier post), there is nothing that stops happy music from being good music. the melodies here are catchy as hell and the combination of kraftwerk and cocktail party elements with an edge of noise makes it strikingly original. what could there possibly be to dislike.

the record is almost frustratingly short- pretty much a given when your longest track is 2:54, but, as any great performer knows, it’s always best to leave your audience wanting more. apparently, in their far-away mechanised paradise, the machines have learned this as well.

available from solnze records.

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