rë▼iëws


ECHOES IN THE WONDERLAND - LP (Ikuisuus & DNT Records, 2012)

"On their Bandcamp page, Uton suggest, “For a stronger effect, listen near midnight in a dark room (or with minimal light). Do not let anything else disturb you.” It’s like that weird point at the beginning of Eraserhead when you are asked to lower the brightness of your television set for maximum effect. It makes you wonder what you are getting into.

There is ambient music that puts you to sleep, and then there is ambient music that sits you upright, wide-eyed, scared of everything in your room, and convinced that an abnormally tall, slender man with no face is going to suddenly appear in your window if you make the mistake of blinking. As suggested by the dichotomy between “echoes” and “wonderland” in the album title, this one pretty much covers that entire spectrum. With no real rhythm to ground the listener and establish familiarity, the various noises and strange vocal loops start and stop at random, leaving you in a strange world of displacement. Don’t go swimming. Don’t open the door. And for god’s sake, don’t walk in the woods by yourself." - (Tiny Mix Tapes)

"It seems like in every Uton review, we inevitably mention both that they are mysterious, and that we don't get nearly enough music from them. And once again, it's been a while since we've heard from these mysterious Finnish forest freaks, who definitely rank way up their in our Finnish music pantheon, and the fact that their record seem to be rare occasions only makes us treasure them more.
This latest was in fact recorded two years ago, on a 4 track using only headphones as speakers ("no other speakers were used during recordings and mixing of this record", the liner notes proudly explain). It's also suggested that we "listen near midnight in a dark room (or with minimal light)" which is always good advice when it comes to Uton, whose music is haunting and ritualistic, and most definitely evokes some sort of nocturnal gathering, especially here, where processed voices chant over fluttering flutes and minimal percussion. Swirling squelchy effects drift in fields of deep sonorous rumbles and whirs, manufactured field recordings surround layers of malfunctioning synths, and dreamy melodic cacophonies, and lush swirling swaths of deep low end, this new record darkly restrained, meditative and hypnotic, heavy on the vocal driven drones and subterranean shimmer, with some almost throat singing woven into the woozy whirling thrum, everything driven by murky pulses and buried rhythms, might be the darkest, dreamiest Uton yet, and as always, WAY recommended." - (Aquarius Records)

"Surveyor of the crumb and the crevice, the subliminal and the peripheral, Finland's Jani Hirvonen has quietly amassed a huge discography of exquisitely hand-hewn shoebox universes across an endless spill of multi-format micro-releases over the last decade under the Uton banner. His deft manipulations and penchant for extended textural abstraction lend his work a deeper gravitas than that of many of his contemporaries in the Finnish fringe music scene. With this latest outing for Finland's Ikuisuus imprint, Hirvonen teases a root strata of cryptic voicings into rhizomatic blooms of crepuscular esoterica that evoke the peak work of post-industrial psycho-geographers Zoviet France. This quicksand aural architecture is laced with quicksilver veins of richly bubbling drug gravy. On "Aquatic Memory," below, the result of these oblique strategies is a haunting, preternatural spill of alien birdsong, sub-atomic flutterings, distant gongs, and coppery metallic resonances." - (AdHoc)

"Something deliciously nocturnal and otherworldly from Finnish psych type Jani Hirvonen aka Uton. Anyone familiar with the realms of Finnish free folk and forested psychedelia will no doubt be familiar with his work on a stack of labels including Digitalis, Ruralfaune, or Dekorder, and not least Ikuisuus, for whom he's been most prolific and returns to with this suite recorded in Brittany circa late 2010. We're recommended to listen to it on headphones at midnight, and we'll oblige to the first bit, but it's actually 2pm so we can only use our imagination for the latter. However, we'd imagine it to sound especially evocative come the witching hour; its gloaming tones, murky apparitions and melting tones are vivid sustenance for any tired mind with a sanguine wanderlust, stealthily coaxing us into somnambulant states with an hypnotic, poetically spellbinding consistency of pineal vision." - (Boomkat)



FROM THE TWILIGHT, NEXT TO NOWHERE AND DISAPPEARED - CD (Music Atlach, 2012)

"New release for Jani Hirvonen’s one-man Finnish cosmonaut orchestra, a Japan-only release on Sachiko Fukuoka’s (Kousokuya/Overhang Party/Vava Katora) own label. This is one of Uton’s more enigmatic releases, with the sound of nowhere channelled via automating electronics and hovering planetary-scale drones over endless whispering forests of microtonal choirs." (Volcanic Tongue)




UNEXPLAINED OBJECTS (Dekorder, 2009)

"The 3rd vinyl LP from Uton has landed on the ever good useful Dekorder label called 'Unexplained Objects'. I'm not massively familiar with this Finnish chap's work but what I have heard has been pretty bonkers. This sounds even more bonkers than previous outings. It sounds like some kind of weird crazy forest folk played in outer space by small aliens with brightly coloured patchwork clothes wielding small very very very powerful weapons. That's a very precise image that it conjures up but that is what I get. That's the power of music... Shut your eyes and listen and wait for the images to appear.... That's why listening to such a crazed album like this appeals as it can help your mind take you all over the place. It's instrumental so it's less folk than a lot of the varied folk scene of Finland but it's definitely got that twisted vibe that they do so well. It comes in a suitably appropriate sleeve designed by Uton themselves. You should check out the pic of Uton on Discogs as it appears to be a tree playing a guitar. Nice..." (Norman Records)

"While the last albums explored rural soundworlds from the outer reaches of this planet and hidden places of the inner human (and animal) mind, he has finally left planet earth completely and is now reaching out for outer space and alien communication. Hirvonen seems to have traveled the spaceways, bringing home folk music and field recordings from faraway planets and alien cultures. Erich von Däniken beware!" (Dekorder)

"Unexplained Objects is the third album by Jani Hirvonen, who plays his music as Uton for Dekorder. He already has a whole bunch of releases on CDs, CDRs, cassettes and vinyl, and while I haven't heard them all, whatever it was that I did hear, it has left a pretty good impression on me. No doubt the title refers to things from outer space, but perhaps, so I was thinking, also to objects that are unexplained on the cover (hardly an informative one at that) used to create the music. Music of a free nature, improvised onto a multi-track, and the mixed together, adding a bits of electronic. Mainly, it seems to me, it dwells heavily on acoustic instruments, bells, flutes, guitars (maybe, just maybe) and the result sounds like a New Zealand like affair of free drone music. The compositions aren't really fixed to make coherent pieces, but loosely structured and make nice use of the lo-fi approach in recording these sounds. This new record seemed to be less on tribal percussion and throat singing and altogether more of something of his own. A damn fine record, perhaps the best I heard from him so far." (Vital Weekly)

