If you’ve yet to experience the cinematic beauty of Laura Naukkarinen‘s (aka Lau Nau) music then now may be the time to dip your toe into those calm Scandinavian waters with Poseidon, her fifth album.
My introduction to Lau Nau came in a roundabout sort of way via Alasdair Roberts who sent me a CD of a Finnish band called Kiila many years ago – it was my first introduction to the label Fonal Records based in Tampere, Finland. Kiila were founded by Niko-Matti Ahti and Sami Sänpäkkilä in 1993. As well as being a solo artist, Sami Sänpäkkilä is also a film-maker and the head of Fonal Records to whom Lau Nau is also signed. In fact, if you want a lovely introduction, watch the short documentary below from three years ago made by Sami as part of his “A Day in the Mouth” series where he “visits an organisation, a person or a place and has a little chat with the people involved and sees what they’re up to.”
“Poseidon” was released this month and is available on CD/LP
A suite of luminous, world-weary songs that exist in a world of all their own, treading the line between chamber folk and experimental pop with a distinctly Scandinavian melancholy. Centered around Laura’s beautiful voice and piano, the album also includes a small cast of guest musicians, including cellist Helena Espvall (Espers, Steve Gunn, Damon & Naomi), Swedish composer Matti Bye, and percussionist Samuli Kosminen on harmonium, kalimba and electronics. Each song is a gem of its own, with lustrous melodies spun from the web of seasons, by turns ghostly and earthy.
In Laura’s own words: “I was playing my grandmother’s piano and shortly realised that I was composing songs that were the beginning of a new album instead of the film music I was working on. The songs wanted to be performed by a character called Lau Nau. It’s the melancholic, always dreaming part of me that stands quietly on the stage and shares fractured moments with the audience. The songs on Poseidon are small secular prayers and messages of love, sorrow and care. Poseidon is a god of the sea but also the name of a certain bar in Helsinki. He veils us in the fog when the night falls.”