Led by by Finnish multimedia artist Jan Anderzén, Kemialliset Ystävät is an arts collective that includes traditional musicians, sound artists, music professors, field recorders and singers of all shapes and abilities. Their unique and brazenly nonconformist brew of electronic folk is as fascinating s it is emotionally devastating. Filled with fractured melodies, off-kilter percussion and bizarre arrangements (but driven by a completely compelling musical perspective), their music is involving and interactive, asking for as much as we're willing to give in exchange for its warped blend of cascading tones and occasionally impenetrable rhythms.
Leaving Records will release the group's latest album, "Siipi Empii" (roughly translated as "A Wing Hesitates"), on April 6.
"The English translation unfortunately loses all the music and rhyme of the Finnish title," Anderzén explains, "but the meaning's still there, kind of. The title is aiming to describe the movements of a butterfly and the weight/heat of the idea that every single flap of the wing can cause a storm/revolution."
On recent single, "Hengitä Sisään Ulos," they exude an alien musical presence, a willingness to evade understanding and offer up their work as a series of impressions and half-formed memories. This song is a torrent of noise, built from a mass of memorable ticks and hiccups that use what sounds like a bicycle bell, some wobbly synths, clacking drums, squelching effects and muddied vocal bursts in an effort to build a towering expression of anti-normalcy. This track isn't concerned with tangible things -- it wants to play around with the creatures hiding in the shadows of your subconscious. And there's no telling what adventures they might get into while you're not paying attention.