I was challenged into writing a primer on one of Finland's primary songwriters of all time by u/Zhanteimi
at the LetsTalkMusic discord
. So here's an album-by-album runthrough of his career! Context
No artist's career begins with the first album, so naturally nor did Alanko's. Long story short, he was born in a highly artistic family (mother a poet, all siblings musicians), picked cello as his instrument of choice, found rock (especially the Hurriganes debut
) and picked a guitar, wrote his first song 'Suck and Fuck All Night Long' (no recordings of this exist, but apparently one of his bands named itself after the song), and formed a number of bands with varying levels of success. His most succesful pre-Hassisen Kone band was a prog band called Sight, which got on the second place in the prog section of Finnish Rock Championship competition (in 1977 or 1978). After he finished high school in the spring of 1979, he moved to Stockholm for the summer. This turned out to be the decision that became the catalyst for huge parts of his career, including... Hassisen Kone
- Täältä tullaan Venäjä
While in Stockholm, Alanko caught wind of a new wave of rock beginning in Finland. A breath of fresh air in the previously stale rock scene. He returned to Joensuu and put together a band from his bandmates from Sight (Reijo Heiskanen and Harri Kinnunen), and Harri's then 17-year-old brother Jussi. They eventually named the band Hassisen Kone, after a sewing machine store in town (the deeply religious shopkeeper was not amused).
The band recorded an album-length demo in 1979 and were signed on a label relatively quickly. They were also qualified to enter the 1980 Finnish Rock Championship competition (even though the judges nearly disqualified them, for they thought they might be professional musicians performing under fake names), which they won, gaining reputation preceding the recording of their debut album.
In August of 1980, the band released Täältä tullaan Venäjä
. Propelled by arguably the biggest hit single in Alanko's career, Rappiolla
[which was hilariously
covered by Metallica
recently (which was spontaneously responded to by Ismo Alanko
himself)], the album became a smash hit. The album provides variety from straight-up new wave punk to talkingheadsian grooves, schlager punk, simplified swing jazz, ska-infused rock, to whatever you'd categorise 'Viimeinen rock ennen aivokuolemaa' as. It's an ambitious yet consistent whole but, in my opinion, the weakest of the three Hassisen Kone albums. The youthful anarchic feel it has can be refreshing every now and then, but this burst of energy from an obviously young (only two of the bandmembers even in their 20s, band only half a year old) band is redirected better on the follow-up. Hassisen Kone
- Rumat sävelet
Following the release of their debut, the band found themselves in a position that many acts today would both fear and envy: they played hundreds of gigs in the second half of 1980 and the first half of 1981. The gruesome touring around the country took a toll on the young band, but that's only barely comparable to the toll that the audience took on them. For example, as time went by, the band grew tired of the audience drunkenly demanding 'Rappiolla', so they stopped playing the song altogether. This time of maturing and growing more and more cynical reflected on their sophomore effort. Rumat sävelet
should not necessarily be described as bleak per se, but it is certainly darker, tighter, and more mature than the band's debut. The band tackles sounds ranging from quasi-prog expression to post-punk, punk, psychobilly, and they take the talkingheadsian qualities into a sharper direction. The lyrics touch upon issues like love, exploitation, and sex (it's curious to think that probably the most explicit Finnish song about sex before this album was about "curly armpit hair", while Alanko dares to sing about penetration itself). I have to admit that I have a bit of a bias when it comes to this one though, as it's undoubtedly my favourite album of all time. Hassisen Kone
- Harsoinen teräs
(and High Tension Wire
In 1981, the band participated on a riverboat tour with a couple of other punk acts. During this tour, the bassist broke (drugs), Alanko met "Safka" Pekkonen, and the band was generally put under huge stress as the diet consisting mainly of alcohol began burning them down and their every move was documented by either film makers Mika and Aki Kaurismäki or the columnist documenting the tour for a zine. Despite all this, some of the better live recordings of the band come from this tour, and both the live album and the Kaurismäki documentary are worth digging up for the music.
After the tour, the band expanded into a septet with the addition of a keyboardist (Pekkonen), a saxophonist (Antti Seppo), and a percussionist (Hannu Porkka). The final form of the band was shaped during the rehearsals by the departure of guitarist Heiskanen, who was replaced by the guitar wizard Jukka Orma.
Released in March of 1982, Harsoinen teräs
is the band's most artistically ambitious work. It's an album combining the band's prog leanings seamlessly with the band's new wave leanings, a polished whole that takes cues from I don't even know where. Reggae at least on a couple of tracks, prog and new wave on most, but the general sound is unlike anything I've ever encountered. The album was re-recorded in English as High Tension Wire
later on in the year, after a tour had slightly tightened the band's sound. The decision to do so apparently came after the decision to disband the band, which makes it a very baffling addition to Hassisen Kone's discography. You'd think that they'd release an album in English as an attempt to break into international markets, right? Sielun Veljet
- Sielun Veljet
After Hassisen Kone was disbanded (in August 1982), Alanko had a schlager rock project
that eventually turned into Sielun Veljet by December. The band was comprised of Alanko, Orma, a drummer veteran Alf Forsman, Alanko's Stockholm contact Jouko Hohko on bass, Vinski Viholainen doing lighting, and a future cult legend Jouni Mömmö
doing "weird noises".
Sielun Veljet were signed in early 1983, but they refused to record a studio album because Viholainen's lighting work wouldn't show in a studio recording. Instead, as a compromise, they agreed on recording a live album where "the lighting would affect the ambiance". They set out to do this on a tour they began on March, planning on recording the first show and the last one. However, fate interfered and Orma accidentally cut tendons from his fingers during the tour while cutting bread, which made the recordings from the last show basically unusable due to his difficulties in adjusting to the situation (a very punk move to finish the tour even with torn tendons, by the way).
