Eclipse Music 2018
Award-winning Finnish conductor sets baton aside to let a symphony of fusion sort into the open.
Mostly known for his work with various orchestras, Jukka Iisakkila is actually a multi-instrumentalist who has no qualms about branching out from classical music, although “Clocks And Clouds” is his debut outing as a solo artist. It’s a work to defy expectations because the maestro’s day job didn’t have a lot of impact on jazzy trips that find him play every instrument, bar percussion, and do so with much gusto to create a lot of details.
There’s a nicely textured salvo to “Freefall” which kickstarts the album and gives its opening a samba flavor but gets streamlined once galloping drums allow synthesizers to bounce in a rather urban fashion, before guitars and piano expand the piece’s scope and spice up the dynamics with artificial voices, making the results quite progressive. Yet while heaviness is never far away from Jukka’s melodious tumult, the pointillism of “The Only Sound Is Waterdrops” – wrapped in colorful splashes and tempered shredding – should be an epitome of Iisakkila’s delicate approach that’s enriched by raga curlicues and metal riffs on this number, and exposed to vibrant transparency on “Inner Universe Fever” where Latin tinge and orchestral tones emerge again, shifting triumph through various tempos.
Still, it’s “Interludes” – the deceptively simplest cut on display – that defines the record’s title via metronomic ivories until the title track offers an electronically tinctured art-rock wigout: wondrous, yet too self-conscious towards the coda. As if to contrast that, the bass-driven “Darling We’ve Made A Mess” would marry symphonic sway to purified fusion, the tuneful pop stampede leading into “Shakin’ It On” for funk to flirt with chamber music. All of this will be revealed after repeated spins of the disc, and it’s worth it to listen to “Clocks And Clouds” from time to time: there’s a lot of beauty in the album’s silver lining.