Kuollut Muisto is back with their second EP of no wave folk music noise. Their style hasn't radically changed from their debut, but there has been some development.
The EP opens up with a short noise-burst with manipulated vocals, before taking a sudden turn to calmer dimensions on the second track. "Mustamantra" is based on some acoustic drones and random noise creating a scrappy mass, which serves as a backdrop for some simplistic but still appealing array of chimes and clangs. The track is not the easiest one to comprehend, but its mix of soothing chimes and experimental noise works well in creating an intriquing soundscape. The following tune is again a shorter one, and it's focused on misusing a jouhikko (or a similar bow instrument) to create discorded while still organic lower tunes. These notes are backed by some random chimes and very lo-fi drumming on a regular drum set. The track is a more deranged counterpart to its predecessor, and works well in a this short form.
B1 sounds pretty much like its name implies; maniacal shamanic chanting teamed with rhythmic percussions and a hostile, unpredictable feel. Too bad that the tune is so short, as I bet the group could've harvested a lot more from it. "Tekopenis" goes into doomier directions, similar to "Mustamantra" but with extra blackness and with the ritualistic feel having been replaced with minimal and more foresty instrumentation. B3 sounds like a maniacal second part to "Hippipiiritys," and the closer continues even further on the path of instrument abuse and shouting. These songs with shouted vocals underline the EP's partly imbalanced mixing; the vocals are way too loud, and it's overall pretty easy to note that the soundscape and the different instruments' balance hasn't been too adjusted, and some of the songs have different volume levels. It's not as major as my words might make it all sound like, it's actually pretty slight, but still something that I wanted to point out for the band when thinking about their future releases. Small adjustments could've made the EP at least somewhat more powerful, especially regarding the last two tracks.
It's clear that the group has gone forward, and that now they've found a more natural approach to getting/beating all the noisiness out of the traditional acoustic instruments without relying too much on additional and unnatural distortion. The soundscape's livelier, too, despite it's slight lo-fi nature as the EP was recorded with a four-tracker. Although the band well demonstrates their new-found skills and matured style, there are some things that could've been done better. The EP has a decent flow from one song to another, but most of the songs themselves are simply too short. In addition to making this release more of a teaser than an actual stand-alone release due to making the band give an incomplete image of their skills and capabilities, it also makes the songs sound imbalanced due to them suddenly switching from short and noisy beatings to longer and more atmospheric tunes. I don't know if it was the band's intention to make the release sound like a teaser, but I was expecting for something more evolved, refined and overall ready. The EP presents many great ideas and experimentations, but ones that haven't been explored far enough.
Despite the need for development, (even more) boldness and adjustment, the EP sounds pretty fresh and even more promising. I just hope the band would give more time and thought into going through their ways of approach - although it might be a mistake as well, as it might eat away some of their chaotic elements. Be it how it may, it would be good if they found more original ways to unleash and emphasize the chaos instead of the loud and maniacal vocals, as they really bring the mood down in the two last tracks. Oh, and thumbs up for the stylish artwork.