"Uton's Jani Hirvonen returns from an astral mission with his third vinyl-only release for the Dekorder label, sticking with tradition in a run of 500 full colour sleeves designed by his own hand. While his previous records for Dekorder (besides countless CDrs and Cassettes for Digitalis, Jeweled Antler, and his own Ikuisuus imprint etc) have been linked by a naturalistic and earthbound theme, 'Unexplained Objects' looks to the skies from the perspective of a medieval Finnish minstrel, or so we'd imagine anyway. His sound here merges arcane folk trimmings with astral FX and queasy atmospheres that mark this dude out as a genuinely unique character. The half-lit chamber melodies and moulding tapes loops cut with a unique sense of timing give this a real psilocybic feel, like you've just supped on the p*ss of a mushie-foraging deer deep in the woods and tripped off into the starlit night. Ace." (Boomkat)


STRAIGHT EDGE XXS (Dekorder, 2008)

"This record is sending me brilliantly insane. It's by some Finnish drone merchant called Uton who's gone to India, right, & captures, beautifully, the very essence of the country in groove after gibbering groove of tribal scree, rural farmyard noise, street market chaos, found sound, psychedelic wibbles, improvised noise, cerebral free jams, organic mantras....oh it's a real jawdropping spiritual journey is this record! It's called 'Straight Edge XXS' and is on Dekorder but belongs just as much on Sun City Girls' national audio geographic Sublime Frequencies imprint, such is the quality of the recordings and the sense of discovery on show here. Even the more chaotic, jumbled sections provide an inner peace for me as it's very expressive, surprisingly cohesive & deliciously otherworldly. It also makes me think of an unreleased soundtrack to a film by Alejandro Jodorowsky, especially, or Werner Herzog. The 2nd Finnish record this week that's utterly moved me! Ltd LP only with a fascinating collage sleeve. Wonderful sounds, the music of life & mad as a box of frogs to boot!" (Norman Records) 

"While Uton’s last Dekorder album „Alitaju Ylimina“ (and most of his other recorded works respectively) are hazy lo-fi drone masterpieces for the most part, this is a completely diffferent affair. Recorded straight to tape within one month, right after returning from a 6-month trip to India, these songs (if you could call them songs) are completely out-of-this-world; very short and crazed sketch-like pieces sounding like a Nonesuch Explorer LP of long lost field recordings from an as yet unexplored continent. Or is it World Music from an unknown planet recorded by those Sublime Frequencies guys from mysterious short wave transmissions?
Well, it is all that and more. It is pure ecstatic expression channelized through Psychedelia, Free Jazz, Noise and rural ancient Folk Music from all over the world in a completely naked, predominantly acoustic setting. One of the purest forms of music you could imagine; while all the familiar Uton elements remain evident in a hazy backcloth" (Dekorder)

"Straight Edge XXS denotes something of a creative departure for Finnish artist Uton, who abandons scratchy lo-fi drone exercises in favour of conjuring the sounds of India in a series of short pieces that tap into the kinds of instrumentation and rhythms of the subcontinent's various sounds. It's hard to discern what's field recording and what's regular instrumentation on this record: the whole thing sounds like some anonymous archive of alien psychedelia and outsider free jazz. There's a case to be made for this being viewed as a Sublime Frequencies-style release - such is its structure, characterised by snippet-sized portions of exotica - and it certainly strays from the Fonal school of Finnish psych by being so rooted in the language of India's folk music. A departure it may be, yet this latest tangent taken by Uton is no less a joy to the ears than the atmospheric drones we'd become accustomed to." (Boomkat) 


ALITAJU YLIMINÄ (Dekorder, 2007)

"Uton is the one-man project of Jani Hirvonen originally hailing from Tampere and currently travelling and recording in India. Hirvonen is one of the most active musicians of the Finnish underground scene that has recently presented us the likes of Kuupuu, Kemialliset Ystävät, Islaja, Paavoharju and Lau Nau and a seemingly never-ending stream of beautiful and highly original record releases.
The music of Uton is no exception there, drawing inspirations from psychedelia to free jazz to pure ecstatic drones and noises using a wide range of acoustic instruments from various parts of the globe and a bulk of electronics. Recorded in glorious lo-fi the mystery of Hirvonen’s sound is difficult to pinpoint; sheer ravishing beauty, elegancy and variegation is stashed behind a wall of grey, inscrutable haze – gorgeous melodies and voices, reeds and alien sounds gleaming through the mist from time to time, shimmering like diamonds through layers of dust." (Dekorder)


"I could have used the same intro here, that I wrote for the Black To Comm / Aosuke –split album also on Dekorder, but one always comes first as long as we live in a dimension that is dominated by time. But without time there would be no music, so let’s be glad that we are able to not only percieve the fourth dimension but to also grace it and adorn it with sounds and their managed evolution. Hah, calling music the “managed evolution of sound in realtime” is way too over the top for me, actually, but then Uton is also not easy to get a grip on. So, please read that mentioned intro first and then come back here to read about Uton.

Jani Hirvonen is a long standing, well known avantgarde / underground musician / experimenter from Finland. You can see right away from the slashes being used in this description that allow for at least four different variations that it is not easy to measure him up. “alitaju ylimina” contains all kinds of weird drones, noise outbursts, ecstasy and mysticism, psychedelia and free jazz, multi instrumentalism and manipulation of sounds and a lot more. Can you imagine what this guy’s extended discography sounds like? He has released dozens of CDs, CDRs and tapes and has collaborated with anybody that found his way into the woods where this ghost resides.
A certain kind of inner spirituality seems to play an important role in Uton’s music. Not only because of the, probably mostly cliché, reclusiveness of the Finnish and the therefore attributed closeness to nature and the endless and dangerous wilderness of the Finnish outlands, but also because his songs tend to turn into manic chants and magic disruptions. Crying vocals of shamanic loops with fitting percussion feeding itself into a frenzy and crashing percussions mixed with echoing noises and deep sounds that reverb through what might be time and space – didn’t we mention time as being really important in the beginning? – and far away in both.

The colourful and intriguing cover gives away a sort of earth spirit sentiment, with a goldike creature towering above a stylized earth globe, blowing flames downwards to the surface and loosening the widely spun connections between earth and the heavens. (the foldout cover is shown above turned sideways – just drop your head to the right and you can get a glimpse of all its glory.) This is contrasted by a wild, energetic black and white drawings that are somewhere between traditional Japanese paintings and a psychotic drug attack. To me it looks like nightly paintings of a nightmare that played in a wood, with nothing much more in memory but the fierceness of the trees.
What exactly makes up the magic and the fascination with this record is hard to say. Everything seems to change all the time and as soon as you think you have found our way through a certain song or track, it changes again. Or maybe it is a completely new song? There is also no help through this dark wood of sound connotations and mystic noises, other than what is already inside you. And according to some mystic wisdom of nature, there is nothing that is not inside you. Now use the puzzlement that lies within this paradox logic to step forward into the breach that opens between these sentiments. Hirvonen nevertheless will always be several steps ahead of you. It seems evident that he has either created his own mystic universe or that he is an experienced explorer of the psychedelic universe.
One thing is for sure though, there is not a lot on this planet that is even closely comparable to the unique wisdom and vision of Uton." (Monochrom)


WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE SPIRIT (Digitalis, 2008)

"Four new pieces from Finnish psych-folk drone-weaver Uton, who's bang on form: each of these untitled compositions is entrenched in vaporous sonic murk, composed of elements that make oblique references toward a disembodied kind of Eastern harmony. The first track is like a shimmering ghost raga, lined with rough, jangling percussion and echoing voices as if they were street noises from some undisclosed, far off location. The next piece is a good deal spookier, sounding like a sinister wind conveying sounds from a nefarious ceremonial rite being carried out a half-mile away. Towards the end, synthesizer flourishes bring things back into a more pronouncedly musical realm, before ultimately reviving that same esoteric drift of chants and tones that's been lurking quietly in the background since you hit play. Finally, a short, slightly more lucid vocal drone piece fires up with a little feedback tangled up in there for good measure, capping of a very creaky and sombre album with a typically strange and ambiguous waft of sounds. Very good indeed." (Boomkat)

"For the past five plus years, Uton has been one of the most consistent projects to come out of the snowy confines of his native Finland. His output has been constant, but the quality is always great. His drones have always been underscored with a sense of melody and a keen utilization of the space where the music was created. These songs are not icy or glacial, though, like one might think. Uton's uncanny ability to inject an inviting sense of warmth and spirit. "We're Only in it for the Spirit" is ghost music; barely there and out-of-sight in the blink of an eye. The man responsible for these masked-spirit journeys is Tampere native, Jani Hirvonen. He's collaborated with the likes of Jan Anderzén (Kemialliset Ystävät, etc), Bridget Hayden (Vibracathedral Orchestra), & Anla Courtis (Reynols) among others. When it comes to enchanted, sprawling drones, Hirvonent is a true Rennaissance man. He is joined by Vapaa's J.P. Koho on all tracks, who complements Hirvonen's delicacy with subtle hints of chaos. "We're Only in it for the Spirit" continues to trek through new worlds of sound, polishing off the once-rough edges of Uton's sound into something that acts as a beacon in the void. Dark, brooding drones for guitar and electronics flicker and fade like a distant, stellar horizon. Hirvonen is a master craftsman, and Koho is his perfect foil. The two play off each other's every move and produce an end result that rivals anything Uton has released previously. "We're Only in it for the Spirit" is a magickal piece of work. Limited to 500 copies with artwork designed by James Livingston of Black Horizons." (Digitalis)


MYSTERY REVOLUTION (Digitalis, 2006)

"I realise I spend a lot of time banging on about Finland, droney improvisational hippy music, distorted tape sounds and experimental warbling and clattering, so imagine my joy when a disc arrived which ticked all of these boxes within the first 5 minutes. Coming across like a faint signal of life from far away planets, Uton is best aligned with the subtle noodlings of Jewelled Antler lynchpins Thuja, with distorted analogue synthesizers, bowed guitars and unnamed small instruments blended together to form a sort of audio fog. This is how minimal music should sound, it's not minimal to the point of forcing you to try and hear if there's anything happening at all, it's merely quiet and underplayed and it is painstakingly woven together with an incredible display of skill and restraint. More interestingly though, there's a huge chunk of Radiophonic Workshop/Early Electronic style experimentation on offer here, more in line with something you'd hear on the hallowed Ohm boxset than maybe on your latest collection of 'free folk'. We have heard this angle explored by Kemialliset Ystävät in his Fonal emissions, yet Uton takes things one step further and succeed on all counts. There are even moments on 'Mystery Revolution' that wouldn't be out of place accompanying Cybermen as they escape an icy tomb... Probably my favourite release on the crucial Digitalis label, Uton has forged a timeless addition to the mysterious Finnish avant garde." (Boomkat)

"Tampere, Finland has become quite the musical hotbed over the past few years. Staples like Avarus and Kemialliset Ystävät make there beds in the gnome-infested waters throughout the city. Uton is perhaps the country's best kept secret. "Mystery Revolution" is a sonic excursion through the Finnish forests unlike any other. Massive drones are balanced by the hypnotic dance of flutes, bells, and keyboards. Underneath everything runs a mind-altering stream of fuzzed-out brainwaves. Every corner you turn, there's another smiling nymph, begging you to follow the golden path into the mystic woods. Uton's minimalist rumblings are there to infect and enchant, and Hirvonen never fails to impress. The mask is off with "Mystery Revolution," and Uton will remain shrouded in obscurity no more. This pine-scented excursion may by mysterious on the surface, but overall is a thing of beauty, lying in wait for the perfect time to infect you. "Mystery Revolution" is proof that Uton's dreamy soundscapes are one of Finland's finest exports." (Digitalis)


Ground's Dream Cosmic Love (Students Of Decay, 2006)

"Also on the label is a CD by Uton (called 'Ground's Dream Cosmic Love') who is some Finnish dude making some serious dark droney industrial gear. One 45 minute track which draws you in to a world of general wrongness. I'm reminded of the Eraserhead soundtrack at moments, but there are some odd thruspings of melody kicking around within the drones. Not a comfortable listen by any stretch of the meane but stick with it and you'll get sucked into its dark trance like world and more tha likely come out a jibbering wreck at the other end. Great! This dude has also had stuff out on Digitalis and Dekorder. Nice!"  (Norman Records)


SHIVA BLUES (Om Ha Sva / Reverb Worship, 2008)

"Uton have a new CD on the Reverb Worship label limited to just 50 copies. One of Finland's finest if you're into weird forest folk type gear. This is the 2nd pressing of Shiva Blues with a different napkin or something as the sleeve. This job just gets more nuts. I wasn't trained for this. You'd think I know about napkins but I prefer to wipe my face on my hand afterwards and smile like I've been bad afterwards. Much more satisfying and of course it's more green as it's saving paper. Anyway this is one of the more difficult releases I've heard from Uton. Lots of dark heavy guitar feedback which is quite harsh on the ears. Not particularly folky at all but if you like things difficult and dark this is right up your alley." (Norman Records)


WHISPERS FROM THE WOODS - 3CD (Last Visible Dog, 2005)

"Once again, the very patient prevail. Or at least the folks who weren't lucky enough to catch any of these super limited cd-r's first time around. A massive triple disc collection that gathers about three hours of early releases from Finland's Uton. Sonically similar to their Finnish free folk brethren (Avarus, Anaksimandros, Kemialliset Ystavat, etc.), Uton specialize in wild and wooly, primitive free forest jams. Clattery rhythms, music box melodies, spaced out guitar echo, minimal vocalization, skronking horns and plenty of droning and rattling and scraping and thumping. Like a krautrock band that was left in the forest by it's parents and raised by wild woodland creatures. Epic and expansive sonic explorations, as spaced out as they are earthbound, soaring otherworldly freakouts collide with centuries old primal sound, to create a totally organic, totally alien wonderful world of sonic experimentation, sometimes percussive and propulsive, sometimes shimmery and dreamlike, sometimes crashing and pounding, sometimes gentle and mysterious but always completely mesmerizing and amazing! Quite possibly one of our Finnish faves! And that's saying a lot! This collection contains all of Taman Sanan Jalkeen (released on Haamumaa in 2002), all of Mika Kasvaa Maan Sisalla (released on Hammasratas in 2003), all of Ay Um Au Lam (released on Jewelled Antler also in 2003), five rare comp tracks and six previously unreleased tracks!" (Aquarius Records)
   
