Once Upon a Time In My Town –  Pekkanini (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Pekkanini’s music is always going to have that 60’s vibe to it, when one of your most prominent instruments is the Theramin, the associations with past sci-fi theme tunes is hard to avoid. But as his latest album proves, “it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it” and his deftness as a composer and ability with a whole range of other instruments means that the end result is much more inspired, interesting and unique than such lazy associations might suggest.

Inspired by his home town of Gothenburg, the songs are filled with all manner of musical vibes from 60’s chamber pop to drifting space-rock, funky grooves to hushed cinematic soundtracks, sinister noir-ish tones and prog intricacies. I find the best way to approach instrumental albums, such as this, is to listen to the music whilst focusing on the title, and without the direct communication of the lyrical component, let the music conjure the relevant images. Music is good like that.

Once Upon a Time In My Town seems to operate like a fantasy travel guide, the titles being a place on the map and the music being a way of recreating the scenes and scenarios, the architecture and inspirations, the places and people who triggered the music in the first place. Port Walk feels like a furtive night-time flit, bass-heavy and full of fun, Waiting For the Rain is loaded with the right amount of anticipation and Bad Neighbourhood is raw danger made into music.

Music is a great means of communication but it is also a form of Chinese Whispers in that as the music is passed from its creator to the listener it is so open to interpretation that it changes meaning as it moves down the line, the message being reviewed differently person to person. But that’s its power rather than its weakness and the music found here is a wonderfully powerful instigator of such emotive conjugations and ever-changing images.

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