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Artist: ISLAJA
Title: Blaze Mountain Recordings
Format: CD
Label: Ecstatic Peace
Country: USA
Price: $11.00
"Islaja is Merja Kokkonen, a visual artist and musician from Helsinki, Finland. Shes been releasing records on Finnish label Fonal since 2004. The first one, Meritie, introduced her lovely sense of musical wonder to the world and garnered excited praise from the more astute ears at The Wire (UK) and Dusted Magazine (USA). The 2nd release Palaa Aurinkoon was equally boss and brought Islaja to North America with compatriot Finnish folk experimentalists Lau Nau and Kuupuu where she mesmerized audiences with a captivating minimalism of sweet singing and small toy and hand-made instruments played by herself and companion Jukka Raisanen. In 2007, she released her third album Ulual Yyy which expanded her sound into further psychedelic paths. Since then Islaja has played numerous large festivals including Eurosonic, Sonar and the 2006 All Tomorrows Parties/Nightmare Before Christmas curated by Thurston Moore. Animal Collective invited Islaja to play a two week support tour with them in Europe. Blaze Mountain Recordings is a live document, all music and words by Merja and played by Merja and Jukka. Its the perfect portal to enter the living world of Islajas music/art spirit with a unity of traditional Finnish forest mystery and a radical song universe." -Ecstatic Peace

Artist: ISLAJA
Title: Keraaminen Pää
Format: LP
Label: Fonal
Country: Finland
Price: $18.00
"LP version. Islaja is the recording alias of Merja Kokkonen, a musician and visual artist from Helsinki, currently based in Berlin. A regular contributor to the more psych/folk and improv-oriented Kemialliset Ystävät and Avarus, Islajas recordings are by contrast almost entirely self-contained, reflecting the more personal nature of her music, and a natural affinity towards an independent/DIY aesthetic. Her fourth album for Fonal, Keraaminen Pää (trans. "Ceramic Head") contains many shades of black. It also bears witness to a shift in perception and execution; yet the thread that weaves its way through all Islajas work remains resolute, visible and intact. If Islajas previous albums for Fonal appear to exhibit a more overtly pastoral nature, this in part feels coincidental, or secondary to something much larger and more difficult to define. From the earliest Islaja recordings, Merja has made the simplest of instrumentation work to her own ends, displaying a disquieting combination of innocence and fearlessness, and a seemingly innate ability to transcend the confines of a genre. It is the same singular approach and vision that informs Keraaminen Pää -- born largely of whatever instruments were on hand; if the sound has shifted into more electronic terrain, it remains as immersive and subtly evocative as ever. When sketching out the dimensions of Keraaminen Pää, Islaja was clear about one thing: the album should have a soul within, preferably silky thin and translucent, like a jellyfish swimming around in the ocean. During the recording process, however, Keraaminen Pää turned into a heavy, robot-molded disc of clay. It spins, shines, pops and crackles, all the while escaping definition. This is also is the first Islaja album to feature English translations of Merjas lyrics. The songs on Keraaminen Pää were written, composed, and recorded on three continents over a period of three years, with Islaja performing, recording and mixing the majority of the album herself. The recordings may recall the waves crashing on the Bight of Benin, the frogs croaking on Lantau Island, the starry sky above Roihuvuori, Helsinki, or maybe a one-euro pizza in Berlin. Less fractured and more fleshed out than previous Islaja recordings, the songs still careen recklessly, pulsing and shifting with a life of their own." -Fonal

Artist: ISLAJA
Title: Keraaminen Pää
Format: CD
Label: Fonal
Country: Finland
Price: $18.00
"Islaja is the recording alias of Merja Kokkonen, a musician and visual artist from Helsinki, currently based in Berlin. A regular contributor to the more psych/folk and improv-oriented Kemialliset Ystävät and Avarus, Islajas recordings are by contrast almost entirely self-contained, reflecting the more personal nature of her music, and a natural affinity towards an independent/DIY aesthetic. Her fourth album for Fonal, Keraaminen Pää (trans. "Ceramic Head") contains many shades of black. It also bears witness to a shift in perception and execution; yet the thread that weaves its way through all Islajas work remains resolute, visible and intact. If Islajas previous albums for Fonal appear to exhibit a more overtly pastoral nature, this in part feels coincidental, or secondary to something much larger and more difficult to define. From the earliest Islaja recordings, Merja has made the simplest of instrumentation work to her own ends, displaying a disquieting combination of innocence and fearlessness, and a seemingly innate ability to transcend the confines of a genre. It is the same singular approach and vision that informs Keraaminen Pää -- born largely of whatever instruments were on hand; if the sound has shifted into more electronic terrain, it remains as immersive and subtly evocative as ever. When sketching out the dimensions of Keraaminen Pää, Islaja was clear about one thing: the album should have a soul within, preferably silky thin and translucent, like a jellyfish swimming around in the ocean. During the recording process, however, Keraaminen Pää turned into a heavy, robot-molded disc of clay. It spins, shines, pops and crackles, all the while escaping definition. This is also is the first Islaja album to feature English translations of Merjas lyrics. The songs on Keraaminen Pää were written, composed, and recorded on three continents over a period of three years, with Islaja performing, recording and mixing the majority of the album herself. The recordings may recall the waves crashing on the Bight of Benin, the frogs croaking on Lantau Island, the starry sky above Roihuvuori, Helsinki, or maybe a one-euro pizza in Berlin. Less fractured and more fleshed out than previous Islaja recordings, the songs still careen recklessly, pulsing and shifting with a life of their own." - Fonal

