Approximately Infinite Universe

Tue 23rd September 2008
Hare and Hounds

Polar Bear - Kings Heath

Swordfish Records - Birmingham city centre

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Featuring special commissions and unique collaborations from some of the most innovative and exciting acts of Finland’s underground with the superb ISLAJA, the multi-layered KEMIALLISET YSTÄVÄT, the drones of ES and the noise of TOMUNTONTTU (Jan Anderzén) – most represented by the influential and exploratory label FONAL. Each will musically entangle themselves amongst an uncompromising host of Americans, including the home-recorded acid folk of Fursaxa; the MV & EE member SAMARA LUBELSKI, the ‘Terry Riley-fused with Kate Bush’ impossibility of Axolotl, the ‘coal-powered spacecraft from some steampunk parallel universe’ that is BLEVIN BLECTUM and the noise duo from SKATERS.

Each performance a unique and brand new collaboration, each of the acts features a combination of Finnish artists from FONAL, who have invited a US counterpart to collaborate on a composition, highlighting the parallels in strands of the recent evolving trend of ‘weird/avant folk’ between the US West coast and Finland’s northern communities.

The performances will be made of material composed in the months leading up to the tour and worked in 2 days rehearsal. The concerts will take the form of two acts with the 4 groupings rotating during each act.


ES is the solo recording name of Fonal boss Sami Sänpäkkilä – tagged as ‘Experimental Songcycles’ by The Wire’s David Keenan – and one of the main figures in contemporary Finnish free folk mouvement. Sami is not only a musician but also a renowned filmaker.



Tara Burke of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania employs voice, guitar, organ, dulcimer, accordion, Casio and more to create her home-recorded acid folk as Fursaxa. Her debut album Mandrake was produced, engineered, and released in Japan by none other than Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple.

Islaja is Merja Kokkonen, a young visual artist and musician based in Helsinki, Finland. She has discretely become one of the few figures hiding behind the recent fad of “folk weirdness” whilst being part of a somehow communal move of a “Finnish psychedelia” that has spread its wings within the underground sounds over the last two years.

Samara is a native New Yorker who grew up in the haze of artist infestation of Soho. Through the time of playing in various groups she has compiled an impressive resume that covers myriad of genres such as her work with the avant/psych/folk outfit of Hall Of Fame into the lair of those bohemian German musos Metabolismus and onto the indie rock interpretations of The Sonora Pine with some serious treks into the world of The Tower Recordings and off world with Jackie O Motherfucker, to name just a few.

Blevin Blectum is an electronic musician. Recently relocated from the industrial armpit of Oakland, California, to the humid lovecraftian greenery of Providence, Rhode Island, Blevin releases her fourth solo album, GULAR FLUTTER, on an unsuspecting public via the AAGOO label (New York). Blevin is one half of the recently reformed and reunited groundbreaking digital duo Blectum From Blechdom, recipients of the 2001 Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Digital Musics.

The name of a recording project of musician Jan Anderzén of Tampere, Finland. Anderzén began recording under the name in 1995 and although he has enlisted numerous musicians over the years, most Kemialliset Ystävät recordings are solo productions. Often labeled as psych folk, his recordings have included such diverse instruments as detuned guitars, mandolins, balalaikas, toys, hand percussion, and samples from recordings by Sun Ra, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Vibracathedral Orchestra.

Axolotl is Karl Bauer, classically-trained violinist and a dedicated student of gnosticism, alchemy, astrology, and certain other materialist tendencies in psychology and philosophy. Bauer belongs to a small but potent association of young musicians, who draw upon the gestural economy and textural range of minimalism, and the visceral force of noise, while eschewing fashionable prohibitions against musicality, raw beauty, and thematic complexity.


The visual artist and musician Jan Anderzén (1978) is one of the central figures of the Finnish underground, and his band Kemialliset ystävät has gained international popularity among fans of experimental and psychedelic music.

“Staggering low-grade psychedelic murk and splintered free jazz soul” says David Keenan (The Wire). The skaters are from southern California and consist of Spencer Clark and James Ferraro who met in 2002. The duo say that the substance of their music is defined by “the interplay of ideas and the transformation of themselves into characters while playing and while living and using the inner dialogue that comes with cognizing the symbols of the outside world as a ground for the music to stand”. The music for them becomes deeply psychological because they experience “hallucinogenic sensations” while playing. The “thing” they think is a phenomenon can only be experienced through playing.