Niko Karlsson - Its Own Phantom

CS Edition of 100.

available on bandcamp.

Five years after the magnificent Valosta Valoon LP (FTR331), Finnish multi-instrumentalist, Niko Karlsson is back with a new swab of sound that is even more organic than its predecessor. This time out the focus is more on acoustic strings and percussion, with a minimum of machine driven sounds, even when things get cinematically tense (especially on the b-side).

But the bulk of Niko’s new tape (which he had first suggested be released sans any artist info) is a mesmeric assemblage of small gestures that feel something like a meditation exercise taking place in the great outdoors. Acoustic strings swirl around your head like a flock of soft ravens, then expand spectral fingers to search your spine for arcane gifts. Gongs ignite barely visible fires in the distance. And you start to quiver until the earth shakes. 

That said, there are certainly a few more ominous passages where the sound gathers up more like storm clouds than sunshine, but the shade these portions cast are ultimately transitory. The music on Its Own Phantom has a charmed ruralist glow that is sure to delight wanderers of many stripes. 

So pick a fork. Any fork. The kingdom of heaven is within you.

-Byron Coley, 2022

The Wire – Office Ambience 466