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Padna - Alku Toinen

  by Keith How

published: 5 / 7 / 2015

Padna - Alku Toinen
Label: Aagoo Records
Format: CD


Eerie and melancholic but captivating latest album from Padna, the project of Brooklyn-based experimental bedroom artist Nat Hawks

Before the music comes the artwork. Graphic designer Bas Mantel’s cover both inside and out is a carefully constructed collage using source material based on disaster reporting from old international newspapers. The results reveal a fascinating new piece of journalism that is both intriguing and effective, and gives no clue to the music enclosed within. 'Alku Toinen' is not an album you will be dipping in and out of. Opening with a sense of reverence and a looped descending chord sequence played on a keyboard, 'Horse' has a quietness that is invaded by some manipulated horse-speak before fading away. It is captivating stuff. For the sonic explorer this record is the equivalent of gold dust. Eno piano and geese cries backed by manipulated sounds give 'Wolhee' an air of meditation that brings a sense of unease to proceedings. This unsettling air is the glue that binds this whole concept together and renders the music captivating. Each composition, like the album cover, is a collage of sounds, thoughts and ideas. All unnecessary complications are cut away leaving space and time for the sounds to settle and find themselves. The listener has time to breathe and sink into the atmospheres. Sound fields come and go, while strange unearthly voices wail like forgotten souls and disappear into electronic doodles. A thunderstorm brings a sense of loneliness and desolation, and this language weaves its way through the whole album. The aforementioned thunderstorm introduces 'Threatening Weather', a distorted and slightly scary tour-de-force of swirling sounds that seem to totally envelope the listener. The second movement of this composition leaves yet more unease that captivates you. 'Pinao', like the title track, is a distorted piano number, which sounds like it has been played in some abandoned bar with an audience of unsettled spirits who join in a fragmented chorus. Outside a sign squeaks in the wind as more ghostly voices join the proceedings. The whole sense of isolation found on 'Alku Toinen' can be summed up in this this thirteen minute epic alone. I am reminded of 'The Disintegration Loops', William Basinski’s etherial loops dedicated to 9/11. Minimal soundscapes use old music samples on magnetic tape, although Padna’s work here is more structured. The journey ends with 'China', a strange mash-up of oriental voices and strummed guitar. The pervading atmosphere of 'Alku Toinen' is of loneliness and emptiness and yet this is a captivating listen that has the ability to touch your emotions. If minimalism and experimental ambience floats your boat, then give this gem a whirl.

Track Listing:-
1 Horse (As Sung by Fae Jur)
2 Wolhee
3 Praire Pine
4 River Divination / Murmured Parting
5 Threatening Weather
6 Piano
7 China

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