”Reflection takes musical steps sideways and forwards in several unanticipated directions, which is as it should be. In a world where art turned into products – such as music – is so often driven to restrictive niches, there should always be time for pieces which flee the most exhausting, rigid definitions.”
– Jarkko Martikainen
Tero Hyväluoma – fiddle
Harri Kuusijärvi – accordion
Matias Tyni – piano
Vesa Ojaniemi – double bass
Jesse Ojajärvi – drums
Tero Hyväluoma, a composer-violinist characterised as the Paganini of Patana – the village of his birth – has been seasoned and distinguished in many different contexts. Despite his relatively young age (b. 1984), Hyväluoma has made his mark with many bands (including Haaga Folk Machine, Frigg, and Teho. with fiddle virtuoso Esko Järvelä), and has been summoned to guest wherever optimum fiddle accompaniment has been required (f. ex. Ismo Alanko, Timo Alakotila, Asa, Kimmo Pohjonen).
The most important thing, though, is honing one’s own expression, and the first of Hyväluoma’s albums wholly of his own making, Junkyard Ball, came out in 2013. The debut is at times exhilarating, presenting a composer and master of his instrument in free flow. Judging by Junkyard Ball, Hyväluoma’s roots are in folk music, so much is true, but for the benefit of all involved parties he does not have the patience or inclination to remain bound by its most traditional constraints: twisting and turning, Junkyard Ball makes the rules for taking roots music forward anew. Four years later, it is time for Reflection. As the name of the album already implies, the present quintet led by Hyväluoma evinces a significantly wider palette of shades composition-, performance-, and arrangement-wise than the debut did. ”For myself, this album and the present group are a stretch toward a more contemplative style of performing, where improvisation and reacting to other musicians play a greater role than in my past doings. Reflection is a snapshot of everything that is going on in my mind right now, musically speaking” Hyväluoma sums up. The myriad causes behind the compositions on Reflection may not be all that important to be known; but let us hear Hyväluoma recall a few of the most colourful examples, considering the artist’s sources of inspiration are unusually intricate.
“In Infotron Obsession, the red ball Murphy from the ‘90s computer game Supaplex chases infotrons inside a computer. Goblin Chase imagines a hunting expedition of trolls, and in Weissmullerwise, we explore how Tarzan playing Irish jig would sound like.” Listening to the album, one might be tempted to talk loftily about contemporary music, were it not for the needlessly elitist tinge of the term. The composer himself describes the quintet performing “Nordic world music spiced with elements of jazz, prog rock, and film scores,” and perhaps this quotation is as accurate as we get to describing the soundscape of the outcome. For the present group Hyväluoma has gathered together those individuals with whom, in each case, it has “occurred to me that we absolutely must get to play music together.” Although Hyväluoma is clearly in a more ambitious and, indeed, serious mood than on his debut, thankfully the penchant for inward smiling and merrymaking characteristic of the artist have not been lost. The fact is doubtless recognised by the bandleader himself, and perhaps for that reason he is moved to praise the quality of work with enthusiasm not typical of Finnish mentality.
”I daresay that compositionally the sometimes even purposeful search for something new, the diverse backgrounds of the musicians, and the way how fluently we speak the same language despite those different backgrounds, as it were, has brought a completely new voice to the field of instrumental music and violinism.” Reflection takes musical steps sideways and forwards in several unanticipated directions, which is as it should be. In a world where art turned into products – such as music – is so often driven to restrictive niches, there should always be time for pieces which flee the most exhausting, rigid definitions. Hyväluoma Group takes the listener to sundry colourful destinations, should you allow his reflections two, three chances for concentrated reception.
Text: Jarkko Martikainen
Translation: Antti Litmanen