The live album is punk/post-punk goodness. It's noisy, no-wavey rock that really shows how the band took all the drugs in the process of writing these harsh, repetitive songs. It also shows that Alanko wished to abandon messing around with intricate compositions in favour of a more stripped and primal expression. Sielun Veljet
In summer of 1983, the band brightened up a bit to record this odd EP in a style following directly from the debut. It's angular and distorted, yet the melodies are more melodic and jamming less bleak. It's also the home of the only a capella punk song
I've ever heard. Sielun Veljet
- Hei soturit
In 1984, Sielun Veljet took their first coherent step toward a pop/rock idiom with their first studio album. Hei soturit
is the awkward outlier between the band's grimy punk era and commercial rock era. It feels like a punk band working with a producer who doesn't understand punk, but even the clumsy production doesn't entirely hide the fact that some of these songs are absolutely iconic. From punk to garage rock, general oddness, and flirting even with metal, this selection of songs does provide good variety for anyone digging deeper in Alanko's body of work. Sielun Veljet
The Sielun Veljet breakthrough album! The beginning of their rock era of albums, an only mildly angular affair with anthemic choruses and a muscular production. It was recorded after the band had toured all over Europe, honing their sound and Alanko finding a lot to say about international affairs and the human condition.
There are a plenty of anecdotes from the time of release of this album. The song 'On mulla unelma' was written by Alanko in Spain, when he was recovering from a disease (can't remember which one. Dysentery?) and bitter about nationalism, and it caused quite a scandal when the band unexpectedly debuted it on live television. They performed an impromptu Red Riding Hood play on their album release party instead of playing music. One of the members went missing in Russia for days after the band found a corpse. All of their instruments were stolen in Spain. There'd a lot to unpack from 1984-5 alone. Sielun Veljet
- Kuka teki huorin
The follow-up to L'amourha
takes the band to a funkier place. It's a minor downgrade from the previous effort, a slightly directionless and overpolished effort that has diverse variety from RHCP-like funk rock to tango-infused rock, tribal chants, and what's essentially watered down imitation of their earlier work. It's an easy album to criticise, yet I don't find ever to be outright bad. A lot of it is extremely forgettable though L'amourder
Sielun Veljet recorded a bunch of their songs in English as L'amourder
. Most of them follow the originals very closely, but there are a few surprises. The biggest change is on the translation of 'Tuulelta vastauksen saan', which has been turned into a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind'. Sielun Veljet
- Suomi - Finland Suomi - Finland
begins the last era of the band, as this album brings more acoustic instruments to the mix and begins to flirt with psychedelia in a way that will culminate on the follow-up. It feels like a breaking point for the band, as it sprawls on multiple directions at once, the musicians seemingly having lost focus. It feels like a band slowly drifring apart, yet it remains consistently captivating as the different influences come together in this chaotic work. "Various Artists"
Sielun Veljet performed under a number of false identities on their Onnenpyörä-tour, four of which make an appearance on this recording. All of these are cover bands of sorts, and each one of them had a different repertoire of songs they played on these wildly differing sets. The most noteworthy of these personae
are the pavillion dance band Kullervo Kivi ja Gehenna-yhtye and the rock band Leputation of the Slaves, the two having the most songs on the record. Sielun Veljet
- Softwood Music Under Slow Pillars
Who would have thought that the noisy punk band in 1983 would eventually release what could be called a psychedelic flamenco album in 1989? Many factors come together here, as the band continues on their effort to sell their music internationally by making the biggest left turn in memory. Orma's fascination with flamenco combines here with influences Alanko picked up in India and what could be called a somewhat logical progression from the budding psychedelia of Suomi - Finland
. It's a weird album, that's for sure. A bit inconsistent, but easily among the strangest albums I've ever heard. Ismo Alanko
- Kun Suomi putos puusta
In 1990, Alanko found himself in a situation where Sielun Veljet had almost run its course and he could finally start building a solo career. He recorded this solo debut as a quasi-concept album about rural flight, combining the various interest he wasn't able to pursue with the band into a unique singesongwriter album of sorts. It's a classic album and, in some ways, an ideal entry point into Alanko's work as it feels like it's his personal expression in its purest form.
The music on the album sounds mainly like pop rock of sorts, but it also takes cues from melancholic singesongwriter stuff, joyous showtunes, post-punk akin to Nick Cave's work, and some field recording experiments. It finds a good balance between artistic ambition and catchiness, and it's home to some of the most iconic tracks in Ismo Alanko songbook. Sielun Veljet
- Musta laatikko
Do you know Tom Waits' Orphans
? This one is kind of like that. Three discs filled with random stuff recorded over years.
The first disc, "Muistinmenetys", is one third a new studio album (very weird new direction to take, something that feels like a cross between chill hippie jamming and 80s dance pop), one third music from some production, and one third short excerpts from live performances. The second disc, "Taudinkuva", is mainly live performances of late 80s Sielun Veljet songs, Tuomari Nurmio covers, and some other oddities. And finally, the third disc, "Isältä pojalle", is a full pavillion dance set, the band LARPing as a suave and jazzy house band playing waltz, tango, schlager, and anything that's really expected of them.
