Lau Nau: HEM. Någonstans (CD, Fonal, July 2015)

There are some records I like because they challenge me. There are some records I like because, from the first notes, I feel like I’m at home. This record falls into the latter category. Which is not to say it’s uninventive, ‘cos it’s far from that… just that this combination of modern classical, ambient effects, and just a hint of folk could be tailor-made for where my head is at a lot of the time these days. This record is the soundtrack for a film by Lotta Petronella, a “boldly poetic documentary film that takes place in the remote archipelago, asking a question: Will the human soul ever find a home?”. Which is basically exactly the effect that this music evokes. The most prominent instruments are some unusual-sounding traditional strings, played by Pekko Käppi, who is “the emperor of jouhikko“, which is a 2- or 3-stringed bowed lyre, as any fule know. There’s occasional gentle piano, something which sounds a bit like a bow being scraped on tuned glass tubes although frankly I’m guessing there, ethereal vocals on one track, and a bunch of electronic washes. Like the landscape which inspired it, it’s strange, fascinating, and beautiful.

(The title is Swedish — although both Lotta Petronella and Lau Nau aka Laura Naukkarinen are Finnish, and the setting is in Finland, I think it’s the corner of Finland where they mostly speak Swedish, and the film is in Swedish… never let it be said that I don’t do my research… — for HOME. Somewhere. I am tempted to do a back-to-back listening of this with Sigur Rós’s wonderful Heim, itself the soundtrack to the home-coming tour documentary Heima, Brock Van Wey’s Home, and possibly Peter Broderick’s Home too. ‘Cos that’s how I roll.)

I bought this from the label shop.

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