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(35:10, Art Safari Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Bogota Detective 3:57 2. Vlad 3:36 3. Ulan Bator 5:17 4. Aino 3:31 5. Novaja Zemlja 2:58 6. John Constantine 3:18 7. Aziru 4:55 8. Corto Maltese 7:30 LINEUP: Antti Tuonela – flute; accordion Miikka Mikipaakkanen – bass Tuomas Polo – guitars Marko Karjalainen – drums Sini Palokangas – saxophone; violin
Prolusion. The Finnish band JUUDAS ISKARIOTIN SUUDELMA was formed by Antti Tuonela back in 2009, based around a desire to create "new oriental etno music where the eastern spirit is strongly present". They released an initial self-titled EP back in 2010, and "Novaja Zemlja" (which is “New Land” in Russian) from 2012 is their official debut album.
Analysis. Juudas Iskariotin Suudelma describes their music, presumably somewhat tongue-incheek, as Mongolian ethno-punk and polka. Their overall approach is apparently inspired by the punk movement, while the Mongolian and polka descriptions most likely cover the peculiarities of this band's overall sound. The former aspect is most prevalent in the rhythms department. Apart from the rather complex bass and drums constellation of final composition Corto Maltese the rhythm support is of the easy and steady variety throughout. Solid, but not that imaginative and with a distinct subservient role in the overall proceedings. With that one exception at the very end that showcases that the rhythms department of this unit is capable of quite a lot more than they show off on this production. Dampened, staccato guitar riffs and lighter toned acoustic guitars motifs, both in mostly subservient roles, are also used in a fairly nice and easy manner throughout, although the electric guitar at times is given room explore an approach and delivery closer to what one might find in space rock bands constructing wandering patterns with an improvisational feel about them. But the aforementioned polka and Mongolian sound is the starring element on this album. We have flutes used to add a certain ethnic flavoring to the proceedings quite nicely; frequent use of the accordion does bring some polka tendencies to mind too, while the guest saxophone and violin do add a few additional twists to the proceedings. There's a strong and distinct exotic sound explored throughout, fairly often with what I'd describe as an oriental sound, incorporating both Eastern Europe and the Middle East in that description. perhaps with a touch of flamenco here and there too. And in a neat reversal of roles we're also treated to the companion tracks Novaja Zemla and John Constantine, the latter sporting a guitar driven, accordion supported theme variation of the accordion driven, guitar supported of the former. A nice treat, and while these compositions aren't completely identical, the main ongoing theme is repeated, and the difference in sound between these variations is a subtly intriguing one.
Conclusion. High-energy ethnic-flavored rock music is what Juudas Iskariotin Suudelma provides on their debut album "Novaja Zemlja". Sporting easygoing, steady rhythms with a somewhat more complex additional instrument flavoring supporting flute, accordion or saxophone soloing, all the time bringing forth associations to oriental-sounding folk music and occasionally with a few space rock inspired details of a more improvisational sounding nature. An interesting ride that should intrigue those who have a general interest in the meeting of ethnic music and rock, just as long as they don't expect to encounter distinctly complex and demanding music.
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