"Massive triple disc overview from uton, my personal favorite of the contemporary batch of finnish lo-fi folk-psych denizens (also a known C-Psi-P/ Antony Milton affiliate) collecting prior cdr/small-run output on the Hammastratas, Humbug, Haamumaa, Jewelled Antler, and 267 lattajja labels... as packaged in a double-tier two-sided pouch with a 12 (!) panel foldout booklet.
This comes the closest to the lowpass flute/guitar/string echo-damage of early popol vuh and artemiev’s score to “stalker” as anything that has made the comparison in the intervening years... like some distant signal beamed back from saturn, peaks and troughs of the waves rounded in the vacuum of space. Completely killer..." (Mimaroglu Music)
   
"Where should one start in describing the aural grandiose beauty that is Uton. Actually made up of one Finnish guy by the name of Jani Hirvonen, Uton is a force of free folk space madness any freak-out music fan would be proud to call their own. 'Whispers from the Woods' is a collection of very hard-to-find and long out-of-print material from the past, a lot of which was issued as limited edition CD-Rs. What's all the fuss about on this 3 CD grand reissue, you ask? Well, there is plenty. For starters, Uton favours a dense minimal drone sound. Made up of various guitars, flutes and strings, along with heavy effects, this sound is closest to some of Sun Ra's best 60's moments. If you remember the echo-like drones of  'Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy' from early 60's, you're getting close to the mark.

Another picture that sprang to mind when I was listening to this music late at night is just how perfect it would have been to use this as the soundtrack to 'The Blair Witch Project'. It evokes the same sort of creepiness of being lost in the deep, dark woods, becoming paranoid as it become clear you have no idea of the direction home. To be honest, is it really necessary to point out that disc 2 has more edgy drone sounds than the first disc? Would that really hinder you from giving Uton your ears? You'd think this sort of music would find fans in the world outside of Finland, which is why it's so exciting to see Uton being given the opportunity to release this. This is truly organic music of the highest calibre. I can't put the excitement that it generates down on paper, but it's something that I'm asking you to trust me on. Besides, there are times when words fail you when you're describing a painting, film or a piece of music. This happens to be one of those instances. Whether you're a fan of the drone, whether it's minimalism that interests you or whether you simply enjoy being scared hopelessly, 'Whispers from the Woods' is the perfect remedy."  (Tom Sekowski / Gaz-Eta)
   
"Last Visible Dog is officially INSANE. What other label would not only do a CD by the way-underground Finnish free-psych/noise(?) band Uton, but reissue 3 of them on a triple-CD set? The band has only had CDrs out before, mostly self-released, most of them tiny editions "available" from equally underground catalogs. This stuff is so exciting... acoustic strings, noises and voices that build into ecstatic, deeply psychedelic clamor... there was a moment during the first disc when my jaw dropped at the intensity of what I was hearing. Great! And a deal for the price, too." (Howard Stelzer / Intransitive)

"Imagine for a moment...  you are walking through a dense forest, the day is coming to an end and soon it will be dark. Around you strange animal calls howl through the trees as the sun slips behind the horizon you can barely glimpse. Warmth from the sun is evaporating quickly and a chill now occupies the air. As the light fades a wind starts to build, slowly at first but with ferocious intent. You are lost, hopelessly and impossibly lost. Every branch looks the same, the path worn out and indistinguishable in the night. Repressed fear starts to grip you, fear turning to unacknowledged terror, the prickles on your skin merging with the shivers from the increasing cold. A blanket of darkness slowly descends from the tree tops rolling down towards you. As each layer of trees become dark they become alive with dancing fireflies, calls across the treetops and the creak of movement. Soon it will be black, not dark, but all enveloping blackness with even the stars removed from sight. Then you become aware, aware of lights that are not stars, lights that are eyes, eyes of slit yellow, of the infernal looking intently towards you. The calls of these infernal manifestations, the forest children chatter out in exultation for this is their domain and humanity has no meaning here anymore.
Thunder rips apart the sky but comes as a brief respite until little cracks down and for a second reveals the full abominable physical horror surrounding you, until this terror filled sight is mercifully ended. You try to run but immediately hit a tree, fall down in sharp pain and brush against something furry squirming in excitement. Over a period of seconds, things begin to move across your skin, your primal screams of stark dread useless and lost in a second. Tongues begin to lick the pores and hairs of your limbs. Soon you will be theirs and thankfully this will be over until you wake again…knowing the forest children wait again as you drift to the disturbed sleep of the dark woods…your hands gripping the bed you are lulled to sleep by a feral music coming from unseen speakers. You cannot resist any more and hear the calls of the forest in your ears. As you fade away the last sight is the word ‘Uton’……
Over the last few years the term ‘forest folk’ was coined to describe a kind of unrestricted improvised music which felt as though it came from and belonged to the forest. This music had little structure to speak off and was formed from soundscapes using acoustic instruments, hand drums, reeds, blown pipes, stones and whatever else seemed appropriate. In particular this music was to be associated with the plethora of musicians coming out of Finland. Whilst a cliché it is perhaps an understandable one, the majority of Finland’s landscape is unchanged forest. It is true that many of these musicians come from the cities with little exposure to this but still there does seem to be an intuitive connection. It is not the literal forest that matters, but the idea of forest as preserved, unchanged places, of imagination and freedom that is more important. This is especially true in the case of Finnish musician ‘Uton’.
This 3 CD retrospective covers Cdrs issued on labels such as Haamumaa, Hammasratas and Jewelled Antler between 2002 and 2004, the formative years of the artist’s emergence. These obscure Cdrs and compilation inclusions document a music that is further out than almost any other artist. There is no sense of restriction here and the use of the forest in imagery and album title is deliberate. Inside the booklet are pictures of empty woods, almost seen creatures, lonely humans and arcane symbols made from twisted wood. This immediately links back to the original ’Blair Witch Project’ film and it is that building dread and realisation of being utterly out of civilisation that is so powerful to Uton. The pieces will quite honestly send many people screaming, so stark are they. But they document a head clearing, an ability to mentally leave behind the compliance and conformity of society and even musical structure. Instead they occupy that space in the woods and in truth aren’t all dread filled, many are soft evocations with moments of delightful melody. But let us not deny how strange and alien to our culture much of this music sounds.
It is as though someone has written symphonies to the animals, the unseen, the noises at the edge of our perception, the thickets where thorns tear at the skin, where birds fly just out of vision. That is why I started this review as I did, it is easier to describe this music in terms of the writing of Algernon Blackwood than it is in terms of The Incredible String Band or Espers.  Describing individual music pieces would be both impossible and pointless as they merge into the air and change like the weather in slow movements. Over the course of three Cds, left on as you go about your life the Cds almost merge with the atmosphere and become unnoticed but with an altering of the air around you. On this page the closest comparison would be Thuja and it is therefore not surprising that one of the Cdrs included was issued on their ‘Jewelled Antler’ imprint. Both artists work broadly in improvised acoustic music. Of the two Thuja’s is a lighter, slightly more accessible music but for most that will be like talking about degrees of pain.
There are those like myself who are drawn to this music, for whom it feels as much a compulsion as a choice. There is a physicality to the imagined forests Uton conjours. Indeed this does not feel like music composition and sounds like the outcome of aural alchemy, working with the air and trees themselves. Some of the recent releases have decidedly softened the music, taken it into calming even pastoral areas and these are beautiful essential releases. As ‘Sunmilk’ he has also gone even further out and with his children made a free folk music of bark licking, demented yellow eyed children.
However here the story begins and what an unsettling one it is. Whether liked or loathed it will not be forgotten. You may think this a strange or pretentious review, which reflects the difficulty of describing a music which has no structure or genre and for which we have no language. The question is not whether it will take you to these dark woods, the question is can you leave again when you want to?" (The Unbroken Circle)
   
