Subterráneo

Photo: Lauri Salo

PEKKA KUUSISTO (violin)
IIRO RANTALA (piano)

Violin player Pekka Kuusisto and pianist Iiro Rantala rank among the most highly rated musicians in their home country of Finland due to the fact that they are both topnotch instrumentalists, but also because they don’t shy away from constantly seeking new grounds of expression. Their new album takes duo into the world of Tango by means familiar from he heyday of Modern Jazz.

When two first rate musicians with strong artistic personalities meet in an environment new to both of them, remarkable things may happen. Ideally their shared vision plus a fruitful frame of reference result in the unique project flourishing in its full potential with surprising ease. This is exactly how the album “Subterraneo” was born.

The key to the sonic world of “Subterraneo” is analogue sound and a carefully measured dose of lo-fi aesthetics. Worn out violin strings, the mysterious “nail piano”, plus the spontaneous audience reactions add a personal touch to the album. In the spirit of the aforementioned old school mentality, the recorded performances were not edited using modern studio technique. Instead, the artists selected the one performance they liked the best all in all, the third one, and included it on the album as it is. They also hang onto the 45 minute length of the original LP’s, and the album is also released on vinyl.

The selections on “Subterraneo” reflect the two artists’ own tastes in music. The emphasis was on challenging themselves with songs normally not heard in the form of Tango. The tracks are Tangos alright, but at the same time they echo Kuusisto’s and Rantala’s more familiar fields of work, namely experimental Chamber Music and Jazz.