Paavoharju Yhä Hämärää

[Fonal; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: electronic psych-folk, ‘folktronica’
Others: Pierrot Lunaire, Lau Nau, Islaja

In addition to Christianity's now inextricable link to heinous politics in America, contemporary Christian music has another strike against it. Think, for example, of a wonderful love song. Now imagine that the song, instead of trying merely to communicate undying/burning/obsessive/passionate love, is trying to get other people to love the song's subject. Then, tinker with the song so that it fits into a time-tested genre (power ballad) or 'extreme' genre (pop-punk) so that it will appeal to the kids who are straying. While this is based on an impression I get rather than extensive research, I'm just not compelled to learn more. Oddly, then, it was upon learning the rumor that Paavoharju was a collective of born-again Christians that the band intrigued me. Instead of assured preaching, Yhä Hämärää is a testament to mystery, uncertainty, and beauty, evident even without understanding the lyrics. Opening up with the gentle noise collage of "Ikuisuuden Maailma," the aural palette is cleansed for "Valo Tihkuu Kaiken Läpi," which serves as a template for what will come: gentle acoustic guitars, layers of electronic noises, and a beautiful voice floating above it all. This is not to imply that the album does not vary; in fact these same ingredients are employed to create a notable amount of diversity, even veering towards a rock sound by the album's end. More than instrumentation, though, the songs are linked together by merit of being some of the most beautiful, mysterious music in recent memory.

1. Ikuisuuden Maailma
2. Valo Tihkuu Kaiken Läpi
3. Kuu Lohduttaa Huolestuneita
4. Syvyys
5. Puhuri
6. Ilmaa Virtaa
7. Aamuauringon Tuntuinen
8. Vitivalkoinen
9. Kuljin Kauas
10. On Yhä Hämärää
11. Musta Katu