US: 11 Mar 2011
UK: 11 Mar 2011
Online Release Date: 11 Mar 2011
I think I noticed Estonia for the first time when a teacher decided that we wanted to watch a short animated film about parrots in top hats, which was actually a political satire by the Estonian Priit Pärn, and then, only this morning, I came across an interview with an Estonian poet—it’s small cultural accidents like this that keep Estonia in view for me, far away from it physically as I am. “I don’t belong to any movement or subculture,” said the poet, “I feel better as a loner,” and Laulan Sinule’s mastermind is a loner too. “Right from the beginning,” says one of his collaborators, “Laulan Sinule has semi-deliberately strived to exist outside of any scenes: no tangible care for local traditions: no easily pinpointed foreign influences.” This is cool, toylike synth-pop, making fun of its own potential for smooth banality with constant harsh stabs—the faintly too-hard la-la-la in “Aroomiga”, the crowscreech vocals in “Päikesetõus”, and other acts of sabotage. But it never gives up the smoothness completely. The possibility of becoming seriously romantic is always there, the music is always denying it, resisting it, and it lets you see that it’s resisting it. “Here I am,” it says, “resisting. Resisting this smooth keyboard. Refusing to sing prettily.” Like New Wave as an awkward teenager, being ironic. The same thing comes through in some Finns: the band TV-Resistori for instance. It is regional? I am too far away.
// Notes from the Road
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