lmage: Pauliina Mäkelä

The Finnish label FONAL is famous for setting new standards in the underground musical realm. In recent years, it has become renowned on both sides of the Atlantic as a leading force in the evolution of music both ancient and futuristic, mixing folk, psychedelia, found-sound collage and ethereal hymnal. The CMN Tour, Approximately Infinite Universe, curated and produced by Newcastle's NO-FI and London's [NO.SIGNAL], brings together three FONAL’s most revered acts - and Jan Anderzen's side project Tomutonttu – pairing them up with like-minded US counterparts to create a series of exclusive, jaw-dropping collaborations. The Approximately Infinite Universe Tour is a rare chance to witness live the convergence of recent Trans-Atlantic currents in avant -folk and psych rock.

'The Finnish underground represents a genuine alternative dimension of dream logic, elliptical motion and subconscious soulfulness', Derek Walmsley, The Wire Magazine

The Performers:

ES is the solo recording name of Fonal boss Sami Sänpäkkilä - tagged as 'Experimental Songcycles' by The Wire's David Keenan - and one of the main figures in contemporary Finnish free folk movement. Sami is not only a musician but also a renowned film-maker. Sami has created fifteen short films and music videos, which have been screened in various museums, art galleries and film festivals around the world. The films and the music are 5-30 minute experimental moodscapes that explore the themes of melancholy, pathos and hope. Es has performed across North America and Europe at various festivals including Sonar 2005, ‘Subcurrent’ and ‘Itsenäisyysyö’ at the famous B2 club in Moscow.

Tara Burke of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania employs voice, guitar, organ, dulcimer, accordion, Casio and more to create her home-recorded acid folk as Fursaxa. Her debut album Mandrake was produced, engineered, and released in Japan by none other than Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple. Since that release in 2000, and over a slew of subsequent releases for ATP and others, Burke has established herself as one of the few truly groundbreaking voices atop the current wave of revived folk interest in the US. Tara has very strong ties with Sami and the rest of the Fonal crew and has spent more than 6 months living in Tampere, Finland back in 2005.

Islaja is Merja Kokkonen, a young visual artist and musician based in Helsinki, Finland. She has discreetely become one of the few figures hiding behind the recent fad of "folk weirdness" whilst being part of a somehow communal move of a "Finnish psychedelia" that has spread its wings within the underground sounds over the last two years. Her latest album reflects a thorough mixture of accumulated musical backgrounds and influences. She has played twice in London invited by [no.signal] and played Venn festival 2007. Islaja is also a duo with Jukka Raisanen on bass, a member of Kiila and Avarus along with his own solo project Sala-Arhimo. Islaja's recent album 'Ulual Yyy' has received much acclaim, with a lead review in The Wire magazine and in Time Out New York. A live cd "Blaze Mountain Recordings" will follow on Thurston Moore’s label Ecstatic Peace in late 2007.

Samara is a native New Yorker who grew up in the haze of artist infestation of Soho. Through the time of playing in various groups she has compiled an impressive resume that covers myriad of genres such as her work with the avant/psych/folk outfit of Hall Of Fame into the lair of those bohemian German musos Metabolismus and onto the indie rock interpretations of The Sonora Pine with some serious treks into the world of The Tower Recordings and off world with Jackie O Motherfucker, to name just a few.

Blevin Blectum is an electronic musician. Recently relocated from the industrial armpit of Oakland, California, to the humid lovecraftian greenery of Providence, Rhode Island, Blevin releases her fourth solo album, GULAR FLUTTER, on an unsuspecting public via the AAGOO label (New York). Blevin is one half of the recently reformed and reunited groundbreaking digital duo Blectum From Blechdom, recipients of the 2001 Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Digital Musics. Blevin moonlights with audio/video band SAGAN alongside her husband and fellow e-musician Lesser, keyboardist Wobbly, and video artiste Ryan Junell. Blevin produces continued electronics "with a more oblique slant on the basic BFB sensation of things-not-quite-right-here, clanking, creaking grooves and anti-grooves as a coal-powered spacecraft from some steam-punk parallel universe potentiality”.

Jan Anderzén began recording under the name Kemialliset Ystävät in 1995 in Tampere, Finland. Although he has enlisted numerous musicians over the years, most Kemialliset Ystävät recordings are solo productions. Often labeled as psych folk, his recordings have included such diverse instruments as detuned guitars, mandolins, balalaikas, toys, hand percussion, and samples from recordings by Sun Ra, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Vibracathedral Orchestra.

Axolotl is Karl Bauer, classically-trained violinist and a dedicated student of gnosticism, alchemy, astrology, and certain other materialist tendencies in psychology and philosophy. Bauer belongs to a small but potent association of young musicians, who draw upon the gestural economy and textural range of minimalism, and the visceral force of noise, while eschewing fashionable prohibitions against musicality, raw beauty, and thematic complexity. A certain postmodern timidity (offered up as boldness itself) compromises the rhetoric and methods of contemporary experimentalism. Noise, in both its reductionist and maximalist variants, too often provides the easy cover of superficial extremity to gloss over bankrupt ideas about aesthetics, ideas that essentially encourage the abandonment of extra-sonic ambitions and overtly expressive forms. Axolotl has shared the stage with the likes of Cluster, Animal Collective, Black Dice, Blues Control, Chris Corsano, Excepter, and Boris and collaborated with Mouthus, Yellow Swans, Neil Campbell, Sunroof!, both members of the Magik Markers and many more.

The visual artist and musician Jan Anderzén (1978) is one of the central figures of the Finnish underground, and his band Kemialliset ystävät has gained international popularity among fans of experimental and psychedelic music. As Tomutonttu, Anderzén constructs surreal noise bursting with colour. Tomutonttu’s music has been released both domestically and internationally on audiocassette and vinyl by specialist labels such as Huutomerkki, Pohjoisten kukkasten äänet, Ultra Eczema and Imvated.

“Staggering low-grade psychedelic murk and splintered free jazz soul” says David Keenan (The Wire). The skaters are from southern California and consist of Spencer Clark and James Ferraro who met in 2002. The duo say that the substance of their music is defined by “the interplay of ideas and the transformation of themselves into characters while playing and while living and using the inner dialogue that comes with cognizing the symbols of the outside world as a ground for the music to stand”. The music for them becomes deeply psychological because they experience “hallucinogenic sensations” while playing. The "thing" they think is a phenomenon can only be experienced through playing.

Tour dates:
19.9. Glasgow – CCA
20.9. Aberdeen – Lemon Tree
23.9. Birmingham – Hare & Hounds
24.9. Newcastle – Gateshead Sage
25.9. Manchester – Contact Theatre
26.7. Bristol – The Cube
27.9. Lontoo - ICA