Lampen: Lampen

Finnish electric guitar, percussion and electronics duo produce a session of slow burning, groove-based improvisation


The last album I reviewed by Finnish guitarist Kalle Kalima was his “Wild West” inspired High Noon (ACT Music), recorded in 2014 with Greg Cohen and Max Andrzejewski. Witty, slightly kitsch, and good knockabout fun, Kalima clearly had a good handle on American roots music and shared common ground with Bill Frisell.

Lampen is in many respects a more earnest affair, though Kalima’s outlook often returns to those vast, desolate prairie and desert landscapes. It was originally a CD-only release from Karkia Mistika Records, but Helsinki’s We Jazz Records are now making the music available in both digital and luxuriously tactile gold vinyl formats.

Kalima’s trusty co-pilot is percussionist, drummer and demon sampler Tatu Rönkkö. A well-known figure on the Helsinki and Berlin experimental music scenes, he has collaborated with Jimi Tenor, Nils Frahm, Ilpo Väisänen (Pan Sonic) and Raoul Björkenheim. His motoric drumming will be catnip to Krautrock diehards, while those who fondly remember Björkenheim’s work with Paul Schütze’s ambient-jazz supergroup Phantom City are in for a real treat here.

At less than 35 minutes in length Lampen is really more of an EP than a long-player, though not a minute is wasted and repeat plays are inevitable. Other than Kalima’s Grün Und Grau the tracks are jointly composed, each an atmospheric portal into a world of slow burning, groove-based improvisation.

The title track builds from a wiry Tortoise-like riff, Kalima’s twangy guitar picking a path through Rönkkö’s crushing cymbals. Both players unleash a righteous storm on Grün Und Grau and Stempel, Dosen carries a dystopian air, while the magnificent Kerzen shifts from dustbowl finger-picking to acid-rock meltdown in the blink of an eye.

Thoroughly worthy of wider release, Lampen is a post-rock instrumental nirvana for post-jazz ears.

Lampen; Grün und Grau; Dosen; Kerzen; Stempel (34.42)
Kalle Kalima (elg); Tatu Rönkkö (pc, elec). Zentrifuge, Berlin, no date.
We Jazz Records WJLP 43, and digital download