Outolintu – Odd Man Out (Faerie Dragon)

Posted in Reviews 2007 by - June 25, 2007

Outolintu - the psytrance Miles Davis

 

Thank god for this. The number of times we’ve talked about freestyle psy albums that suffer from not being quite freestyle enough – albums where 4-4 rigidity stifles the flood of ideas, where it’s at odds with the funk and the flow. In those cases the result is usually pleasant enough, but you’re always left wondering what might have happened if the artist completely disregarded dancefloor form and just…. well, just “went off on one.”

 

That’s more or less what Outolintu does. This isn’t for the dancefloor, nor is it for the chillout. It’s quite possibly music for elevators on off-world colonies, or failing that seriously nice music for pretty much any occasion you can think of.

 

There’s breakbeats, there’s competent hiphop with rapping from Finnish MC Master Bates, there’s live instrumentation compellingly fused with steadfastly weird electronics. There are echoes of Suomi, but those echoes are kept back – nothing is too weird, nothing is forced.

 

As an album, it works on a level that dancefloor-oriented artist albums never can. There’s none of this pressure to have a cohesion, a formula, or a signature. You don’t need to continue to prove that you’re good at making a roomful of people wave their arms about while they’re on drugs.

 

This could just be one of the most important things to have happened to psychedelic electronic music. I’ve always thought that electronic music and jazz are closely intertwined. Both were pioneered by people with no formal musical training, experimenting and organically creating something new. Both involved taking instruments that were previously marginalised and pushing them to the front: in the case of jazz, the sax was a humble part of an orchestra’s brass section; in the case of electronic music, the synth was what they used to make intro’s to Dire Straits songs.

 

Jazz then got stuck in a rut – because it had to make people dance. Hence Glenn Miller and In The Mood. Repetitive, formulaic, infectiously groovy: It was dance music, just like our dance music. The kids went mental for it, while the establishment thought it was a corruptive influence, inspired by satan to make everyone shag everyone else and to be generally unruly.

 

Jazz’s evolution into a more mature, established genre was all thanks to a handful of pioneers like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane. And I’ve often said, to anyone daft enough to listen, that unless dance music gets their equivalents of these people, we’re going to be eternally stuck at In The Mood – music stifled because it has to fit into a certain pattern to make a dancefloor move like wild loons.

 

What makes things depressingly useless is that given the availability of the technology needed to make electronic music, the psytrance Miles Davis is most likely some 17 year old guy living in Serbia with his parents, who has a MySpace but will probably never be discovered or released.

 

Much like Shpongle’s debut, Odd Man Out opens you up to a new level of what’s possible within psychedelic music. At times it sounds more like the Grateful Dead or Santana than anything we’re used to hearing; the best I can equate it to is a more freestyle Loopus, taking the piss more.

 

At the end of the day, this is an album that changes the way you listen to music. After this, it becomes very, very difficult to get excited about the imminent new Astrix album.

 

The afterbirth of the cool.

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