In the Spotlight

Gothesque and joyful pop or explosive acid? Sin Cos Tan & Acid Symphony Orchestra

Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. This episode features the electronic music Renaissance man Jori Hulkkonen.

Producer and DJ Jori Hulkkonen is one of the most successful Finnish artists abroad, albeit not one of the most visible. The electronic music Renaissance man has managed to obscure himself behind numerous aliases and labels. His HQ is the alppIVhouz studio in Turku, Finland, from where he jets off to his international gigs. He has worked with, among others, John Foxx, Tiga, José González and Chris Lowe of Pet Shop Boys.

Be it producing, remixing or writing his own music, Hulkkonen seems to find the time for a befuddling variety of projects. Sin Cos Tan, his band with vocalist Juho Paalosmaa, with its nostalgia-infused and radio-friendly pop, and Acid Symphony Orchestra, where ten tuxedoed men control synths under the direction of Hulkkonen and a drum machine, represent the two extremes of this creative maniac prone to extreme solutions to creative quandaries.

15. Sin Cos Tan

Video: Trust (ohj. Marko)

What is it?

Jori Hulkkonen and Juho Paalosmaa discovered they had a lot in common while working on Villa Nah’s debut album Origin (Keys of Life, 2010). Juho Paalosmaa is the duo’s singer. Now Paalosmaa and Hulkkonen are a duo and release music as Sin Cos Tan. They share an interest in the electronic pop music of the 1980s and with Sin Cos Tan as their tool, the pair wants to realize their vision of a darker, more extreme sound. The debut, which the duo made with remarkable speed, was very successful in the year-end polls of most Finnish magazines and newspapers and they have a lot of material done for a second album.

Why do we care?

Sin Cos Tan bewitched both those who experienced the popularity of gothy synth pop in the 1980s and the cool night creatures of the young generation. It’s easy, because the band’s music works like a powerful spell – melancholy, moments of happiness and magic. The 1980s were a romantic time: Sin Cos Tan brings the escapism to our day and makes music independent of time and place. It floats, shining and immaterial, like the light of a movie projector in the darkness of a theater.

Lineup:

Juho Paalosmaa (vocals)
Jori Hulkkonen (music)

Releases:

Sin Cos Tan (Solina / Sugarcane, 2012)
Not Over / Sooner Than Now 12” (self-release, 2012)

If we had to pick three adjectives to describe the band, they would be…
…nocturnal, luxurious, fateful.

What record have the band members probably listened to the most in their lives?
Depeche Mode after a date that went awry.

If a good fairy gave the band one wish it would be…
…a trip back in time to London in the early 1980s and entry into the hallowed Blitz Club with the blessing of Steve Strange.

If the band were to go on the road to support a big star, it would tour with…
Chromatics from the US. The band’s wistful electro pop would be greatly complemented by Sin Cos Tan’s darkly hued opening set.

In two years…
Sin Cos Tan’s cool-as-steel sounds will be in demand at European clubs and festivals. At Hulkkonen’s Turku HQ work on their second album is proceeding apace and the record will float into the tops of the charts like a luxury liner.

16. Acid Symphony Orchestra

Video: Diamonds of the Night (ohj. Jori Hulkkonen & Jani Lehto)

What is it?

Acid Symphony Orchestra was born out of Jori Hulkkonen’s love for Roland’s legendary TB-303 bass synthesizer. The 2007 UMF Festival in Turku was the scene of the premiere for So Run The Tears Like Wine for ten TB-303 synthesizers, conducted by Hulkkonen. Since then Acid Symphony Orchestra has performed, with a rotating cast of musicians, in Berlin, Amsterdam, Athens and Istanbul. One thing’s for sure; there is always loads of hardware on stage.

Why do we care?

It’s electronic music at its best. Acid Symphony Orchestra plays with the form of classical music, but the playing is liberated and often improvised. When ten classic monophonic synthesizers burble together, the minimalist elements create something altogether more epic. Where the pioneers of acid house were able to weave a hypnotic spell with just one 303, the Acid Symphony Orchestra is a weapon of mass suggestion.

Lineup:

Juha Matinmäki (Roland TB-303)
Aku "Huoratron" Raski (Roland TB-303)
Kalle Karvanen (Roland TB-303)
Jussi-Pekka "Monoder" Parikka (Roland TB-303)
Janne "Burdock" Puurunen (Roland TB-303)
Tatu "Mr Velcro Fastener" Peltonen (Roland TB-303)
Kimmo "Acid Kings" Oksanen (Roland TB-303)
Pete "Sintetik" Salonen (Roland TB-303)
Tuomas Toivonen (Roland TB-303)
Johannes "TinMan" Auvinen (Roland TB-303)
Jori Hulkkonen (Roland TR-808, TR-707)

If we had to pick three adjectives to describe the band, they would be…
…big, clanky, nutty.

What record have the band members probably listened to the most in their lives?
Phuture’s Acid Tracks 12” until the needle plumb wore out.

If a good fairy gave the band one wish it would be…
…toys, toys, toys and lots of expensive toys.

If the band were to go on the road to support a big star, it would tour with…
Brandt Brauer Frick, an ensemble that plays a pastiche of techno tracks using classical instruments, complete with a state of the art visuals.

In two years…
Acid Symphony Orchestra will play a PS1 show at New York’s MoMA:ssa. They will also be acting as ambassadors of Finnish hi-tech knowhow.

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