**Edition of 300 copies, already sold-out at the label. RIYL Eliane Radigue, Roland Kayn, Mika Vainio.** The 1990s were a fascinating moment for music. As punk, grunge, and various forms of electronic dance music entered the mainstream, new idioms of bedroom DIY, indie rock, metal, electroacoustic, and experimental music began to bubble in the underground. While often belonging to highly localised scenes and thus overlooked by a broad listenership in the moment, many of these gestures have proven to be profoundly important and influential and have left an indelible mark on the musical landscapes that have followed in their wake. Particularly notable among these were the albums that sprang from black metal scenes, emerging across Scandinavia during this era. While unquestionably the voice of new disenfranchised culture of underground youth, unlike the generations before them, these artists tended to be drawn to a more diverse and experimental pallet of sound that pushed far beyond the boundaries of metal. Among these stunning artefacts is Suuri Shamaani’s Mysteerien Maailma, originally issued on CD in 1999, and now receiving its first ever vinyl reissue as a stunning double LP by the Finnish imprint Svart Records. Tracing the outer borders of avant-garde electroacoustic and ambient music, it’s a brilliant exploration of vast, brooding space and bristling textures that, more than 20 years later, stands as a towering testament to the importance of the creative expansion to which it belongs.
Suuri Shamaani (The Great Shaman) was the moniker of Marko Laiho, known by many as Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance, for his black metal solo work under that name and others, as well as his efforts within the seminal Finnish project Beherit. During the mid '90s, Laiho become immersed in electronic music, an influence which increasingly steered his creative output, notably culminating in the aptly named Beherit albums, H418ov21.C and Electric Doom Synthesis, which contained heady doses of ritualistic electronics among their experimental guitar-driven metallic assault.
Emerging under relatively mysterious authorship on the Helsinki-based Spinefarm Records in 1999, Suuri Shamaani’s Mysteerien Maailma is arguably the crowning achievement of Marko Laiho’s journey into the sublime depths of ambient and experimental electronic music, achieving a fascinating creative hybrid that would have rested uncomfortably with a black metal listenership during the moment, and creating a fascinating darkly tinged counterpoint to works by figures like Mika Vainio, Rafael Toral, Christian Fennesz, and Oren Ambarchi, that were emerging at roughly the same moment.
Across 11 discrete works that operate as an elegant and coherent whole, Mysteerien Maailma kaleidoscopes into a starling universe of sound, making subtly tangible nods to the artefacts of mid 20th century studios like GRM, Columbia, Princeton, and EMS, while reimagining the idiom of avant-garde electronic music in a strikingly forward thinking and emotive new form. Deeply resonating passages of drone bubble with electronic textures and tonal utterances, while the static of captured frequencies and radicalized experiments rise and fall in vast expanses of ambience and space.
The unexpected child of experimental electronic, electroacoustic, and ambient music, bred with the temperaments of black metal, Suuri Shamaani’s Mysteerien Maailma is a truly revelatory immersion into the startling, free-standing world that emerged at the outskirts of the musical underground during the late 1990s. As potent and important now as it was more than 20 years ago, now pressed across 2 glorious LPs by Svart Records - the album’s first ever appearance on vinyl - it’s impossible to recommend enough. Issued in a limited, deluxe edition on black vinyl, this one isn’t going to sit around for long.