By Karen A. Mann. For most North Americans, their introduction to Finland’s otherworldly Oranssi Pazuzu came with the 2013 release Valonielu, an engaging head-scratcher of an album that seemed like a missive from another world.By Karen A. Mann.
For most North Americans, their introduction to Finland’s otherworldly Oranssi Pazuzu came with the 2013 release Valonielu, an engaging head-scratcher of an album that seemed like a missive from another world. The band followed up with 2016’s Värähtelijä, which launched the band’s free-form blackened psychedelia into the sonic cosmos -- and landed them on a lot of year-end best-of lists. While the band seemingly appeared out of nowhere with Valonielu, they actually had been recording and releasing albums in Europe for several years. Now, thanks to the band’s higher profile, 20 Buck Spin is re-releasing two previous albums and the band’s half of a split EP with Candy Cane, another band from Tampere, Finland.
The first, Muukalainen Puhuu, was originally released in 2009, and shows that Oranssi Pazuzu had a solid vision for their sound from the very beginning. As with every Oranssi Pazuzu release, the only constants here are singer/guitarist Jun-His’ corrosive, almost mechanical sounding vocals, and a sense that you just never quite know where the music is going to take you. Tribal drumming, discordant guitars and droning ambience all make an appearance. The organ does have a more prominent role in this release, and as a result, the music is a bit warmer than the band’s other releases.
Farmokologinen, which is Oranssi Pazuzu’s four-song half of the the split with Candy Cane, is much colder, bleaker and more dramatic. It’s short, but powerful, and shows the band fully diving into a more blackened sound. Perhaps because it’s so short, it’s also the most cohesive, least otherworldly of these re-releases.
The last re-release is 2012’s Kosmonument, a double album , which is unfortunately not on Bandcamp. The band returns to a spacey, rhythmic sound, at time veering into trance and blackgaze. Kosmonument was originally released in a very small quantity with detailed artwork, which 20 Buck Spin is replicating in this re-release.
There’s a lot to explore in all three of these Oranssi Pazuzu re-releases. Each offers a new musical ocean on which they seem to be the only qualified ship captain. Oranssi Pazuzu doesn’t defy genres as much as sail along unencumbered by them. The upshot: If you loved Valonielu and Värähtelijä, you will not be disappointed in any of these releases.