Review: Joonatan Elokuu - Mushroom Heart (2009)


jooelo_mhartist: Joonatan Elokuu
release: Mush­room Heart
format: CDr
year of release: 2009
label: Kiilto­mat­o­ly­hty
dur­a­tion: 43:20

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Insiders in the mod­ern psy­che­delic and altern­at­ive folk scene might have become acquain­ted with the Finnish pro­ject Aura Shin­ing Green over the past few years. By now, names and pro­ject con­cepts have been changed, and Joonatan Elokuu has released this new full-length album under his own name, though bring­ing back a couple of songs from the older period.

For those new to this Finnish song­s­mith, I can say his sound is informed by psy­che­delic folk both from the early period around the changeover of the six­ties and sev­en­ties, as well as later and con­tem­por­ary psych­folk artists. In par­tic­u­lar, Joonatan’s sound can be com­pared to that of In Gowan Ring and Stone Breath, though without being alto­gether unori­ginal.

Mush­room Heart itself is a very pleas­ant and suc­cess­ful debut album, con­tain­ing a var­ied mix of acous­tic songs. It opens up tra­di­tion­ally with Joonatan’s wife Helena Halla inton­ing “Adieu to Old Fin­land”, which soon becomes a duet and then morphs into a psy­che­delic misty piece with a banjo lead. “Rain Falls Hard on Cam­den Town” is a clas­sic track from the Aura Shin­ing Green days; another duet with a great mel­an­cholic atmo­sphere and rich sound struc­ture. Other high­lights include the americana-ish rendi­tion of Donovan’s “The Little White Road”, and the final track, a ver­sion of C.O.B.‘s “Solomon’s Song” that trans­forms into a mar­vel­lous ambi­ent folk drone. In gen­eral though, the album is strong and var­ied, find­ing a per­fect bal­ance between folk from dif­fer­ent eras and con­tin­ents, and a music that breathes a spirit of free­dom, travel, and spir­itu­al­ity.

It seems Joonatan and Helena are all set to release more music, under both their own names, so there’s much to look for­ward to! Until then, this edi­tion of CDr cop­ies is bound to sell out fast, so be quick if you are into psy­che­delic folk, because this is an under­ground album to cher­ish.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Adieu To Old Fin­land — Trees, Stones, Earth (6:19)
2. Rain Falls Hard On Cam­den Town (3:54)
3. Pur­je­hduslaulu (3:17)
4. The Little White Road (3:05)
5. The Call­ing Of Crows Beck­ons Us Home (4:50)
6. A Hushed Lul­laby (To The Old Wind­mill) (4:17)
7. Wil­low­isp Lan­tern (2:37)
8. Solmu Lop­ut­tomalla Langalla (3:52)
9. As Fair As Gilead — Anneli (11:29)

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