A Same Kind of Different Part IIJaakko Eino Kalevi
Last October, Jaakko Eino Kalevi released his fifth album, Out of Touch, with this latest addition to his considerable discography showing that his dreamy electronics, rhythmic repetitions and register- roaming voice have come to act as constants. Nevertheless, he is always tweaking and experimenting with new sounds, pushing the envelope without relying on a particular genre.
The results are often intriguing journeys through songwriting and astonishing production. With Out of Touch, Kalevi has steadily navigated stripped-down lo-fi and synth-heavy pop, a direction that largely stems from his background in dub. The way his vocals sometimes seem to take the backseat has some similarities to Bibio, while there’s something about his evocative 1980s groove that is reminiscent of Alex Cameron. However, inspiration is inevitably something that shifts over time. “Lately, I have been listening to music kind of passively, without necessarily knowing the artist,” he says. He also mentions an array of artists who inspired him when making the album, who range from the legendary jazz pianist Steve Kuhn and star-spangled funk god Bootsy Collins to Brazilian psych-rock pioneers Os Mutantes and comedian Tim Heidecker and his humorous songs. This somewhat-surprising collection of influences is, at least genre-wise, a good representation of how he is able to repeatedly surprise fans with his unpredictable sonic nuggets. In his songwriting, his dub background clearly manifests itself in his fondness for creating tracks that have melodic synths dancing around a steady beat. “My songs are usually built around a beat,” he says. “First I do the drums and then the bass and then build on that.” But the reverse process can be just as useful.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi
“Sometimes ideas come in a different form, though. It could be also a piece of melody. That’s actually great because it is easier for me to come up with rhythmical stuff. Athens was especially an inspiration for many of the songs on this record,” Kalevi says, who alternated between spending time there, in surroundings more unfamiliar to him, and at home while putting the album together. He also mentions other influences on the lyrical themes of his latest release, which are small stories in themselves. “Some thoughts from my youth. A memory of an old song my friend used to play,” he says. “A fortune cookie. Shampoo commercials. Cooking at night. Dream girls and romances that never happened. Unconditional friendship and stupid fears.” Simultaneously ambiguous and specific, they are all elaborated on in this album. Despite being able to make his living through his music – the dream of many aspiring musicians – Kalevi says that even though he appreciates he is in that position, it wasn’t something he was actively aiming towards initially. “I would like to have some other job though. Just as a balancing thing,” he says. “Sometimes I feel I’m thinking too much about myself. Maybe I could be a waiter. Or a bellboy.” Let’s hope he sticks to music. Regarding his future evolution as an artist, he admits he’s playing it by ear. “I’m always after new synths, and that is inspiring and brings new ways of doing things,” he says. “Maybe there is a new direction that hasn’t been present in my music yet. Who knows?!”
Words by Jonas Hallén @jonkien
Artist: Jaakko Eino Kalevi @jaakkoeinokalevi
Photography by Johan Nilsson @johanjnilsson
Styling by Pejman Biround Vand @pejmanbirounvand
Hair & Make-up by Sara Eriksson @saraerikssonmakeup
Special thanks to: The Forumist
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