"Uton equals Finnish Jani Hirvonen, whose output has been released before on Hammasratas, Humbug, Haamumaa, Jewelled Antler, and 267 lattajjaa labels on limited CD-R’s. Now Last Visible Dog has compiled a gigantic three CD collection of these and unreleased tracks. As the album’s title and the gorgeous pics on the cover booklet suggest, Finnish forests might have had a vast influence on the music. As Aquarius Records crystallises it: “like a krautrock band that was left in the forest by it's parents and raised by wild woodland creatures.” One of the tracks makes you feel like you’re inside of a vast, cathedral-like cave made out of ice. There is enough of buzz on a few tracks to break that down, but the intensity doesn’t actually jump on your face at any point and peaceful atmospherics are leading the main role. This hypnotic and magical music that brings a dreamlike state is well suited for meditation.

Stylistically this is very close to Kemialliset ystävät, Anaksimandros and Avarus, so this is clearly some kind of psych-noise-free-folk all right. At times the soundscape also reminds me of Coil. This is very psychedelic and mystical stuff, and you need some concentration to get in the mood. But when you take the ride, it will take you afar and deep somewhere into the origins of mankind or even life itself. Surely one of the best LVD releases and a very positive surprise for me, especially since I must confess that I hadn’t heard anything about this fellow countryman of mine before… The sound is at times a bit too lo-fi for me, but it doesn’t really bother here. The whole three hours might be little too much for some normal human beings, but people like that don’t really listen to this kind of stuff, now do they?" (DJ Astro / Psychotropic Zone)
   

"Where to begin with a 3 CD set of one of my favorite artists around... that's not easy. Last Visible Dog's massive "Whispers From the Woods" set is an essential, monolithic look at one of the most underappreciated artists in the sprawling Finnish scene. This release compiles many of Uton's (aka Jani Hirvonen) essential, but out-of-print, releases along with some bonus unreleasted material. It's a huge set, but for those who haven't yet experienced the forest spirit that is Uton, this is the best possible place to start.

The best disc here is the first, just because it finally gives Uton's essential "Tämän Sanan Jälkeen" CD-R (originally released on Hirvonen's own, now defunct, Haamumaa imprint) the proper reissue it deserves. This densely textured album is the aural emergence of the first primeval woods centuries ago. This music has an old soul and Uton's use of dark electronics in conjunction with acoustic instrumentation is nothing short of spectacular. This is a wholly satisfying release, combining all the elements that makes the Finnish underground so great.

Also of note is the long out-of-print CD-R on the Jewelled Antler label, "Ay Um Au Lam." This seven-song release was Uton's most impressive foray into minimal droneworks. Hirvonen never overwhelms you with the electronic tones on "Ay Um Au Lam." He knows when to hold back and let the listener's imagination fill in any gaps or cracks that he leaves out. It's an underrated skill, but is used to perfection on this album. "Ay Um Au Lam" is the logical precursor to what is my favorite Uton release to date, "The August Light." Where that release had rich, organic threads weaving through it, like it was the modern music of the magic woods, "Ay Um Au Lam" is more primitive. It's the primordial soup that all life emerged from. In this simple state, this is pure beauty.

The other releases on "Whispers From the Woods" expand on these various themes and offer a deep insight to Uton's modus operandi. The more noisy and abrasive "Mikä Kasvaa Maan Sisällä" (from the noise label Hammasratas in 2003) has an almost childlike feel to it, like a baby learning to finally walk. And there's the underrated 3" from 267 Lattajjaa, "Buddhamania," that is like the same moments from "Mikä," but from the perspective of a concerned, yet proud, parent. It's full of anticipation and fear. This is simply an awesome collection by a wonderfully talented artist.

Uton should be mentioned in the same breath as all the better known acts from Finland. Sure, popularity or recognition means squat these days, but in the end, more people need to hear these excellent compositions. Jani Hirvonen knows what he's doing and does it very, very well. "Whispers From the Woods" is essential for fans of Uton and those who have yet to discover his brilliance." (Brad Rose / Foxy Digitalis)

   
VANHAN PÄIVÄN JUMALAT - 3"CDR (Foxglove, 2005)

"Uton unloads the first of three new 3"s for foxglove consisting of similar, meditatitve pieces. On these two tracks, uton showcases his skill at composing quiet, minimalist ramblings. Picking up on similar territory as last year's "august light" cd-r, "vanhan päivän jumalat" is a pine-sceneted excursion through the dark, winter months finland lives through each year. Simple beauty often creates the longest lasting effect, and such is the case with uton's latest face. 90 copies." (Brad Rose / Foxglove)
   
"On new release "vanhan päivän jumalat" Uton is also working in complementary areas with slowly evolving, quiet drones. Where some of Uton's work is intense and brooding, these are comparatively restrained, with only a few layers seeping into the air. There is a confined, insular elements, the drones sound smothered, covered in fog or cloud. Loneliness seems to sit at its heart, a child playing in a room. Although kept simple this perhaps enhances the music, it seems to leave more of an impression, getting to the harmonic structures carefully established between the layers. Letting the music emerge, uncomplicated, stark but communicative. This will be one to return to, a consistency of feel to the pieces and a sustained mood that further invokes the musical correlation of Finland with 'the other' places, places though we wish we could be." (The Unbroken Circle)
   

THE AUGUST LIGHT - CDR (267 Lattajjaa, 2004)

"This is wonderfully eerie stuff you could compare to early Coil and kinda be on the mark. Uton a/k/a Jani Hirvonen couples electronic drone with plucked acoustic instrumentation. On the Fusetron site, Hirvonen describes the disc: "The August Light is recorded last august in Tampere, based to a dream from the very same time. Walking in a dark forest, to meet the giant leech up in the hill. To listen its inhuman long screams (as a new light), which gave another scene in the square next to us: People levitating in their sleep, like in coma. Then as suddenly as everything else came up the lightnings, filling their bodies over and over again. And thats surely the august light I want to shear with You!" The Providence label, Last Visible dog is planning to release a triple Uton CD sometime soon." (Brandon Stosuy / Pitchfork)
   
"Uton is one of the most criminally underappreciated artists currently residing in the great white north of Finland. In The Wire's recent article proclaiming the brilliance of the Finnish 'scene,' Uton was conspicuously left out. For my money, Uton's meandering soundscapes are some of the finest being exported from the land of the Suomi. On "The August Light," Uton shows us a new side of his ever-evolving project. This album is bathed in the pine-scented forests of the north, touched by a spiritual, unspoken presence.

