There's a strange world, located in the mind of a composer who resides in Finland. This world is unlike anything we have ever encountered. There are strange animals and plants. There are deep, dark caves and huge, bright mountain tops. A river floats gently, disturbed only by rocks and odd looking insects. There's a warm breeze which could turn quickly into an icy cold storm. This world is unpredictable but beautiful, bizarre but soothing, distressed but warm.
With Nielu, Utu Lautturi has created this odd world. This dark ambient album reaches a bit further than most others in this genre. Soundscapes, drones, manipulated field recordings and noise elements are supported by traditional instruments like violin, piano, organs and guitar. Although this might sound typical for the dark ambient scene, this act uses this combination in a unique way. Nielu has a tremendous folk-feel but is unlike most of the folk ambient releases I've heard.
The weirdest song is 'Mother Mountain, Father Stream', incorporating an almost unearthly atmosphere both in music and in vocals. It's a creepy, warm and quite astonishing song. Other songs have the same odd sound, but without the vocals. In 'Pu-Erh Tea' we see Rasplyn visiting this world and lending it her distinct dreamy vocals to create something supernatural.
Yet, there is still more to experience in this world. In 'Wait And Witness' Utu Lautturi proves his
talent by composing one of the most tolerable noise tracks in history. This is a huge collection of
drones and soundscapes that creep, crawl and gnaw, fade in and out but never let you go. But this is no harsh-noise-wall, this is drone-ambient from a very high level and with an intense organic feel.
Even the percussion in 'Lint' is out of this world. It provides little grasp on the whole. In fact, it makes the album ever weirder than it already is. Nothing on this song is 'conventional', yet suddenly it starts turning into a chilly dark jazz track. Again, totally unpredictable and highly surprising. I can't help but being absolutely stunned the further I explore this imaginary world.
Maybe Utu Lautturi is a musical genius because what he created is mindblowing. By exploring the boundaries of music and blatantly crossing them he turns simple-hearted dark ambient into an elaborate piece of highly effective experimental music. No song remains the same, even a dark drone track like 'With Mouths Of Fingertips' suddenly gets a sense of melody and rhythm.
These are just a few songs of an hour long album that never ceases to amaze me. I've listened to Nielu several times now and still I discover something new here and there. If you're in for a musical adventure, you should really check this out. For me, it's time to wander back into the real world now but I'm sure I will be back soon...