TENHI - Airut : Ciwi


Be still, O wand'rer!
Apr 26, 2002

TENHI - Airut : Ciwi
Band: http://www.tenhi.com/
Label: http://www.prophecyproductions.de

A beautifully packaged rough paper digipak EP from Prophecy Productions, released somewhere between Kauan and Väre, this probably includes some of the most mournfully romantic music TENHI have to offer. Where Kauan offered slightly more conventional song writing to depict imagery of, say, mists afloat a morning lake, and Väre drifted dangerously close towards relaxation therapy for middle-aged fans of world music (well, my mum likes it anyway), it is Airut : Ciwi, captured in 19 minutes across three songs, that seemed to find the perfect balance between ‘hippy campsite’ and ‘parental yoga session’.

The first track, “Tuulennostatus”, sounds horrific. It carries the essence of evil on its wing. I would never have believed that an Aboriginal didgeridoo could sound so beastly, set to the pitter patter of tabla drumming and demonically possessed narrative in Finnish no less. (What a scary sounding language, I thought the Germans owned that copyright. And weren’t Finland cornered into sympathizing with the Nazis? Can you imagine that bunch coming at you? They could ask for the time and I’d surrender peacefully.) The song is obviously a headphone affair, as is almost anything that exists on Prophecy, and even though it’s only 1:48 minutes long, it gets the job done. If I ever make a horror movie where some naked chick is running through the forest at night, I’m giving TENHI a call for use of this song.

“Kielo” is of course the centerpiece of the EP, delivering just over 10 minutes of sorrowful regret, the absolute rue in “hearing the morning reach out for day, listening as time walks by amid flowers drifting, now colors seem obscure, the gray veil deepens here to the old soil”. Yes, there is no wonder why EMPYRIUM were once obligatory label mates. A song like “Kielo” wouldn’t go amiss on Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays, with the major difference falling somewhere in the vocal range (and language). TENHI manage to double track their vocals, where one vocal track rests on the deepest range you can imagine, just short of a singing note, and of course that adds to the overall eeriness.

“Ciwenkierto” is probably the beginning signs of what eventually appeared on Väre. A drum keeps the beat at a constant rhythm, and throughout the guitars, violin, piano, etc, a Jews Harp signifies the uniqueness of TENHI. I’m not sure of the outside influence on traditional Finnish folk music in general, but sometimes there is as much middle-eastern ambience as there is anything significantly European. To add, when TENHI employ didgeridoos, they manage to go a few thousand miles further and reach out to Australia for inspiration.

So to compare, if EMPYRIUM romanticize the idea of laying down to rest eternally in the woodland, TENHI capture the song of the departing spirit. There is slightly more momentum in TENHI’s music, with the rustling of leaves having just caught the breeze, as opposed to falling to a standstill. As mentioned in my Weiland review, TENHI is a perfect accompaniment to ULVER’s Kveldssanger, or the last two EMPYRIUM albums, and I cannot imagine why fans of one would not enjoy the other. However, since this is a 19 minute EP, I cannot recommend this before one of their full albums. Start with Kauan today.

You know, I have a didgeridoo. I bought it in Cairns, and took it all the way back to the UK with me as handluggage. I can play it, but I can't do that cyclic breathing thing.

Brilliant instrument, if you can play it right (like these Tenhi guys)....

Is this still available anywhere? Like a retard, I didn't buy it when I had the chance and now I can't seem to find it. As much a fan as I am of Tenhi and Harmaa, I cry everytime I realize I don't own Airut: Ciwi.