Artist: ISLAJA
Title: Meritie
Format: CD
Label: Fonal
Country: Finland
Price: $18.00
"Islaja might well be a forgotten islet somewehere or a name of courageous sword swinging heroine in a forgotten fable. For one, Islaja is a certain young woman that has sang and played an album full of heart-rending intimate music. Half a year of quietly working in her homestudio brought about a cluster of transcendental tunes that are now being released as an album called Meritie. One song Islaja whispered in a fewer and another with an oriental monkey. At times it is impossible to tell where the sounds are coming from. The variety of instruments is vast, but all have their space and strong belief in the power of individual sounds can be heard. Islaja has exceptional sense of harmony that alone can make the album a magical listening experience. The voice of Islaja sounds bravely over the screaming crazed sea-gulls. It is stunningly honest. This is a great victory in these times of sadness." Sami from Fonal said "Its a bit like Kemialliset Ystävät and Fursaxa but with a more traditional Finnish feel to it. Its a girl from Finland whos done all the stuff alone. Its one of the records in the Fonal catalogue I nowadays listen to most."

Artist: ISLAJA
Title: Palaa Aurinkoon
Format: CD
Label: Fonal
Country: Finland
Price: $18.00
"Islaja masters the elements of our universe one by one or maybe the sea and the sun are embracing Islaja, it must go both ways but there, where all this happens, the listener is received with clattering sounds of paradise and drowned by surprise in a swell that stretches all the way to the dark rock bottom. Whats down there? Fight the rotten faith so itll wither until it hardly exists, believe it! Islaja shows the way of rhythm, no it isnt a straight one, the way of chant, it cant be foreseen. Textures evolve into new ones. Scabby rhythms spin socks on feet, skin burns into ashes in the attacking heat. Senile wine glasses wail of happiness. Fallen off beard hair are woven into a scarf that lets the wind blow fast right through it. If only life would be like this more than just an hour at a time! After everything the sun blesses the way with Islajas words, it spits out of its system the wet and transformed listener, who longs for the light again. Islajas second album was born in two different places that have been sewed up one to another with the binds of words and a rich sound world. Here and there, Islajas friends have lent their voices for this world. Loose guitar paths, long strokes of wind instruments, glasses and toys that clink, rattle and tinkle, rhythms, keyboards and Islajas wonderful, many-faceted voice are cooing in a miraculous net. The album is a spontaneous texture of muscle, cartilage and liquid, everything organized in such a surprising way that one cant believe right away that its a human being, but soon enough it becomes clear that its a most ingenious creature. It evolves by itself. It tells us how everything metamorphoses, it relies on itself and infuses belief into the listener that one can change the world. The secret place where the creature invites the listener is revealed to be our real world, it lives here with us." - Lau Naukkarinen.

Artist: ISLAJA
Title: Ulual
Format: LP
Label: Fonal
Country: Finland
Price: $19.00
"Islajas third album is a journey deeper into the world that for us is a dream and a fairytale, but to her a reality. Islaja as a concept has turned into a star that is expected to shine with brilliance. But she is something else. The songs tell us about the decay of our age, its demise and immorality, its plunge into heartless consumer culture. Islaja herself does not burn in that same fire. Her fire is an inner fire. Behind her eyes and in her heart you can see and hear her true charisma. True dedication and utter disrespect for the artificial authority made by men. Yet she is not the self-destructive Nico or the eccentric Björk. But a good woman. A tough one. Her eyes can burn a hole in you. Her songs are poems and stabbing knives. - Sami Sänpäkkilä." "Islaja is Merja Kokkonen, a young visual artist and musician living and working in Helsinki, Finland. Islaja records her music at home using a rainbow of instruments to accompany her personal vocal delivery sung in Finnish. She has performed with Avarus, Kemialliset Ystävät and is also a member of Hertta Lussu �?ssä, a free-folk super trio with Lau Nau and Kuupuu." - Fonal.

by artist / 0-9    A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z    V/A \   by label