This album is definitely a skippable one, but there are a few gems that an Ismo Alanko fan might get a lot out of. The flamenco pieces are cool, the Tuomari Nurmio covers are nice (more about those later), and that pavillion dance set is unexpectedly fun, especially if you're not already familiar with the tradition. Ismo Alanko
- Jäätyneitä lauluja
Alanko goes electronic! This album was originally lauded as cutting edge and a sign of significant artistic growth, but it has definitely fallen in popularity over the years. It sounds extremely like a product of its time, so if you like non-industrial synthpop-y rock from 90s, this is exactly your thing. Overall, it's still very surprising how many Alanko live staples come from this album though, and how some of his live bands have improved on all of them. Ismo Alanko
If someone doesn't think that Kun Suomi putos puusta
is Alanko's magnum opus, they usually pick this one. Taiteilijaelämää
feels like a combination of the first two solo albums (acoustic, electric, and electronic joining hands in harmony), but brought into the mid-90s rock idiom. The result is an interesting album that lacks real highs but remains consistently accessible, and the one Ismo Alanko work I've heard to have resonated with Beck fans for some reason. Ismo Alanko
I made the mistake of learning that this album was written in only two weeks (because Alanko wanted to test himself), and now that's all I can think of while listening to it. This does
feel halfbaked. The accessible rock sound it has is underproduced and covers up lazy songwriting more than once. That said, Alanko has later on proven that some of these songs can be absolutely amazing live, and the demo-like quality many of these tracks have can be seen as a feature instead of a bug. Pushing its flaws aside, I feel that it is underappreciated as an album, and feel like its high points deserve more attention. Ismo Alanko Säätiö
Säätiö was an interesting group. I'm honestly still a bit unclear whether they should be considered Alanko's backing band, a band that just happened to capitalise on his name, or a fullblown collective of musicians. Alanko's statements concerning the group together with the changing lineups on Säätiö albums both point to all three options. What I do know is that the band has two distinct eras, the first one kickstarted by Pulu
I genuinely believe that the first iterarion of Säätiö is the most important band Alanko worked with. The amount of pure talent in that band is staggering with Jussi Kinnunen (Hassisen Kone) on bass, Teho Majamäki (HC Andersen, Tapani Rinne, Ismo Alanko Teholla) on percussion, Kimmo Pohjonen (you will
want to check his solo stuff
) on accordion, and Marko Timonen (Värttinä, Tuomari Nurmio) on drums giving Alanko's songwriting a fascinating folk rock spin, reeking of schlager and eastern mysticism. Pulu
is an album that seeps nostalgia, is radical enough to upset traditional folk nerds, is accessible enough to have produced multiple Alanko live staples, and is significant enough a twist on Alanko's tropes to sound fresh even in his eclectic body of work. Yet, I feel like it's so self-referential that I feel like recommending it as anyone's first Ismo Alanko album could be a mistake. Ismo Alanko Säätiö
Säätiö playing acoustic renditions from the entire Ismo Alanko songbook, from Täältä tullaan Venäjä
. An exciting set, and definitely one of the best live albums I've ever heard. The band reworks this wide variety of songs into captivating folk rock, transforming the music into forms that defy expectations. There are some duds though, but not all fan favourites can sound great with just one band. Ismo Alanko Säätiö
- Sisäinen solarium
This is possibly the weirdest Ismo Alanko album to this date. It continues with nearly the same lineup as on Pulu
, but takes the music in a radically new direction, exploring what modernised folk could
be rather than wallowing on nostalgia. This means updating the largely acoustic instrumentation with both electric and electronic instruments, and creating an unpredictable tapestry of music with influences that are surprisingly difficult to pinpoint. Some say this kind of experimentation cheapens traditional folk (which is something I can agree with regarding some songs on this album), but I'm not sure if such a clearcut statement can be made of the full album. It's certainly aiming for a sound of its own. Ismo Alanko Säätiö
This is where Säätiö's status as a band becomes complicated. There's absolutely no reason to call this anything but an Ismo Alanko solo album, so marketing it as an Ismo Alanko Säätiö album is baffling to say the least. I mean, the only constants on this album are Alanko himself, the producemulti-instrumentalist Riku Mattila, and various symphonic elements (I don't want to downplay the work the symphonic orchestra and the string section do on this album, but they have
been used quite haphazardly). There are three members from the previous Säätiö albums involved in this project: Marko Timonen on nine tracks, Samuli Laiho on seven tracks, and Kimmo Pohjonen on one track. In addition to this, there's the bassist of the next iteration of Säätiö, Jarno Karjalainen, on six tracks. Thus, there are
Säätiö band members playing on the majority of these tracks, but never as a full band.
That all being said, I believe this to be the best Säätiö album. The melancholic pieces are beautifully fragile, the pop tracks are catchy, the massive songs are massive
, and the atmospheric pieces are chillingly well-arranged. And even the weaker songs here are excellent live, making this album probably the richest one to mine for a live set of any kind. Ismo Alanko Säätiö
- Elävää musiikkia
Honestly, this feels like a bit of a throwaway live album. On one hand, these rock renditions of a great setlist of songs are unique but, on the other hand, none of these performances improve on the studio recordings. 'Kansallispäivä' and 'Julkinen eläin' come really close though, both being sharper and meaner than the 80s versions. Ismo Alanko Säätiö
- Minä ja pojat
The first album with the second iteration of the band. Fuzzy rock in similar vein to Smashing Pumpkins and their kin, but played through the lense of Alanko's style of songwriting. It's never as hard-hitting or catchy as an album by a great rock band would be -- all of the songs soften up during the chorus -- but the youthful and slightly naivistic touch is welcome after a string of artistically ambitious albums. That said, I'm only attached to a single song on the whole album, which is definitely not a good sign. Ismo Alanko Säätiö
- Ruuhkainen taivas
The second (and last) studio album of the second iteration of Säätiö is a different beast than the first one, taking the rock approach to a slightly more complex direction. It's more mature and chromatic than the first album, yet I personally find it to sound slightly less inspired. However, at the same time, it does have more tracks that I would consider keepers and the general sound is harder to define. Thus, it's definitely a divisive album, conflicting.
