Some things are worth waiting for. And the people who have fallen in love with Kiki Pau’s 2013 masterpiece, “Pines”, over the past 5 years have certainly been pining (sorry for the punning) for a follow-up from the Finnish quartet. And now the wait is over.
Kiki Pau has been in semi-hiatus mode for five years but they did spend the last two summers laying down the magic that is their latest offering, “Hiisi”. Hiisi is an old Finnish word originally denoting a sacred grove, place of worship, cemetery and, later on, various types of mythological localities. Later Christianity-influenced folklore depicted hiisi as evil gnomes, spirits, or other demonic trickster-like entities. Linguists have estimated that it also might have described those and their lands that didn’t incorporate agriculture and Christian belief and kept the hunter-gatherer way of life and pagan ways at the times of the agricultural revolution and conversion.
Says Kiki Pau: “The album got the name because the song ‘Hiisi’ felt close to where we’ve been going to musically during these few years when playing together to our practice room walls. The song is pretty much improvised and live apart some overdubs and effects. Although the song name or its meanings weren’t thought about initially, somehow it resonated with the album sonically and thematically. The album is like a spontaneous mystical experience whilst getting lost on a camping trip in the woods, shedding light into the dusty dark corners of our (s)elves and finding a way back, perhaps a bit sore but more complete.”
As Beyonders, we can certainly dig where they’re coming from. “Hiisi” is built from four long and winding compositions, which take their cues from folk, jazz, progressive rock, Krautrock and free improv. Opening with a lovely, lilting folk ballad, by the second song, ‘Sarkofagi’, we find Kiki Pau stretching far out into pastoral prog and serpentine space rock. The title track, presented on this LP in two parts, slow-builds into full-on polyrhythmic groovy motorik bliss, fleshed-out unhurriedly yet intensely over the two sides of vinyl. This all makes way for the final (and longest) track, ‘Seeds’, which pretty much encompasses it all; with jazzy melodies, spastic fuzzy jamming and bucolic birdsong. And then finally…leaving you back to your own breath (perhaps the true album closer) with actively-attuned awareness. No need to rush back to the stresses of the world outside the Hiisi. Bask awhile.
Thanks, Kiki Pau, for taking us there.