Trepaanit, Halla (Trepaanit, 2007)

Trepaanit are a Finnish folk music quartet consisting of Riku Kettunen (mandolin, kantele), Antti Paalanen (accordion), Eero Turkka (vocals, jouhikko, harmonica), and Olli Varis (bouzouki). All four members have extensive resumés in the Finnish folk community, but Halla is their first album together. With just seven tracks spanning nearly an hour total, Halla reflects the band's affinity for extended, deliberately paced musical pieces. Trepaanit generally keep the mood calm and pensive, punctuated only occasionally with some singing or, on the piece "Nyyhkytys," with a period of intense dissonance.

While the band doesn't let their basic sound stray too far from the confines of Finnish folk, their compositions run to a much longer length than is typical for the genre. If anything, the tracks on Halla have a feel more like Indian ragas than anything Finnish. They take a long time going from point A to point B, and the listener really needs to pay attention to appreciate the movement in each tune. That being said, the album really did start to grow on me after several listens.

Trepaanit firmly believe that patience is a virtue, and Halla requires a lot of patience and an academic attention span to fully appreciate. But if you're willing to sit with it a while, you'll probably find it worth the effort.

overall grade: B

reviewed by Scott

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