I'm not sure how to describe the sound of this album. It's unmistakeably early 2000s rock, sounding like an average Finnish rock band from the era, yet the songwriting and the production also remind me of the band Wire out of all things. It's a digestible alternative/indie rock sound, whenever it doesn't abruptly go in a new direction. Sielun Veljet
- Otteita Tuomari Nurmion laulukirjasta
Remember those random Tuomari Nurmio covers on Musta Laatikko
? Turns out, Sielun Veljet recorded a full album of those in (I assume) late 80s. They didn't end up using those recordings for anything, so they were packed away and stored somewhere. Years went by and a good portion of those recordings were destroyed due to poor storing conditions, but someone was eventually inspired to put the surviving songs to good use.
You'll be in for a treat, if you like Sielun Veljet and have never heard anything by Tuomari Nurmio. Most of these covers are originally from Nurmio's early 80s albums, his strange new wave turned into the angular rock Sielun Veljet perfected. Some of these songs only barely work, some sound like Sielun Veljet originals, but most are just serviceable covers. It's still a good album though. Ismo Alanko Teholla
- Blanco spirituals
After putting Säätiö on hold (perhaps indefinitely), Alanko joined forces with Teho Majamäki, the first iteration Säätiö percussionist. Together they stripped down a number of Ismo Alanko songbook staples to a form they could perform as a duo, essentially bringing the strengths of Alanko's live performances alone together with the strengths of him performing with a small ensemble. This endeavour proved succesful, so the two recorded two albums of original music as well.
The music of Blanco spirituals
is surprisingly full. The two musicians fill space well, with Alanko singing and playing chord instruments (mainly guitar and piano), while Majamäki stretches himself as thin as possible, working a drumset, vibes, an array of percussions, an oscillating delay pedal, and singing backing vocals. It's usually at least two of those at the same time, often three. Him working in a live environment is a sight to behold.
This is honestly one of my favourite Ismo Alanko albums. The stripped down arrangements bring the most out of Alanko's songwriting. The selection of songs highlight very different sides of his style, from theatrical piano ballads to singalong acoustic guitar romps, silly pop songs, and trance-inducing rock. It's by no means a perfect album, but these simple songs all work in one way or another. Sielun Veljet
- Kansan parissa (1-4)
Archival live recordings of sets recorded around 1989-1991. The first one is a typical Sielun Veljet set, the second one filled with Tuomari Nurmio covers, the third one is material from Softwood Music Under Slow Pillars
, and the fourth one is a mix of subtle experimentation, new tracks, and deep cuts. Quite a comprehensive collection of live music. However, only few tracks are really worth keeping, including the electrifying high-tempo performance of 'Lammassusi' and the prototypical version of Alanko's 'Don Quiote'. Ismo Alanko Teholla
The simplicity of the previous album is gone, replaced by a polished and highly produced pop sound. The DIY duo sound gives way to a more layered style, where synths, samples, and doubled vocals are added to the band's sound. Acoustic instruments are largely replaced by electric guitars and synths, turning the folksy garage band sound to a sleak and radio-friendly beast. If the fact that I just phrased the same exact thing in three ways didn't clue you in yet, I'm not particularly fond of this change of direction. However, I've seen this ridiculously often called the best Ismo Alanko album since the 90s, so it does appeal to the masses.
If you like 2010s pop and are looking for a decent gateway to Alanko's music, this could be the album to start with. It's accessible. Hassisen Kone
- 20 vuotta myöhemmin
Hassisen Kone had a reunion in 2000. They played a show that was both filmed and recorded. It's an interesting document of musicians playing music they wrote 20 years earlier. However, it ultimately sounds a bit tired compared to both the tight playing on their studio recordings and the energy levels on their 80s live recordings. Ismo Alanko
- Maailmanlopun sushibaari
Remember when I said that most pick between Kun Suomi putos puusta
as Alanko's magnum opus? Well, this is that one for me. I'm not saying that to imply that it would be his best album, but it's the album where he finally brings his disparate influences together in a coherent but eclectic way. If Kun Suomi putos puusta
is where Alanko's artistic voice is at its purest, this is where it is at its maturest and most representative of the multi-faceted artist he has become during his career.
More or less incidentally, this is also Alanko's midlife crisis album. It's not entirely thematic -- who even knows what 'Kuusilmä' is about? -- but it does touch upon themes like growing old, dying, passing the torch, losing one's touch, and liking the colour grey. It's not quite on the nose, but you don't exactly have to dissect the lyrics to find those undercurrents.
So what does the album sound like? It's lighter than you'd imagine based on the central themes. There's rock, funk, subtle latin feel, a capella, pop, traditional folk, and even an ambitious rock opera about what sounds like a zombie apocalypse. It's fairly eclectic, making it a nice first solo album to release in nearly two decades. Ismo Alanko
- 33 1/3: Kolmannesvuosisata taiteilijaelämää
This is the Ismo Alanko live album I recommend people to start with. Are these performances as exciting as their studio versions? No. But I'd argue that they don't have to be. The main strength this recording has is its uniformity. The songs are played in a generic rock band style, but it doesn't change the fact that the setlist is good and diverse. There's no compilation that would dive this deep in such a digestible manner. Essentially, this is the middle-of-the-road pick that gives an excellent cursory look into a prolific artist's entire body of work (up until 2013). Ismo Alanko
- Ismo Kullervo Alanko
Considering how introspective and self-reflective the previous album is, it's surprising that Alanko decided to name this one after himself. It works though. The songs are produced sparser and airier than on any other Ismo Alanko album, making the music feel intimate and almost confessional. It feels like you're sitting in the same room with him, as he opens up to you. Amazingly produced album. Ismo Alanko
- Pannaanko pakasteet pieneen pussiin?
