Sakari Ahola is a Finnish fellow, and this is his debut demo of space ambient music. The demo comes in a paper slip with home-printed and shamelessly retro artwork. The only way to buy the demo is through the artist's email: sakari-a(at)windowslive(dot)com.

As the cover image implies, the songs sound rather retro: minimalistic and spacey compositions with analogue synths. The opener relies on delayed notes echoing into the distance with really minimal backing, and although it sounds pleasing it's too short to become anything special. Its follower is a greater success with its five-minute long portrayal of silence and movement in space. Simple note-loops echo around, signal-sounding singular notes pop up here and there to create variation, and longer notes have a nice tremble that gives an image of something moving and living. It's simple but tasteful, and manages to paint a vivid image.

After the vivid "Forgotten..." we're taken to more mellow and serene spheres. Engram is a three-minuter that relies on a few long notes and slow three-chord melodies to create a peaceful atmosphere. It succeeds in this sense, but it could've been taken further and been given more variation and detail to make it stand stronger on its own.

The last song relies on similar long notes to create the compositional background and atmosphere, but holds more detail in the form of some trembling notes and spacey beeps and bops. Right when I start to enjoy this lively soundscape, it morphs into an improvised chaos of soft notes and more spacey effects. The ending is a good twist, but its execution makes it sound messy in a bad way, as if the artist didn't handle his instruments well enough to make it more intriguing.

The demo presents four songs of tasty space ambient with an overwhelming retro-feel. The songs are honest and appealing, but it seems like the artist didn't develop them far enough; they're nice bits, but especially the first and third songs could've been a lot better if they had been made longer and had held more varying elements and detail. "Cosmic Countdown" is a good game-opener, and I hope it gives mr. Ahola more confidence in executing his vision.

3 / 5