Haapala- bass violin
From the far north here are solo and duets led by the mostly alternatively-tuned bass. Are they compositions are improvisations? I don’t know what the mix is. I just know that this is deep listening music that is highly imaginative and that the meditative intensity is the main attraction here. “Escaping Life” for bass, soprano sax, harpsichord and percussion is a wonder. Lotta Hasselquist’s harpsichord is exquisite. “Calling Strange Herd Home” is inspired by the antique Finnish women’s practice of calling cows home with “high-pitched calls.” It’s attractively rustic and Nordic. In “Eurasia” Haapala is joined by bouzouki player Mats Einarsson. Its title doesn’t over-promise. Another standout is “Aria for Elk and Choir of Bassviolins.” Here Haapala employs a field recording of an elk’s voice that is, as the artist mentions, close to a human’s. Can’t decide if it’s sorrowful or quizzical, and therein lies its value. Every track on this platter is a must. Haapala is one of Finland’s, and Scandinavia’s, leading lights.