To be frank, I don't think this EP is an essential release. It's noteworthy for the modern hobo blues feel it has, and for having one of the very few covers Alanko has recorded so far, but none of these songs have an iconic feel to them. The best I can say about it is that none of the songs are bad
, but neither are they memorable. Ismo Alanko
- Yksin Vanhalla
I wish more band-focused artists performed live alone every now and then. An arrangement stripped down to just vocals and an instrument (in Alanko's case, usually acoustic guitar, piano, or cello) turns every song into something entirely different. However, the lyrics grow in significance as instruments are dropped, so your mileage may vary with this one. I still enjoy it though. Pohjonen Alanko
- Northern Lowland
Alanko collaborates with Kimmo Pohjonen and Tuomas Norvio to bring us an electronic neon-shamanic album. Primal chants and vocalisations blending together with beats ranging from harsh to chill and breakbeat-y. It's a fascinating EP, even if highly gimmicky and lacking a sense of direction. Besides, this stuff will always be better live than on a studio recording. Ismo Alanko
- Minä halusin olla niin kuin Beethoven
And finally, the latest Ismo Alanko album, where he takes yet another left turn. This one was mainly recorded by Alanko alone in a studio, but eventually a drummer and a keyboardist were brought in to round up the sound. And what a sound it is! Youthful indie rock with a production that's stuck somewhere between the 00s and the 80s. If it were not for 58-year-old Alanko's vocals and eccentric riffing, I could very well believe this to be a debut album by ambitious 20-somethings. Summary
Since Alanko's full albums are not readily available on many countries (especially the US), I'll provide a summary that's somewhere between a longish TL;DR, a series of recommendations, and a quick-glance overview of his career. Album:
: Täältä tullaan Venäjä
(1980) [new wave punk] Representative track: Rock ehkäisyvälineitä vastaan
(a bouncy high-tempo punk track) Album: Rumat sävelet
(1981) [new wave/post-punk] Representative track: Jurot nuorisojulkkikset
(a gloomy post-punk-infused rock track) Album: Harsoinen teräs
(1982) [new wave/progressive rock] Representative track: Kupla kimaltaa
(a well-flowing new wave track with a progressive song structure) Album: Sielun Veljet
(1983) [punk/post-punk] Representative track: Pieni pää
(a noisy punk track with groovy tribal drumming and metallic guitar playing) Album: Lapset
(1983) [punk/post-punk] Representative track: Elintaso
(an angular punk track) Album: Hei soturit
(1984) [post-punk/alternative rock] Representative track: Tää on tää
(a straightforward punk track with a catchy hook) Album: L'amourha
(1985) [post-punk/hard rock] Representative track: Peltirumpu
(a hard-hitting rock song with dissonant guitars) Album: Kuka teki huorin
(1986) [post-punk/funk rock] Representative track: Kristallilapsia
(a funk rock track with screechy guitars and an unfunky bassline) Album: Suomi - Finland
(1988) [post-punk/psychedelic rock] Representative track: Totuus vai tequila
(a ferocious folk punk track) Album: Softwood Music Under Slow Pillars
(1989) [psychedelic rock/flamenco] Representative track: Life is a Cobra
(a psychedelic track combining flamenco rhythms and Indian string sections) Album: Kun Suomi putos puusta
(1990) [singesongwriter] Representative track: Kun Suomi putos puusta
(a gentle organ-led track with subtle folk influence and field recordings) Album: Jäätyneitä lauluja
(1993) [electronic rock] Representative track: Pornografiaa
(a slightly industrial-tinged electronic rock track) Album: Taiteilijaelämää
(1995) [art rock] Representative track: Nuorena syntynyt
(a 90s sounding rock track with a freeform looseness to it) Album: I-r-t-i
(1996) [alternative rock] Representative track: Kriisistä kriisiin
(a rock track with a steady dance pulse on the actual rock sections) Album: Pulu
(1998) [folk rock/art rock] Representative track: Rakkaus on ruma sana
(a track with pseudo-shamanistic verses and catchy choruses) Album: Sisäinen solarium
(2000) (art pop/folk rock) Representative track: Kirskainen hyvätyinen
(a largely electronic and pulsing track that feels one part a strange rock experiment and one part a traditional Finnish folk song) Album: Hallanvaara
(2002) (art pop/symphonic rock) Representative track: Paratiisin puu
(a smooth pop track with significant classical influence) Album: Minä ja pojat
(2004) [alternative rock] Representative track: Joensuu
(a straightforward and fuzzy rock song) Album: Ruuhkainen taivas
(2006) [alternative rock) Representative track: Paskiainen
(a rock track alternating between manic psychobilly and catchy radio rock) Album: Blanco spirituals
(2008) [minimalistic art pop] Representative track: Päästänkö irti
(an acoustic rock track with an interesting chord sequence) Album: Onnellisuus
(2010) [art pop] Representative track: Onnellisuus
(a danceable and atmospheric pop track) Album: Maailmanlopun sushibaari
(2013) [alternative rock] Representative track: Vanha nuori
(an accessible pop track with a funky brass section and theatrical choruses) Album: Ismo Kullervo Alanko
(2015) [art pop/singesongwriter] Representative track: Lintuperspektiivi
(a melancholic and sparsely produced track with airy ambience) Album: Northern Lowland
(2018) [glitch hop-y tribal electronic music] Representative track: Northern Lowland
(a track with primal chanting and glitchy beats) Album: Minä halusin olla niin kuin Beethoven
(2019) [80s flavour indie rock] Representative track: Transsioletettu tanssi
(a funky rock track with a somewhat generic 2000s rock chorus) Discussion
What is your opinion on Ismo Alanko? I personally enjoy how prolific and eclectic he has been, and I find it a shame that most of his work has never left Finland. I can especially imagine punk fans easily getting into his 80s work.
