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Islaja

Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh
Wednesday October 24th 2012
3 stars
It will all work out fine,” murmurs Merja Kokkonen, aka Finnish 
electronic chanteuse and Fonal Recordings artiste Islaja, as she stands 
before her keyboard and assorted accoutrements. Kokkonen is sounding 
decidedly snuffly for her return trip to Edinburgh following her last 
visit in 2010. Islaja's appearance is a slightly downbeat climax to a 
quadruple bill of very different electronic imaginings.

First up is Anak-Anak, the solo guise of Conquering Animal Sound 
vocalist and knob twiddler
Anneke Kampman, whose looped warbles sound like a strangely penetrating 
and appositely spartan chorale. 'Raven 'Shuns is a Noise-scene 
supergroop of Rhian Thompson, aka CK Dexter Haven, Stuart Arnot and 
Susan Fitzpatrick, who record as Acrid Lactations for their own Total 
Vermin label. Combined, it's a quiet riot of toy-town scrapings that 
might just have discovered the true sound of string.

Tomutonttu is Kokkonen's touring partner and fellow Finn, Jan Anderzen, 
who stands over a table-top full of FX pedals with which he conjures up 
an urgent science-fiction stew. Islaja herself opens with an analogue 
instrumental with nods to John Carpenter's early, synth-based film 
soundtracks before giving way to an understated set of breathily 
classicist ditties on which the snuffles eventually give way to low-key 
pleasures. Like the woman said, it worked out fine. 

The List, November 2012

ends


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