Olavi Louhivuori, the Finnish drummer and composer, is not yet a household name in the UK but I hope he will be soon. Oddarrang is Olavi’s band and they have been creating albums since 2006. I first heard Olavi at St Georges Brandon Hill on Flight with Dave Stapleton and was struck by his theatrical style and sensitive drumming. He played with Tomasz Stanko on Dark Eyes 2009, and tours with him. Cathedral is his latest CD and Oddarrang consists of Olavi on drums, percussion, synths and piano. Other musicians play trombone, cello, church organ, voice, electric guitar and, most intriguingly, “noise”. This interesting combination gives the album its very different feel.
It’s exquisite, spacious and beautifully recorded. I was completely entranced on first hearing, it draws you into another world, beyond this one. The first track is called Prayer. It sounds like morse code and the morse reads “Love, beauty, eternity. Life is a miracle.” This is the thread running through the whole album. The beautiful cover enforces this message, a sense of permanence for the things that matter such as beauty and love.
The track titles are sombre – Prayer, Psalm no 3, Funeral, Holy Mountain are just some of them. But it isn’t gloomy. It is very romantic album with haunting, glacial, delicate tunes which build to a climax in Holy Mountain. There are interesting combinations of instrument – trombone and guitar for instance – which provide a very fresh feel to the sound. The mix of acoustic and electronic washes in and out with a dreamlike feel, the product of very painstaking mixing.
Cathedral was recorded in 2009 but only released now. In his blog, Olavi hopes his next offering will appear before 2015. So do I!
You can buy Cathedral on iTunes.