Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More funk from Finland

Finland is not a country I know a whole lot about, but I'm constantly surprised by the cool music that comes out of the place. Which should be too surprising I guess - cool music can come from anywhere - but in particular, the way that Finns have absorbed the essence of black diasporic music - funk, soul and jazz. I've written before about deep-funk instrumentalists The Soul Investigators, and the techno-jazz-funk of Jimi Tenor, even the surreal phenomenon of Finns singing bhangra.

A couple of other Helsinki-based artists have infiltrated my headspace recently. First up, The Stance Brothers, who play what they term "garage jazz"; 70s-style jazz underpinned by raw funk rhythms yet with an unmistakable modern feel. It's the brainchild of drummer and producer Teppo Makynen, and while the band lists members with names like "Isaiah Stance" and "Byron Breaks", I suspect those are merely aliases of Makynen himself, or maybe some of his Finnish mates.

Capricorn is from the new album from the "brothers", entitled Kind Soul.


Makynen is a busy boy; he's also the drummer for jazz combo The Five Corners Quintet:


More on the soul tip is Tuomo (surname Prättälä), a vocalist and keyboardist who does a nice line in retro-styled grooves. Some of his stuff recalls 90s acid jazz for me (think early Jamiroquai), but I'm particularly enamoured with this track First, which chugs along in a slinky groove with a particularly nice vocal performance; reminds me of Al Green, which is a significant compliment.

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