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© 2005 Kaarina Luova


cd-r, edition of 50 numbered copies

Sateenvarjo (38:29)

Recorded during spring/summer 2008
Ester poland are L. Väinölä & T. Vatanen

Prices (including postage):
4 € in Finland and EU
6 $ elsewhere

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Ester poland at MySpace
Ester poland at Mikseri.net
More Ester poland at Wooden Sherpa Records
Ester poland:

lvjcdr009 (2008)

Sateenvarjo is the fifth release from the Finnish noise 'n' racket duo. Album contains one long and epic jam, a psychedelic trip which blasts all the way from Riihimäki into the darkest cosmos.

One day session produced the basis for the track, and later on some further recordings were added. On Sateenvarjo one can hear a pleothra of instruments used, including guitars, bongos, harmonica, rhythm egg, kettle lid, bottle caps and "minimoog computer simulation program". All this producing a huge, edgy piece of multilayered sound and noise — or: music.

"Ester Poland on oikein aidosti tunnistettavissa Luovaja-yhtiön bändiksi. Se tekee hyvin häröä kokeellisuutta, josta ei oikein ota mitään tolkkua. Jankkaavaa plink-plonk –taustaa, hälyisiä puheenpätkiä, pieniä old school –konesoundeja. Ensimmäisellä kerralla inhosin levyä, toisella kuulemalla se enää ärsytti, kolmannella muuttui jo kiinnostavaksi.

Kuudennen kuuntelukerran kohdalla aloin hiljalleen jopa pitää siitä. En silti kuuntelisi Sateenvarjoa toistuvasti kotonani, sillä rasittavaa ja levotonta tavaraa se ehdottomasti on. Lisäksi se hiukan kärsii soundeistaaan: toisella (lue: kliinisemmällä, kirkkaammalla ja kylmemmällä) tuotantojäljellä materiaalin ottaisi kekseliäänä elektroakustiikkana. Tällaisena materiaaliin jää hiukan tarpeeton kotikutoisuuden leima, jota se ei oikeastaan ansaitse.

Paljon, paljon hienompi kuin miltä ensi alkuun vaikuttaa. Yksinkertaisuudessaan hyvin kekseliäs." (Jiituomas / Kuolleen musiikin yhdistys)

"Ester Poland is at once recognizable as a Luovaja label band. It creates very bizarre experimentalism, of which there is next to no making sense. Repetitive plink-plonk background, noisy speech snippets, small parts with old school machine sounds. On the first listen I hated this album, on the second it was just annoying, on the third it started to interest me. On the sixth listen I slowly began to like it. This is nevertheless not something that I’d listen to at home, for it is definitely irritating and restless. Sateenvarjo also suffers from its sound tone: With a different (read: colder, crisper and more clinical) production style, the material on it would be received as clever electro-acoustics. In the shape it is now, there’s an unnecessary feel of home-brewing to it, one that it does not really deserve.

A lot, lot finer than it initially appears to be. Very clever in all its simplicity." (Jiituomas / Kuolleen musiikin yhdistys)

"Aiemmin useitakin äänitteitä julkaisseen Ester Polandin Sateenvarjo (Luovaja, 2008, CD-R) oli oma ensitapaamiseni tämän duon kanssa. Ns. positiiviset vibat sai aikaan tämä. 40-minuuttinen psykehoure kärsii kapeahkosta soundista (tarttis kosmisemmat mittasuhteet), mutta itse musa on kyllä kivaa. Kuulokemusaa, ehdottomasti (semmonen sekametelisoppa, voipi tarttua kaikenlaisiin pikku yksityiskohtiin) ja vaikkei tämä toistuvaa kuuntelua taida oikein kestääkään niin pariksi illaksi kyllä riittää kiintoisaa nojatuolimatkailua." (Ville Moskiitto / Huuhkaja päivänvalossa)