Excuse me? Are you going to deny the mighty victory of the Finnish jedi nights over the HwanGuk? The Forgotten History of the Finno-Korean Hyperwar By Han Myung-soo Chapter 1: A History in Perspective History as it is taught today covers what are believed to be the most influential and world-changing events that have ever taken place. The French Revolution, the Second world war, the independence of the United States; various great wars, social policies, and catastrophes that have molded each and every society that we live in today. But there is one war that is not taught about in schools. Two great empires that have been forever lost due to the passage of time, human meddling, and simple bad luck. This book hopes to cover, catalog, and detail every facet of the greatest conflict to have ever taken place on our planet; the Finno-Korean Hyper War. The hyper war fought between the Finnish and Hwan empires brought about change that readers very often find difficult to believe. It is easy for us to think of the annihilation of a people when we are taught of the holocaust, or of the more successful battles between the Spanish Conquistadors and the Aztec empire. The difference between the Hwans and the Aztecs, though, is that we still remember the Aztecs. During and after the fall of the Hwan-guk, the Finnish empire set its sights on the complete destruction of any and all policies, relics, and other evidence that the Hwan empire had even existed at all. The bloodthirst of Hernando Cortez pales miserably in the face of the destruction campaign wrought by the use of the Finnish Empire's ultimate weapons of destruction. What the reader must understand is that the level at which the Finno-Korean hyper war changed and shaped the present day is unimaginably great. We are still discovering various elements of today's society that were left as mere imprints from the existence of the great empires and their various allies and enemies. Everything from governments to mere social interaction comes from our forefathers of a forgotten time. Would you believe that modern Finnish social etiquette is nothing more than the result of an extremely powerful biological weapon used against their ancestors by the Hwans? Most fall into doubt and suspicion long before they begin to believe the truth. So I hope you, the reader, are able to adequately let go of your perception and beliefs of the modern world, in order to fully understand these greatest of empires. I hope you, the reader, are among those who fail to accept the reality of this war due to preconceived notions of history and its evolution. I hope you are ready to learn of the greatest war to ever shape our every way of life.
The Forgotten History of the Finno-Korean Hyper War
By Han Myung-soo
Chapter 2: The Great Empires
We will begin our history of the Finno-Korean hyper war with detailing the individual kingdoms, nations, and empires of the time, as well as the inner workings of their governance. We will be detailing five of these societies within this book:
The Hwan-guk Empire
The Finnish Empire
The Emu Confederacy and its vassal state, Old Israel
The Melanoid Kingdom
Kumari Kandam (Lemuria)
Though these five societies are not the sole nations that inhabited the pre-historic world, we will omit the smaller tribes of the time until or unless the become relevant in the upcoming war. Other historians may question the omission of the Hueish Khanate of South America from the list of societies I will be giving the greatest amount of attention, but my studies simply do not find the Khanate to have been of great influence in the course of the hyperwar. Though I will not give special attention to the Hueish Khanate, they will indeed find themselves detailed to a lesser extent when the period of Finnish genome meddling arrives within these pages.Though we know which year the hyperwar took place, there exist no records of the founding periods of any of these societies. This can be attributed to both the time at which these societies existed, which make dating their recovered artifacts difficult, and the usage of annihilation methods by the Finnish and, to a lesser extent, Hwan Empires. Our earliest records of these empires date their existence back to at least 59,743 BCE, though we know that they have existed far longer than that due to the fact that both empires were already established and had deeply engrained culture that had even begun to spread to far away continents. As our earliest dated relics are from the Finnish Empire, we will begin with them.
PART 1: The Finnish Empire
The Finnish Empire was a widespread, European society that spanned from what is today eastern Spain to the northwestern portion of modern-day Russia. The capital of the empire was Helsinki, which was established in 59,743 BCE, but was not made the capital of the Finnish Empire until two years later in 59,745 BCE, when the empire was officially founded. Before being made the capital, Helsinki was a prosperous fishing city led by Aato Ranta. During the two year period between Helsinki's founding and it being made the capital, the center of the Finnish empire was a smaller city by the name of Vantaa. Vantaa was led by the leader of what was, at the time, the United Vanha tribes, Jalo Virtanen. These tribes were comprised of semi-nomadic settlements that comprised all of the modern-day Nordic countries.
Little is known of Virtanen or his leadership of the Vanha tribes, but we can deduce that he was not an extremely popular ruler. After the death of Jalo Virtanen due to unknown causes, with no heir to be found and no apparent plan to continue governance after his death, Aato Ranta used his leadership of Helsinki to gain favor with the rest of the Vanha tribes, which had already begun breaking away from each other. Seeing him as a decent enough ruler when faced with the flourishing state of his city, Ranta was elected ruler in 59,745 BCE, with little to no opposition. Immediately after being granted rulership status, and seeing the state of the degrading Vanha tribes, Ranta ended the tribalistic laws of the Vanha tribes and imposed imperial rule over the land, made Helsinki the capital of the new empire, and began a southward campaign of European domination.
