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5 x 4 is a new solo collection from award-winning Finnish composer, producer, and musician Laura Naukkarinen, recorded at Elektronmusikstudion EMS in Stockholm using the historic Buchla 200 modular synthesizer, an AKG BX20 spring reverb, and, on two songs, her voice. The album shows yet another side of her singular musical universe, by turns aquatic and meditative, always pulsing with energy.
Lau Nau's ninth solo album, 5 x 4 is being released by her longtime co-conspirators Fonal (Finland) and Beacon Sound (US). Composed and recorded at EMS over a period of five years, the title is a reference to the Buchla's sequencer, which has five steps and four tracks, thus creating the characteristic five-beat tempo behind the compositions. The eight tracks that comprise 5 x 4 fluctuate between different moods: the contemplative hum of Isopoda; the coral-like tones and lush vocal melodies of lead single Sessilia; and the carbonated radiance of Hyperiidea and Amphipoda.
When Florian Fricke attempted to reconcile folk and electronic music on the first Popol Vuh recordings, he zeroed in on traditional music's intangible mysteriousness - the kind of intrigue that comes from centuries of oral tradition. In contrast, Naukkarinen picks out its warmth and playfulness, inflecting familiar bleeps with the meter of a fairytale. 'Sessilia' begins with blunted organ drones, but as soon as Naukkarinen's vocals materialise we're whisked away into the deep forest, across bubbling streams and frozen lakes. It's deeply visual music, so evocative you can almost touch the bark and fur, and while Enya's an overused musical reference right now, it's hard not to draw parallels between Naukkarinen's oblique revivalism and the Celtic legend's new age treatments in the 80s."