REVIEW: Kauan - Lumikuuro
Bad Mood Man Music, 2007
"Kauan" is a Finnish word that means something like "a long period of time." Apart from this, it's also the name of a Tenhi album. As you might have already supposed, you'll find traces of Tyko Saarikko and Ilkka Salminen compositions here. Nevertheless, let's get closer to the heart; I'll crave an easy approach to their music saying they're sort of "Tenhi meets Shape Of Despair." What a pair, certainly. But the point here is the fact Kauan aren't just a sonic cauldron of both acts. These Russians advocate the sound of simplicity, blending folk ambient music with doom metal in a quite straight forward way. They don't over-use layers of sound, pretentious arrangements and so on; notes are rather naked, the music is charming and cold at the same time. The keys often adorn the sound with desolate melodies and short notes instead of using long backgrounds. Tenhi glimmers in the piano passages (less weird in Kauan; maybe more akin to Harmaa rather than Tenhi) and violin parts. Shape Of Despair are a reference in the mesmerizing mid paces and the guitar focus. Kauan are halfway between both, showing a touch of their own, being more accesible. Vocals are not growled; they're clean or raspy. Some promotional devices pointed out Agalloch and Empyrium signs, too. In my opinion these are less evident, if they really exist. "Lumikuuro" means "snow rain," if I'm not wrong. The sensations I felt while listening to this piece of music were as if I was on a godforsaken lodge in the middle of a forest, watching the snow fall gently outside the house. I've been pretty explicit, I think. Neither minimalistic nor baroque, it's simple but quite effective music that these guys perform. Towards the end of the album the quality goes down a bit, since the best moments are in the first half of the track list. However, Lumikuuro is a nicely balanced debut that suggests plenty of good things to look forward to in the future.
Now, closing these lines, the swift reader is pondering why Russian song titles are so similar to Finnish. The answer, in an interview to come here, at Tartarean Desire. Stay tuned!