Antti Tolvi – Leijunta


(Kirigirisu, 2016)

Remember that one scene in Ghostbusters where Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman investigates Dana Barrett’s (Sigourney Weaver) apartment for paranormal activity? I know you do. He walks in, waves some kind of wand around to take readings, moves toward the piano, lifts the cover, and plinks the two highest keys a couple times before muttering a prototypical Venkmenian quip: “They hate this. I like to torture them.”

God you guys are so lucky this morning – you get a Ghostbusters reference before breakfast.

Well, any ghosts in the vicinity of Antti Tolvi were rigorously annoyed as he recorded the two improvised sides of Leijunta (trans: Hover or Levitation) at Westers on Kelmö Island, Finland, in 2015. That’s not to say Tolvi simply waggled his fingers over the ivories a couple times and called it a day. Nor is it to suggest that he spent forty-five entire minutes, the length of Leijunta, doing that either. It’s just that his minimal playing totally made me think of Ghostbusters for a second, and it made me smile, and if you allow yourself to think of Ghostbusters periodically and it makes you feel good about yourself, then maybe you should take advantage of the experience every chance you get.

Still, that’s not particularly helpful if you want to know a bit more about Leijunta the recorded piece of music. Let’s divorce the release, then, from the first two paragraphs here and see what happens. Hey! I’m still feeling good about myself! Antti Tolvi, all by himself, without any assistance from me, has made me happy with his music.

Beginning with a basic structure, Tolvi ran his fingers over an Ibach grand piano, allowing himself the space to create within the framework whole new realms. The result is how the album title came about – there’s a feeling of weightlessness while listening to Leijunta, like you’ve been lifted off your feet and are being transported via some spirit to another plane of existence. And spirits truly permeate the playing, flitting in and out of the periphery, of your imagination, playful but mischievous. That’s particularly true of “Leijunta 1.” “Leijunta 2” is a bit more melancholy, pastoral, nostalgic – it’s a similar concept and execution, but a surprisingly different mood. Once you parse the subtleties of these two pieces, you’re truly able to inhabit them as they buoy you along their path.

You don’t need to be a spiritualist or anything to wrap your mind around Tolvi’s work – it’s designed to penetrate conscious thought and subvert the unrelenting forward momentum of life. Just picture Tolvi at his piano, surrounded by spirits, not torturing them but soothing them into some remarkable new place. See? I really did sort of have a point with all that ghost stuff. And we’re all smiling together now anyway. Leijunta is a common denominator like that.


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