This latest CD-R on the mighty 267-Lattajjaa imprint explores the mystical world that exists outside of most cities. It is a place where Mother Nature is the dominating force, watching over all her tree children and glacial palaces. These 10 untitled tracks are a dreamlike journey. They go to places that could only exist in your mind and reveal things that your unconscious doesn't want you to know. Within these mossy walls exists a dark world that is aching for the light. It's a place where dark hunter greens long to live the way of the flourescent realm of colors.

Solemn electronic drones rise and fall from beneath the coniferious canopy. Organic instrumentation finds its way between the seams, acting as the glue that holds this entire arbor symphony together. Uton's in his element here. This is music that is cerebral while also being accessible. The organic instruments do their part in keeping these album from feeling too distant. It's like walking through a mystical, almost-frightening world, but carrying some piece of home with you that keeps you feeling safe & warm. "The August Light" is a neverending search for some unspeakable truth. Uton is looking for rebirth.

This is an album that unfolds on many levels simultaneously. As it creeps along slowly, ghostly voices rise through the murky keyboards, guitars, and recorders, illuminating the way through this forest. "The August Light" is brilliant, in approach and in execution. Uton has impressed me a lot over the past few years, but never as much as he does on this release. "The August Light" is his finest hour." (Brad Rose / Foxy Digitalis)
   
"With this recording Uton takes a couple of steps back from the more technological experiments of the above two discs [Retrohumanoid and XXX], and that's just fine! This is nicely organic and utilizes a bunch of mostly acoustic instruments such as drums, violin, accordion (or something that sound like it), guitars, singing, etc... In a way the playing as well as the whole atmosphere feels freer than on most Uton recordings that have concentrated more on the drone thing. I don't mean this would be free in a free-jazz improv way, and there's still a whole lot of droning going on, but somehow this feels more, well, playful, but still in a rather dark way. This is also more varied (in the way the instruments are used, not in the mood that stays the same throughout) than most Uton recordings. As criticism I should mention that most of the tracks end somewhat abruptly, which doesn't suite this kind of music. Definitely the best one of the Uton works reviewed here, and one of the very best from the 267L label. Great cover art, too." (Pekka PT / Dilettante's Digest)
   

XXX - CDR (Gold Soundz, 2004)

"As someone who regularly talks about the forests and green aspects of Tampere, Finland, I also acknowledge that there's another side to the city. Industrial spires rise in the cold blue air and spew black smoke into the skies. This cold, sterile part of the city is a major aspect to its functionality as a Finnish meteropolis. However, most of the music coming out of Tampere that I know and love focuses on the other side - the mystical forest gnome dances. Bands like Avarus, Kemialliset Ystävät, Master Qsh, and others, all embody this; it's engrained in their bones. And then there is Uton. I have long admired the cryptic sounds coming from the Haamumaa HQ, and Uton has never failed to explore a variety of landscapes with his music.

"xxx" burns down the forests and passes out on the charred ground. This is desolate music. In these glacial explorations, Uton reminds us of the industrial districts of his home city. The first track isolates the wail of machines and stretches it to infinity. Harsh edges are sanded off to minimize the damage done to your eardrums. Feedback scrawls are looped around and pulled tight, making this a greasy, cohesive mess.

Within this black goop arises an interconnected beauty. By the time the gurgling glow of the third track emerges from the burning steam, you are completely drawn in. Underneath this high frequency hum is chaos, always looming, always present. But it never overtakes the piece. The glossy finish is always at the center of your attention; keep your focus there, you won't be lost or destroyed. Magic happens here, but in a different, manmade way. Inside these massive factories, creation is taking place. Each hand that works each machine, putting parts together, is like its very own god of creation. Instead of seven days, this process lasts forver.

Uton's "xxx" is a subtle reminder that within every place, there are dichotomies at work. In order for these forests to thrive and exist in Tampere, it needs the industrial complexes to produce the goods that fund the parks. It's a modern circle of life, and without it we would no doubt be lost. These archaic drones show another side of Uton, and prove that he is capable of performing at high level within any context. This is perfect for those cold winter nights as it aurally depicts everything that they are." (Brad Rose / Foxy Digitalis)

   
BUDDHAMANIA - 3"CDR (267 Lattajjaa, 2003)

"I'm biased here, but uton's a genius & i always love his art, album titles & cryptic noise mud-slides. great forestdrone, shortwave, bowed guitars? I don't know what he uses, but it all sounds mysterious & subconscious, dreamlike." (Glenn Donaldson / Jewelled Antler)

"Here's another winning round of phantom molecular flows, radiator hums, shortwave transmissions and subatomic sandblasting courtesy of Finland's Jani Hirvonen. This instantly deleted 3" CDR, while corralling his concerns with the organically abstracted into a smaller pen than the epically expansive Ground's Dream Cosmic Love from three years later (and which I shared back in July of last year), is still a wonderfully evocative and heavy lidded waking dream of an album." (Mutant Sounds)
   
"Uton is by no means a newcomer to these pages and it's easy to see why after treating my ears with Buddhamania a few times. It's a spiritual, highly transporting drone affair that either will have you thinking about the mystical forests around Tampere, Finland or some far away temple. I connect more closely to the first description but you should probably bear in mind that it's mostly the most frightening part of the forests that Uton has mastered describing." (Mats Gustafsson / Broken Face)
   
"Beautiful stuff from Finland's Uton. Transcendental drone-alchemy of the highest order. This miniature masterpiece of bowed guitars, field recordings and primitive electronics conjured up visions of ancient magickal rituals, Kali the Destroyer and a mysterious enveloping white light..." (Sea of Shining Shoryobuni)
   
