7 May 2008

Aurora Borealis - Aurora Borealis


Label: Kalevala Records
Year - 1997

What's the official press biog on this particular piece of Finnish indie work, then? Who are Aurora Borealis, what do they stand for? Let's see, shall we...

Two superb ambient sound-paintings, from this reclusive collective of shamanic Artists, Poets and Musicians. Deep within the Arctic Circle, far from the cities and industrial decay of the modern world, they have produced these sonic sculptures, influenced solely by the protean wastes of their Lapp homeland. This is sombre, soulful and dreamy stuff - right from the heart of the Lapp zeitgeist. But don't think that it's in any way colourless, joyless or impenetrable, far from it - Those of you who have cooled your souls at the eternal 3 a.m. of melancholy, will find much in this music which speaks directly to your secret mind.

Hmm, right. In actual fact, in case you really needed telling after the heavy-handed hints, this record was partly (and perhaps even largely) the work of Bill Drummond out of the KLF, trying to pass himself off as a Finnish indie record label owner releasing the work of Finnish bands. Whilst it's certainly true to say that he often used Finnish musicians in this bizarre project, the song was normally his, and the record label and concept most certainly was. The band were also figments of his imagination, with biographies invented before they’d played or written a single note. Some of the releases included Zodiac Mindwarp and Drummond dicking around with the celebrity roadie Gimpo, whilst others (like this one) contained Finnish session musicians up for the fun of the concept.

Whilst plenty of the singles the bogus Kalevala Records label put out were iffy to say the least, and in some cases obnoxiously awful, Aurora Borealis is like the best parts of "Chill Out" distilled to a neat few minutes. The difference is, where "Chill Out" had a grasshopper-chirping, humid, southern United States vibe, this track is very arctic, frosty and Finnish. There are elements of "Albatross" by Fleetwood Mac about it (which, incidentally, is one of Bill Drummond's favourite singles of all time) - but ultimately, it's a beautifully warming and slightly melancholy winter tonic. If the aim was to give it a ludicrous dash of novelty, in my opinion all concerned failed. It's a wonderful piece of ambient work, and one a wider audience deserved to hear. It’s a pity this was a very limited edition, designed never to be reissued as soon as everyone unmasked the person behind the work.


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