CD, Onyxia, 2007
In the air, the soil, the blood, some peculiar element hidden somewhere in the layers of a place called Finland acts as catalyst, inspiring some of the most obscure, minimal and bizarre sounds, stretching and bending the definitions of music. No surprise that audio-surrealist no Xivic (Henkka Kyllönen) calls it home, and that his latest work, “Yksityisyys”, is a masterful blend of emotive drones, ambient noise and spiritual soundscapes. The title, surely baffling to most, is explained as “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure and deep satisfaction to the mind, arising from sensory manifestations (such as shape, color and sound), a meaningful design and pattern”. Fair enough, though in context such abstractions steer the music toward the auditory fringe, the sensory periphery – and that’s precisely where it belongs.
Opening track “Kaunotar Ruuturouva” sets a spiritual tone for the disc, building off a drone that fades in from nothingness to arrive at a cathedral atmosphere of high-vaulted spaces as hymnic tones swell and recede alongside organ purring. A gentle wash of water concludes it. “Yksityisyys”, however, is a work of contrasts, typified by the discomfort many might discern in its second piece, “Flex Dental Zwei”, which moves from its conversational, bustling beginning into increasing noise and chaos, finally letting loose the unmistakable piercing shrillness of a dental drill. Afterward the terror subsides, transformed into fluttering, rumbling bass and the sound of breathing near the end. “Koirantappo” follows a fluent trajectory from the ambience of a quiet drone, with piano tinkling in the background, to being overtaken by a factory thrumming, then pushed to the limits with gushing, apocalyptic destruction. Toward the end, again the dread abates, and the piano returns. Spiritual atmospherics cycle back in “Sininen”, where a hypnotic voice speaking an alien tongue counters the melodic piano and, ultimately, a relaxed machine drone. The escalation to an engine roar, surging into the high-energy spectrum, is revisited in “Manala”, and occurs following various creaking sounds over mellow, textured drones.
Three years in the making, “Yksityisyys” is a mercurial set of seven compositions upon which Kyllönen has instilled a careful architecture in both form and color. Using a mixture of drone work, found sounds, fields recordings and musique concrète, he has generated an auditory experience that surpasses standard visualizations of reality, instead nullifying worldly imagery and emphasizing emotional perception and vision, organic duality and density. These experimental sound collages are inspired in part by visual music, their dreamlike structures awash in nuances that require multiple listens to detect and appreciate.
— Dutton Hauhart