"Oh man, this is one of the very best records in the wide field of experimental music that I've ever heard. I've heard many people praise Uton lately, adn if you ask me, it's all well deserved. Another thing that I've been hearing is the adjective "mystical" being used when describing Uton. I agree with that, too. The first of the three tracks on Buddhamania (ok, I must admit that the record title is not exactly for my taste) has a droning low-end sound and different electronic and other noises and sounds skillfully layered on top of it. Mystical, hypnotic, otherworldly, beautiful, simply amazing (do I sound lame or what?!? Well fuck that, I just love this disc!). The second track is another top-notch exercise in layering sounds (many of them backwards-masked in this case) that turn my stereos into an altar of an ancient god of decadence and hallucinations. If Tivol (see above) made me want a beer, Uton definitely calls for some herbal treatment, although a stoned mind would probably find these sounds too eerie. The last track is more noisy and restless than the first two, and doesn't reach the same spheres, but still remains damn good." (Pekka PT, Dilettante's Digest)
   

ZWUIJ - 3"CDR (Jewelled Antler, 2003)

"The Jewelled Antler collective offers another record outside their immediate ranks of Thuja and company. Although they've had a couple of CD-R releases popping up from tiny labels around the globe, this is our introduction to Uton. This anonymous, acoustic-noise-drone band hails from Finland, although they seem far more at home within the New Zealand community of Birchville Cat Motel, Anthony Milton, and Handful of Dust. "Zwuiji" is the 7th in the continuously impressive "Library Series" of 3" CD-Rs from Jewelled Antler, but is a bit more grating than most from the collective which typically opiates themselves with hazy improvised psychedelia and obtuse folk renderings. Rather Uton revels in mistreating their electric gear in order to fill up the audio specturm with buzzing drones that swarm out of their amplifiers like angry wasps. Scratchy violins and atonally shifting wind instruments hover behind these gritty walls of vibrating feedback which comes across more as a misaligned engine block rattling all of those tones inside your head than as a typical trick with a couple of effects boxes. Certainly the fans of cd-r labels Celebrate Psi Phenomenon or PseudoArcana will want to pick this one up." (Aquarius Records)

   
TÄMÄN SANAN JÄLKEEN - CDR (Haamumaa, 2002)

"In our never-ending search for the lost pieces of the Finnish underground jigsaw puzzle the turn has come to the indescribable and otherworldly Uton. I'm not entirely sure who is involved, but I do know that they turn on a pretty fantastic ancient drone machine that conjures spacious yet occasionally harsh sounds, which land somewhere in the thermal pools of southern New  Zealand. And they won't turn the whole thing off until your mind is transported to down under, or at least to some sort of unknown and mysterious realm. In its best moments Tämän Sanan Jälkeen is just as good as the crown jewels from Flies Inside the Sun's repertoire and its various off-shots, and if that's not an indicator of quality, I'm not sure what is. Vibracathedral Orchestra-like droning strings wrestle with minimal guitar scratchings and flutes, and although remaining on the difficult side of fringe music, this still works like balsam for the warped mind, and its organic qualities are as  mesmerizing as they are surprising." (Mats Gustafsson / Broken Face)
   
"Strange drones & bowed acoustic strings, cosmic echoing flutes & feedback rumble that recalls classic Zoviet France lp’s like shouting at the ground or early Popul Vuh colliding with throbbing gristle’s calmer moments or perhaps the most abstract moments of Flies Inside the Sun…murky folk-noise of the highest caliber." (Glenn Donaldson / Jewelled Antler)
   
"Reminicent of Sleep and other Metonymic projects, Finnish group Uton trace liminal realms with their discreet guitars, spatial flutes and droning strings.  Ancient Scandinavian gods make an appearance." (Antony Milton / PseudoArcana)
   
"Top knotch, scuttling, drone and scrape from these bright stars in the Finnish crown. A twittering of great mystery that'll get you to lala-land quick smart. Stupifying!" (Campbell Kneale / C-Psi-P)



ANTI / UTON - Borrowed Antennas - CDR (Humbug, 2005)

"Finnish sonic sorceror extraordinaires Anti and Uton have been running of a string of successful collaborations over the past few years. Anti is best known for his work in the quintessential Finnish group, Mother Goose. And Uton is, well... Uton. If you don't know Uton's work at this point, you're seriously missing out on some of the most inspired mystic sounds coming out of the land of the Suomi. When these two get together, it sounds as though the world is on the verge of extinction. "Borrowed Antennas" is only vaguely similar to this duo's previous effort, "These Rains Were Tales Before." Where the latter explored more minimal, and often acoustic, domains, "Borrowed Antennas" is a mighty headfuck.
As most the world knows, the Gulf Coast area of the United States has been pummelled by not one, but two hurricanes in the past month. Well, "Borrowed Antennas" is like the dense chaos of a hurricane. Or at least what I imagine it's like to be in a hurricane. Layer upon layer of sonic dust splatters the walls of this album, constantly bouncing off each other and punching out holes. This is massive and sprawling. Raw intensity spews like an endless rain. It's fantastic. I feel like I'm being swallowed whole and spit back out.
There are six tracks here, clocking in at just over 45 minutes. That's a hefty chunk of fuzz to traverse, but it is well worth the effort. Rivers of distorted guitars and feedback squalls mount quite an attack, but it feels good. It feels right. This is catharcism defined." (Brad Rose / Foxy Digitalis)
   

HEVOSET - CS/LP (Huutomerkki / Haamumaa 2004 // Dekorder 2008)

"Hevoset is a collaboration between two Tampere heavyweights: Uton and Jan Anderzén. These two artists have very different styles and approaches, but they manage to weld them together into a mystical organic romp. This tape runs about 40 minutes, and there is not any moment during which that the onslaught lets up. It's like Anderzén and Uton managed to physically inhabit the other's brain. These songs are often chaotic, but there's an underlying sense of something more straightforward that keeps it together. Anderzén has always had pop sensibilities running through his Kemialliset Ystävät albums, but he keeps it obscured enough that you can never quite pin it down.

I find it difficult to discern which parts of the music are contributed by which member. But really, it's not important. Groaning vocals and rhythmic chants overlay noise soup. This is the music of people removed from civilization. It's like this is some kind of ancient artifact. It grinds on your skull, but feels so right. Plucked acoustic guitars and whimsical wind instruments weave in and out of each other's paths, never colliding but getting close enough that they disrupt each other. It's dizzying and fantastic.

It's difficult to separate the tracks here, but each song is unimportant. It's the whole mess that will bring you to your knees. There are moments when the things that make Kemialliset Ystävät and Uton great on their own come together in forested harmony. In particular, on side A when Anderzén is droning away on a keyboard and Uton is massaging your spinal cord with masochistic feedback scrawl - it's hypnotic. These two artists are in a trance here, channelling the sounds in their head. It's so fucking good.