"'Sateenvarjo' – which means ‘umbrella’ in Finnish – is a dizzying, disorienting affair. Equally mind-bending is the video – which can be found on YouTube – that accompanies the release. Imagine a cross between Tomutonttu and a straightforward folk guitar record and you’re pretty close to visualizing the racket created by the Ester Poland duo on this CD-R. The single, sub-forty-minute track blends aimless guitar strum, synth whale song, bizarre samples and a variety of other miscellaneous sounds into a mile-high dust devil hurtling across a deserted salt pan. There is barely room to breathe as the cacophony continues to grow until the final few minutes, at which point the various sonic elements fall away gradually. Taking a cue from another tribe of Finnish weirdos, the pseudo-legendary Avarus, Ester Poland have spoofed a folk record and have let us all in on the joke. Released in a hyper-limited quantity of 50 copies on the Luovaja imprint, “Sateenvarjo” is another chapter in the cryptic tale that is modern Finnish psychedelia. 7/10 " (Bryon Hayes / Foxy Digitalis)

"Ester Poland is a Finnish experimental duo and in a hilariously intimate twist the artwork that comes with this release reveals the bedroom in which (I presume) they recorded the music. Given the incredible weirdness of the music, this domestic imagery strikes me as marvellously (and even somehow appropriately) incongruous.

This single lengthy track is a chaotic, raucous experimental release with a science fiction aesthetic (of that kind of sci-fi which the world of the 1970’s projected onto the future) and a wildly undisciplined impact.

Weaving together endless drones, buzzes, programmed arpeggios, beeps, along with more conventional synth piano and heavily processed guitars, Sateenvarjo spills out over the listeners’ ears with an inexorable and torrential momentum.

Occasionally the random splatter of acoustic guitar chords join the music, threaded through the vast trails of echoing and reverberating keyboard and electronic guitar noises. This creates an incongruous effect, like a street busker stranded somewhere in the Milky Way and performing for passing flying saucers.

The music tends to be barely musical – often it strikes me more as a barrage of conflicting sounds. The elements themselves may be musical but the net effect of their concatenation is very unconventional and, indeed, alien.

Woven through the chaotic morass of keys and guitars and delay are strange vocals, of one or many people yelling, shouting or the like. Not, as far as I can tell, articulating lyrics – more like “uuruurughghggh” or “woohoowwwoowhhoooo”.

Sometimes small fragmentary vocal loops come to the form but it is really impossible to see them as more than just another element in the sonic chaos.

Sometimes small fragmentary vocal loops come to the form but it is really impossible to see them as more than just another element in the sonic chaos.

Apart from the occasional recurring motif, there really isn’t much sense or structure to this release – it’s a very anarchic musical experience. There seems to be no sense to when or why different elements enter or leave the mix; often it really does sound random or perhaps like they just recorded a whole heap of fragments and then compiled them digitally in a purposely quick and haphazard fashion.

Unfortunately this means that there is little narrative to this release and little dynamic development. It doesn’t really sustain any theme long enough to begin to move us into a different state of consciousness or point of reference.

The scattered and fragmented assault of the music/noise is disorienting and obtrusive. I find personally that the music is too cluttered and unstructured to sustain focussed listening; but too jarring and awkward to serve well as ambient/background music.

Yet it isn’t “extreme” or particularly dark or abrasive. Somehow I find myself able to prefer much uglier and more elemental music to this.

As such it sits uncomfortably in my awareness: either my brain is not sophisticated enough for this outing or this outing just isn’t all that great. And I really hate to say it – but I actually find my interest shutting down completely after a while. It takes an effort to sit through the whole thing and not feel bored (and again, this from someone who can find very minimal ambient to be riveting!)

The music comes across as though it seems to think itself very clever – but really, there isn’t much risk taking or vision that I can detect. That’s a pretty damning response to make, and I as always am hesitant to be so harsh, but this is just the truth of my experience. I’ve listened repeatedly in order to overcome my aversion but although this strategy often helps me - well, it doesn’t in this case.

Positive comments? These guys certainly know how to manipulate sounds and they have many interesting ideas. I like the way they weave polyrhythmic synth lines together too. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be much thought for the big picture and so what might be interesting in small doses becomes a source of tedium when it runs for 38 or so minutes.

Still, Ester Poland seemto have plenty of life left in them and if they can temper their florid imaginations with more clarity, direction and pre-meditation then their future releases might offer something much more intriguing. No need, then, to automatically avoid them in future – but do listen before you buy." (Henry Lauer / Heathen Harvest)

©2008–2009 Jaakob Karhu