Various Artists

Pilottilasit: Samples from Helsinki Underground 1981-1987

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One of the first albums Anton Nikkilä and Alexei Borisov released upon incepting their label, N&B Research Digest, was this CD-R. The title tells only half of the story. Yes, these are documents, archival recordings from an obscure period of Helsinki's underground scene, back in the days when artists distributed their home-duplicated cassettes through mail. What it doesn't say is that Nikkilä has compiled the 12 tracks mostly from tapes he appears on. He was a member of Mietoherne (two cuts) and Swissair (three cuts), besides producing solo pieces (one cut). Other featured artists include Musiikkivyöry, Ferricjohnsson, Mika Taanila, and H.S. Tuominen. Considering that Nikkilä and Borisov both make electronica, it comes as something of a shock to hear all this rock music: stoner rock in the case of Mietoherne, post-rock for Swissair, shoegazing atmospheres for Taanila and Tuominen's "Five Easy Pieces for Do-a-Loop" -- all quite ahead of their time considering these were recorded in the early to mid-'80s. Sound quality is precarious since these are home recordings, probably made on a four-track tape deck in most cases. Could Pole, Trans Am, and Stars of the Lid have been inspired by these unknown acts? Probably not, but Pilottilasit: Samples From Helsinki's Underground 1981-1987 is still a surprising discovery from a historical point of view. Anyone looking for post-rock has more essential items to listen to first and those lured here by Nikkilä's CD, White Nights, should be warned that what they will find has little to do with it.

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