(13 December 2000)
The second album by Finland's ZetaBoo is entitled MediZine
(Aito Records Ltd (Finland) AICD002, 2000). The group of four musicians was founded in
1994, and their debut album ZetaBoo was released three years later.
However, this follow-up album took four more years to be released, as all
the ZetaBoo members had other projects to be involved in.
The bass player Pekka Lehti and the drummer Marko Timonen have
both been touring and recording with a famous Finnish folk group Värttinä.
One of the group's singers, Riikka Väyrynen, is also known as one of the
Finnish Adiemus Singers that performed in the project's third album
Dances Of Time. Singer-songwriter Anna-Mari Kähärä took part with
Riikka in the world-famous Adiemus project by singing in their concerts
and also on Dances Of Time.
Like the debut album ZetaBoo, the new MediZine
album features a great deal of different musical elements and influences
such as pop, jazz, ethno, even new age. This makes the album very difficult
to categorize. For example,if you listen to piece "$,$,$...", you may feel
instantly jazzy and can hear Brian Setzer-type rock-a-billy mood in the
piece,or you may feel like Elvin Jones would be a drummer in Stray Cats.
As, on the other hand, a piece called "Tonto" has a very smooth mandolin
accompaniment with catchy and thematic dialogue between Anna-Mari's
accordion playing and Mr. Lehti's guitar, polished with deep but
spacious jungle groove by bass and drums.
Some of those who like Adiemus-type music might be surprised
to know that MediZine and its precedessor ZetaBoo both
feature some Adiemus elements! Namely, almost all pieces have been sung
by using meaningless textures, and the group does use all kinds of (more
or less weird) percussion instruments like Adiemus. Who on earth could
believe that even normal kettle lids or brushes could be used on a record
or even live performances like ZetaBoo has done.
I am unable to pick out any particular favourites
from this album. The pieces seem to work excellently both when listening
them from the album and when being in a concert. ZetaBoo arranged
a tour of Finland just some months ago to celebrate the new album release,
and I obtained this album straight after their concert here in Oulu
(Sep 30, 2000). The whole evening was totally enjoyable and I had a
wonderful chat with Anna-Mari and other band members afterwards!
Both the tour and new album feature a saxophonist David
Wilczewski, and he really has impressed me with his high virtuosity on both
live and on record! This wonderful US resident musician has been involved
in various projects of Marvin Gaye, Lisa Nilsson, Roland Vazquez, Herbie
Hancock, Don Cherry and Kenny Wheeler, to name but just a few! Although
Mr. Wilczewski appears only in one of the album's pieces, the whole album
contains very enjoyable music. "Hiisi/Dickens" was born when Mr. Saari
took the drum beat from Mr.Timonen who felt first that the whole piece
was a catastrophe because the drummer's part and it's time signature
were totally different than what other players have.
It is very reasonable to hope that all ZetaBoo albums will
be released worldwide and that the group could span their touring schedules
outside Finland as well, and maybe gain such the huge success that Värttinä
has enjoyed! --Suvi Kaikkonnen