Some tracks are more melodic, some are more disjointed, but as a whole it is masterful. Each crackle, each chime, each wail, and each skronk is perfectly placed. This is definitely a case where the sum is greater than the parts. Anderzén and Uton are in top form here and fans of either solo project will chew this up and consume it for months. People can argue over what kind of aura Tampere has, but Hevoset provides some of the best evidence that the city is steeped in organic glory." (Brad Rose / Foxy Digitalis)

"Hevoset is the duo of two of the most enigmatic individuals of the Finnish Underground, namely Jan Anderzen and Jani Hirvonen, both hailing from Tampere. Anderzen is ringleader of a mysterious multitudinous beast known as Kemialliset Ystävät (Fonal Records), a part-time member of Avarus and Islaja and records solo as Tomutonttu (Ultra Exzema, Beta-Lactam Ring Records) with a new album coming out on Dekorder this year (hopefully). Hirvonen is best-known under his Uton monicker with two LP’s on Dekorder and a stream of releases on Last Visible Dog, Digitalis, Ruralfauna, Jewelled Antler, Pseudo Arcana and his own Ikuisuus label.
While most one-off meetings between so-called experimental and improvising musicians often sound like bad excuses for a few beers and  endless jams this is quite the opposite – a heavy weight championship finale of two like-minded whizkids cross-fertilizing each other with idea after idea, leading to some of the weirdest and quixotic recordings you will have heard of the two.
Everything you loved about Kemialliset Ystävät, Uton and Tomutonttu is contained in Hevoset.....and more. Rural psychedelia, out-of-tune plucked and strummed strings, overloaded organs and effect pedals, Jani Hirvonen’s sweet wordless vocals, ecstatic improvised drone collages, bells, backward loops, jungle percussion and tons of unidentifiable sounds and noises shaped into tight 4 – 6 minute tracks." (Dekorder)



BIRDSONG FOR SEWERS - CDR (Digitalis Industries, 2004)

"Postal collaboration between myself and Finland's Jani Hirvonen (Uton). Music of the night, surrounded by flickering flames from small campfires under deserted bridges. Dreams of the open void from the heart of the city. Truly delightful and omninously brooding all at once. An album in search of a home. (Peter Wright)
   
This is a duo project between Peter Wright and Uton, who divided their instrumental and recording duties and sent the reciprocal results to each other via mail. The music is fantastic; it has a tension building towards infinite that makes it shine brightly, even if most of the atmospheres are created through droning guitars, obscure looping and a thoughtful use of field recordings. The inexplicable becomes imagery, while the moaning of distant strings shifts the level of our conscience up to oblong figures of mistaken identities. The mind gets out of any known frame, avoiding the manipulations of many puzzling cerebral settlements to librate in open air, just content of being shipwrecked in opiate silences. Grounded on a cross of unapproachableness and sense of unstable gravity, "Birdsong for sewers" is another of those hidden masterpieces you'd better search with all your zeal; if I never had the pleasure of meeting the work of Uton until now, Wright confirms his undersung greatness once and for all." (Massimo Ricci / Touching Extremes)
   
"Postal collaborations often go awry. but when you bring together two masterful performers like New Zealand's Peter Wright and Finland's Uton, there is potential. Over the course of year, Uton & Wright traded tapes, utilizing the space-compressiong postal system to their glorious advantage. these insular drones are like a warm blanket, wrapping around your skull and keeping you safe.They are impossible to escape, but once you submit, you won't want to. a beautiful combination of New Zealand sun and Finland's mystics. There's nothing but beauty to be found within." (Brad Rose / Digitalis Industries)
   
"Striking postal collaboration between two heavy-hitters, New Zealand ex-pat Peter Wright and Finnish cosmonaut Uton on electric guitar, effects, flutes, computer, loops, 6 & 12 string acoustic, minidisk, powerbook and field recordings. Subterranean psychedelia that touches on everything from the esoteric Industrial surrealism of HNAS through Sandoz-scale drones, eerie breath tones, blurred cycles of bowed subliminal sound and an almost oppressively nocturnal atmosphere. A trip, for sure." (Volcanic Tongue)
   

A.M. / UTON: NTHnth STHsth - CDR (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, 2004)

"As if it wasn't enough that these two hiss-enthusiasts are situated firmly in the drivers seat of their own esteemed empires, the propect of hearing them cross swords simultaneously on the same piece of tape seemed unbearably exciting. Such is the nightlife in my part of the world. Mesmerising, multi-hemispheric, slumber-punk of a calibre well beyond garden-variety dronesters and dime-a-dozen noodlers. Have you ever noticed that if you stare for too long at green fuzz pedals, you can make yourself seasick?" (C-Psi-P)
   
"For many musicians, there are like-minded souls that feel a connection with each other despite living thousands of miles away. It can be a frustrating situation, for sure. Two countries that have aural connections are New Zealand and Finland. Two unlikely suspects on the world stage, their underground music scenes are both thriving and overflowing with talented visionaries. From a geographic standpoint, it seems unlikely that these countries would have so many similarities. But geography is only half the battle. When I think of a shortlist of some of my favorite experimental artists, a bulk of them hail from each of these countries.

Antony Milton and Jani Hirvonen are two of the best to hail from New Zealand and Finland, respectively. Most people know Antony Milton for his solo project, A.M. and his label Pseudoarcana. Jani is widely respected for his work as Uton, and also for his label, Haamumaa. A.M. and Uton releases often delve into similar territory. They take insular, glacial drones and turn and twist them into something enveloping and warm. It's a near-impossible task to mold such inhospitable aural landscapes into something inviting. Yet, time and time again, A.M. and Uton releases do just that, even if they're doing it half a world away. Now, collaborations-via-post are not new in the world of experimental music, but more of them have been popping up recently. Because of their similarities, it is natural that Milton and Hirvonen decided to travel down this road and work together on a giant, dense slab of melting drone soundscapes. "NTHnth STHsth" is the result.

People used to say that John Coltrane produced sheets of sound. This is a phrase that applies to much of today's quality drone. More appropriate for A.M./Uton, however, is a blanket. In its steely approach, it ends up being very warm. It wraps its mythical arms around you and holds you close and tight. This is especially audible and obvious on the beautiful "Slow Call Across the Channel." Underneath the moaning electric guitars lies the churning sound of a radio wave. It's a welcome call from a distant land, reminding you that you're not alone.

This is music for those who find comfort in overcast skies. You don't need to see the stars to feel their glow, and you feel an intrinsic beauty in the thousands of grey shades overhead. "Drifts" is the embodiment of those emotions and visual images. Metallic clatter accompanies Milton's violin strokes, and piercing feedback tries to escape its iron cage. In a seemingly simple piece, there's a lot happening here. This is a perfect end to an excellent album.

Harsher moments also grace the surface of "NTHnth STHsth." "Rum Dance Under Saturn," for example, utilizes machinistic percussion to great effect. These wails and scrapes are like a fierce wind tearing a metal roof off an old barn. There's such intensity here that it's only a matter of time before the whole thing comes down.

But once again, you are protected by the thick droning sounds. You are encased in it's warmth, protected from the fight that rages outside. Once this album is locked in your brain, it will begin to seep out the cracks in your skull. It will hypnotize you. Close your eyes, and let it happen. Tear down your own walls and live inside "NTHnth STHsth"s pulsating glow." (Brad Rose / Foxy Digitalis)