Ukkonen is a Finnish "artic-house" producer. Debut album 'The Isolated Rhythms Of.' was released on Uncharted Audio in 2012, and was met with considerable underground acclaim. Despite a self-declared "zero interest in dance music", The Wire magazine called his work "a solution to the problem of dance music".
Second LP 'The Ancient Tonalities of.' is a marked progression for an already prophetic talent. The record is built on two central themes: adulation and respect for influence and tradition, and a pressing desire to contribute something "new" to music. The record is in no way difficult; in its simplest form it's a striking, purely structured collection of ambient techno and leftfield electronica. Yet after repeated listens the intensity and breadth of the creative vision is gripping; it's an oceanic, enveloping work worthy of infinite re-listens and contemplation.
It is no co-incidence influence is both drawn from beyond the predictable, and from within it: composers Bartok, Messiaen, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Takemitsu are acknowledged alongside electronic totems Squarepusher andAphex Twin; early vocal music and the Ars Nova period (Machaut, Perotin, de Vitry) beside household contemporary minimalist and modernist composers and rock classicists Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix.
This catch-all extends to musical theory. Melodies are instant, yet among the techniques used are "mensuration canons" (one melody simultaneously played at different speeds by different voices to create it's own accompaniment); "isorhythms" (a fixed series of pitches run through a fixed rhythm at odds with the time signature); and "simultaneous tempos" (tracks utilising multiple tempos; some changing, some consistent). The record is built but not defined by these systems; the effect they have is simply of falling into the most lucid of intangible dreams.
Opening track 'A New Technique' gives the record an immediate emotional resonance, scattering featherlight pianos over a twisting, fractured beat; 'Eighteen Pitches' layers glacial synths with a pulsing almost-house groove;'Kayamanu Divided' and closer 'Three Durations' morph along a kaleidoscopic, impressionistic, frictionless pattern.
'The Ancient Tonalities of.' represents a sweet spot of genreless experimentation and unburdened technical enlightenment; a burning example of individual creativity utilising musical history; a record with a singular, simultaneous logic and magic.
"I intend to innovate - I want this music to push some ideas forward into the world. not to impress or try to be better or more clever than anyone else. It's done out of a sense of joy in doing so...joy in the creative process, and excitement at sharing the results."
1 A New Technique
2 Eighteen Pitches
3 Viva Las Huelgas
4 My Euouae
5 Color Cas
6 Iraupen Kuus
7 Kayamanu Divided
8 Planctus Voiceless
9 Nine Vjetar
10 Three Durations
Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.