Among the laws abolished were policies on everything from warfare to approved foods. Ranta made it legal to eat fish completely raw, or sometimes even rotten. When we begin to discuss the period of Finnish genome research later on in this work, we may notice certain ties from this specific policy and the full-on genetic experiments conducted by the Finnish army during the hyperwar. Some historians claim that Aato Ranta and other city leaders may have decided together to allow rotten fish to be consumed in an effort to practice early methods of eugenics. Though these claims lack much evidence, the idea was assumed to be to allow whoever would possibly wish to eat rotten food to do so in an attempt to allow them to get sick and eliminate these people from the population.
Though I do stress to the reader that very, very few documents from this period were preserved, and fewer still related to these theories. What some may think was an effort to eliminate certain peoples from the population may have been nothing more than a morbid joke communicated between heads of cities.
The disappearance of 16-year-old Raisa Räisänen
Raisa Maria Räisänen (born March 10, 1983) was a normal 16-year-old high school student and basketball player when she disappeared after a girls night out in Tampere, Finland on Saturday, October 16, 1999. Despite years of investigation, her case has not been solved. She was declared dead in absentia on October 15, 2007.
Raisa Räisänen left her home on Laalahdenkatu street after 9 p.m. to spend the Saturday night with her female friend of the same age. They left by bus to the center of Tampere and entered a restaurant/nightclub called Casablanca on Hämeenkatu 18.
She was underage, but entered the restaurant with false identity papers borrowed from an acquaintance. At Casablanca, she danced with an unmarried conscript, who, however, soon returned to the barracks. The police have questioned the conscript as a witness. Räisänen had been drinking alcohol and was slightly intoxicated but not incapacitated.
Between 9:30-10.00 P.M. Raisa was still with her friend at the nightclub.
The girls left Casablanca at about 10 p.m. Raisa called her last call on her old Nokia cell phone at 10:18p.m. to her boyfriend who was at a house party in the nearby town of Pirkkala. She told him that she would go there if she got a ride.
Just before 11p.m, Raisa was standing on Hämeenkatu street because her friend was being picked up by other friends who were going to Huittinen (a small town) to a bar called Seurahuone. There were 3 people in the car. Her friend's boyfriend and two other boys. Räisänen did not join them because there was no room in the car. Her friend gave her 20 marks (old Finnish currency) which she thought would be enough for a ride home. Her friend also made sure that she still had her cell phone with her and that it was working. They agreed to call later that night.
Raisa then walked back to Casablanca, which is the last reliable sighting of her. The police have been able to track her movements until 10:50 P.M. After that there seem to be only eyewitness observations.
Raisa's friend did not spend a long time in Huittinen, and returned with her companions to Tampere after midnight. She called Raisa's cell phone after midnight and let it ring for a long time. She tried calling again about five minutes later, but Raisa did not answer. After that, she thought that Raisa would call back. She said she had assumed that Raisa had taken the night bus back home, which is a normal thing to do on the weekends.
In the morning, Räisänen's mother tried to call her daughter, but the call went directly to voicemail.
In 2016 it was announced that her mobile phone had been in operation even after midnight, but no calls were made on it after 10.18.p.m.
The temperature on the night of her disappearance was +4 degrees centigrade, but the weather was cloudy and calm. Raisa was wearing a short black skirt, a red shoulder strap top, a velvet short sleeved black blouse, a black blazer and sandal shaped high-heeled shoes with 10cm heels. Her cell phone was a Nokia 2110i. The phone disappeared with her, as well as the borrowed identity card.
Despite the chilly weather, the night was lively, as a EU summit was held in Tampere at the same time. Security measures were tightened and there were police officers from all over Finland.
In the early investigations, it was suspected that Raisa had drowned in one of the lakes in Tampere. According to data from 2017, Näsijärvi lake was last searched for remains in 2013. There are two main lakes and many smaller ponds in Tampere, many of which have been searched at some point.
In early 2000s, a long and blond strand of hair was caught in a fisherman's lure on the lake of Näsijärvi. According to the fisherman's wife who happened to be a hairdresser, it looked like woman's hair. That had frightened the man and he had quickly thrown the strands back into the water. He remembered the disappearance of Raisa much later, and in 2009 contacted the National Bureau of Investigation. The area was checked by a diver, but according to the police, only logs were found underwater.
In the fall of 2005, the investigation was continued by the National Bureau of Investigation.
A very interesting case scenario is a lead from autumn of 2005, according to which Räisänen had entered a black limousine type museum car on Hämeenkatu. The car driver, passenger or passengers have not been reached. By 2016, the police still had not ruled out the possibility of her getting in that car, but the investigation was going nowhere.
Another eyewitness, a student who was selling roses on the street between 11 p.m. and midnight reported seeing a girl who looked like Raisa near a clothing store called KappAhl on Hämeenkatu. According to the the student, the girl had been talking with 2-4 young people. The police did not reach those people. Later, the student saw the same girl walking down Kuninkaankatu street to the North.
In 2005, a magazine reported that there were new leads in Raisa's case. They were related to observations of cars and foreign men. The first observation was of a gold-colored Mercedes-Benz that had stopped at the junction of Hämeenkatu and Kuninkaankatu near a blond haired girl. According to an eyewitness, they were "foreign-looking" men. In Finland, brown skin is still considered foreign-looking.
Another observation was near a bar called Vanha Posti, where a 30-year-old man had escorted a tall blond woman to a car. In the car were two other men with darker skin. They had entered the vehicle, which was possibly a Citroën Visa.
The third observation is of a red Ford Escort . A short and slim "foreign" man had talked with a girl in front of the department store Sokos between 10:45 p.m. and 1 a.m. Sokos is directly opposite the bar Casablanca.
