23.9.2023 HELSINKI, FINLAND
Text, photos and video: Mikko A.
After countless noise shows happening in Finland during 2023, there seems to be no end in sight! My own noise gig frenzy currently ongoing two months. Every weekend something happening. At the busiest weekends even two or three different gigs going on at the same time! Saturday 23th was no exception. Besides event I went, there was experimental sound gig day before in Helsinki and would have been another Helsinki noisy experimental gig on saturday, with long time operating Grey Park returning to live activities. Next weekend will be again two days. Friday, Puce Mary will play show at Espoo city and saturday, bigger harsh noise event in Turku! Week after that Umpio and others in Tampere city! Already now, there has been announcements and talk about multiple 2024 events, including international acts and two days events.. from spring till later autumn!
Despite seeing most of these bands live couple weeks ago in small town Kouvola (find video clips from Special Interests youtube channel), I was interested to see how they all work in this small Helsinki place. Tiny garage turned into sort of pop-up UG venue. Decent PA system perfect for the size of place. Now they had even build small stage.
Night started with project that was not mentioned in the earlier gig poster: Finno-Ugrian Suicide Hypothesis. I talked with couple guys in the audience and they mentioned this project has yet to publish anything and this would be their first live show. I mentioned I know the name, and received some flyers earlier this year. I was told it is not possible, since they have just started. When talking with members later evening, indeed, I had been sent some flyers with rubber-stamped logos over artwork and such. F.U.S.H. had many of the elements one could associate with Finnish noise. It had the manual junk metal noises. Metal bucket filled with garbage smashed with axe, but also ”rural” vibes coming from hundred years old hand made kantele instrument scratched with rake, some hardline ecology Linkola samples, long haired Black Metal t-shirt wearing member screaming through chain of distortion & efx pedals that mutated it into plain noise. Several good moments during the set. They had various different set ups and ideas that constituted ”songs” in live set. Harsh noise, yes, but not merely improvised chaos. As a debut show and opening act, nice start!
I have seen Augmented Atrocity at least three times this year. Despite set was pretty close to what he has been doing in previous occasions, this must be the best of the A.A. gigs I have seen so far! Compared to previous gig in same place, difference was like night and day. If that show was drunken chaos and technical challenges, this gig was pretty much perfectly executed. Compared to two previous gigs, there is just something in tiny claustrophobic space filled with loud noise, that gives me thrills. While former Helsinki gig was good, and Kouvola gig I complimented about the apocalyptic locations, still, this white tiny garage corner with merciless PA blasting right next to you, and perfect balance of noise and vocal levels… it clearly shows how A.A. is step by step becoming better and better. I would also prefer if he would record new material with this type of rugged basement sound as opposed to vastly clearer digital production he had on the album.
Hail Conjurer & Absolute Key was great surprise in Kouvola, but again, I must say that the closeness of live act, the high energy level of the sound, and how it occasionally leaned closer to harsh noise or almost power electronics qualities as opposed to ”ritualistic black noise” vibes, it was absolutely better from one before! Basically, the same set, but as they actually play it live, balances and timbre changes. Location as well as sound systems gives neat unique touch. They will be performing soon live in U.K., both doing their solo sets. 23.11 Bristol, 24.11 Manchester, 25.11 London! Anyone from UK is strongly recommended to check out their live.
Ahola & Silander has played their ”junk metal crushing” -live set multiple times. Due smaller location and perhaps for sake of change, they decided to do something else. Duo is known for not having any exact style or aesthetic. They are noise, or at least noisy, but seemingly flexible to do almost ”whatever”. This set started with pretty straight forward harsh noise duo action. Both members engaging fast modulations of their gear and shaking or scratching some source acoustics. In middle of set, delay/echo treated vocals emerged and slightly odd drum machine pattern took over for a while. Little by little they returned into more active harsh noise. Good thing being the relaxed mood, where neither of the members seemed to be busy keeping everything firmly under control, but kind of allowing noise to develop and go into various places. If there was some less exciting moments, it was merely detour that soon would lead them back into sweet spot of noise action. This felt like positive element, which is kind of fresh approach compared to calculated sets where everything goes by the book – so to say. Audience was excited enough to yell for encore. Ahola & Silander actually played it. In a way, funny, but also unnecessary as they had just stopped into climax of harsh noise highlight with 20 minute set… and then after little hesitation plugged gear on again and did few minutes more.
Organizer mentioned that this would be the last time using this space. Now many of the new venues discovered by noise organizers have been good, but are also somewhat temporary solutions as many of the locations used during 2023 in Helsinki, Tampere, Oulu are no longer possible in the future. Noise itself lives out of ”temporary solutions”, so I am sure there will be new places and new venues. When you really just need some sort of room with electricity, and everything else can be loaded in fast… solutions will always be there! I would estimate there will be something still later this year and most definitely 2024 will be something that foreign people may want to keep eye on Special Interests forum gig announcement section, as there may be things happening worth to plan little noise holiday in the north!