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Siinai – Supermarket

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Siinai – SupermarketWhen I first saw the track titles for this album I was instantly reminded of Galactic Supermarket by The Cosmic Jokers. Spinning the CD I then found that that wasn’t too far off the mark, for this Finnish quartet has more than a touch of the Krautrock about them.

“En-Trance” kicks off things with majestic-sounding synths that are very Klaus Schulze in nature; they have a grandiose feel, like it was composed for some dying nebula. “Shopping Trance”’ has one of the finest motorik beats I’ve heard in a long time, with drummer Markus Joensuu and the bass of Risto Joensuu holding it together over triumphant-sounding synths provided by Saku Kamarainen and Matti Ahopelto. This is a triumph of what a pure cosmic push-ahead tune can do, and the touch of Neu! elements don’t go amiss either.

“Aieouyao” is a jaunty number that falls somewhere between ambient trance music, Kraftwerk and The Buggles and could almost be a hit. When the middle takes off I’m also reminded of early vocal-era Brian Eno; it’s toe-tapping stuff that has the kind of catchy tune that Jean-Michel Jarre can only dream of nowadays.

Ethereal chords open “Jonotus/Queue”, and here we enter the cosmic world of artists like Astropilot. It’s a track that hangs in deep space, drifting through the Oort Clouds and staring Galactus-like down at small worlds floating by in the endless void. The synths here are quite beautiful and timeless, an echo from the distant edge of the universe. The music is static, almost unmoving, with Tangerine Dream-style Mellotron choir swelling up now and then to send the listener into the realms of bliss. This is Jon Anderson‘s Olias of Sunhillow for the twenty-first century.

“Prisma” starts with a deep bass throb and synth washes over a slow beat that starts to pick up rhythmic momentum when some Steve Hillage guitar-picking comes in and the synths start to swell. This begins to sound like a soundtrack to the desert scenes in the movie of The Martian Chronicles, red skies above and the double moons, all underscored by the uplifting synths. This did remind me slightly of Zombi at points, but only because of the type of keyboard sound used gives it slightly a more progressive fill. “Smiling Cashier” breaks the languid atmosphere by producing the most straight-ahead rocker on the album. A steady beat is punctuated by some soaring guitar and a punchy, infectious synth ditty and rolling piano notes that add some Harold Budd-style ambience to the track.

“Vasikka” has a Pink Floyd tom-tom drum beat over some wonderful space rock chords. It is here though that we step more into Ash Ra territory, with the guitar sound being similar in style to Manuel Göttsching‘s. This is no bad thing, of course, as it fits the piece perfectly. “Exit” begins in a very Eighties Tangerine Dream way, the drums steady underneath big bass notes and the synth adding an otherworldly atmosphere. Again this reminds me at points of tracks on Eno’s Before and After Science, mainly because the beauty of the chords used has a certain elegantly melancholic feel to them when the track leaves vapour trails across the sky as it slowly makes its way home.

A stunning album, and one I wanted to spin again after I first listened to it. A great band and I will certainly look forward to grabbing their next releases.

-Gary Parsons-

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