In 2008, a man went to the police with the information that he had been dancing with a girl who looked like Raisa, on the night of her disappearance. The bar is also called Seurahuone (Tampere), not to be confused with the Seurahuone (Huittinen). The girl had said to him that she had come to the restaurant because her friends were coming there. The girl was dressed in a jacket/blazer and high heels, and was very young compared to other people there. She was cold and her hands were "just freezing". Later that evening the man looked for her but could no longer find her in the bar. Police think it is possible that she was Raisa Räisänen.
New witnesses emerged in January 2009. At 11.53p.m. on the night of the disappearance, a couple was returning from the restaurant Kahdet Kasvot on Kauppakatu street, when they noticed a lightly dressed young girl who was walking down Kuninkaankatu to the North (between Kauppakatu and Hämeenkatu). The police have found security footage of the couple and thus been able to find out the exact time of the observation. The eyewitness report matches the observation made by the man in Tampere Seurahuone, although there are contradictions in the description of her clothes.
In May 2009, the police began exploring yet another a new lead. An eyewitness had seen a girl who fit Raisa's description at a bar Teerenpeli at 10 p.m on the night of the disappearance. The girl was dancing on the dance floor, and her companion had been a large, tall and dark man of African descent, and possibly a Moroccan man who was shorter, about 170-180cm. After dancing, the girl had returned to a table and started accusing two Romanis of stealing her wallet and/or cell phone. After that, a 40 to 50 year old Romani man and a bouncer came to the scene. The eyewitness saw the same girl again at 11pm when she had crossed Hämeenkatu. She continued her journey along Kauppakatu towards Keskustori square. The girl had been lightly dressed and had swayed a little.
In November 2017, the Central Bureau of Investigation reported that there was surveillance camera footage of Raisa from the night of her disappearance, but the content has not been released for investigative reasons. The footage is from the time before her disappearance when she was still with her friends, and thus may not have any significance.
In 2015 a taxi driver from Tampere contacted the police. He told that on the night between 16 and 17 October, he had picked up a young woman who matched Raisa's description, and who was shivering in cold. She had been with a "foreign-looking", possibly Turkish man who was shorter than the her and whose age was difficult to estimate. The girl had sat on the front passenger seat of the taxi while the Turkish man had talked to his acquaintance behind the car. The young woman had seemed visibly frightened and according to the taxi driver said something along the lines of,
"I wonder what is going to happen to me."
The driver had calmed her down and offered to give her a ride home, but the girl had refused. When the Turkish man returned to the car, they no longer talked about it. The taxi driver took the two of them at the man's request to an apartment building in Multiojankatu 28, about 10 kilometers from the center of the city. The taxi driver's statement gave a whole new direction to the investigation. The police consider the driver's report and observations credible and meaningful. It is still a main line of inquiry and the police maintain that the report is credible.
In June 2016, the police announced their intention to search the area of Multisilta. They suspected that Raisa had been killed there and the body concealed. They had received a series of public hints and photographs of trenches that were located less than one kilometer from the area where the scared girl had been taken to by taxi. Those areas were searched with cadaver dogs. The police also reported that they had investigated the movements of foreign-looking people who lived on Multiojankatu street.
At Hämeenkatu 16, there was a pizzeria at the time. According to some hints, their Turkish workers resided in Multisilta in 1999. The police spoke to foreigners living in the area, but the hearings did not lead to a breakthrough. The police have announced that they would interview people to see if there were any illegal residents in the apartment buildings at the time.
There was also an eyewitness statement from someone who saw a young girl walking down the street with a Turkish man on the night of Raisa's disappearance. The police have investigated into this and found a man that fits the description, but the man denied everything. His involvement hasn't been ruled out as of 2018.
In October 2016, the police reported that on the night of Raisa's disappearance, a resident of the Armonkallio district who had been awake and watching the Formula 1 race, had heard two loud screams coming from outside, between 2 and 3 a.m. The police have taken this lead seriously. Also, other eyewitness observations point to the possibility that Räisänen may have walked through the Armonkallio district. Several eyewitnesses have reported seeing someone who fits her description walking with another woman.
In January 2017, the investigators reported that they had wire-tapped the phone of a doctor who worked at the University hospital of Tampere, in 2006. A 30-year-old physician had started dating a woman in October 2000. In April 2001, the woman had become concerned because he had told her that he knew what happened to Raisa Räisänen, and that Raisa "would never be found". According to him, no-one would believe who was involved in the disappearance (as in, people who you would never suspect). The woman believed that the doctor had killed Räisänen and expressed her concern to the police. According to her, the doctor was also "maniacally sexual" and attracted to violence. The story of the woman was supported by the fact that the doctor lived in Armonkallio, through which Räisänen may have walked. In addition, according to credit card details, the doctor visited a bar in Armonkallio on the night of her disappearance. The theory was that Räisänen had met the doctor and went with him to his apartment.
The doctor's phone was wire-tapped for a month until the permit to do so expired, and his calls were monitored from January to November 2006. He was never interrogated, and later he was declared no longer a suspect. He changed jobs, moved from Tampere and has since passed away.
In 2013 another man on his deathbed claimed that he had shot Raisa and buried her body on his property in Pälkäne. This was investigated and his property searched with cadaver dogs, but nothing was found. Statements from people close to him also seem to point to the direction that he had not been telling the truth.
The investigation into Raisa Räisänen's disappearance is still ongoing.
There is nothing in her family history or relationships that would explain her disappearance. She was in high school and played on a basketball team. She has been described as a normal teenage girl who didn't get in trouble.
Her disappearance is now being investigated as murder, but because of lack of evidence, the police have not ruled out the possibility of an accident either.
I went to the same high school a year after her disappearance, and this case has always interested me. I have collected and translated this information from Wikipedia and news sources.
Edit: Here is a picture of Raisa