Post-biological Wildlife by Juhani Silvola

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Juhani Silvola | Post-Biological Wildlife
Eighth Nerve Audio (CD/DL)

I met Juhani when I was invited at his final master concert at the school where I had just enrolled. We overlapped as students for a few days, a timespan over which I had only heard his name, and we had a beer after his concert, but there when talked only about extreme metal and hardcore techno. I didn’t know he was going to release an album with his composition and I was both surprised and amused by finding again some of the pieces I had heard at the concert and that I was very happy about.

A quality of Juhani’s work that I had totally missed during his concert but appears much clearer in the album – perhaps the title, artwork and unity of the record as a media helps in this sense – is the fact that all his pieces are linked together by some aesthetic features and by a core idea that stands as a ground for the whole work. Such idea is well reflected in the album title: “Post-biological wildlife” is a description of a world of machinery where the only visible vestiges of our organic present are scattered everywhere and carefully collected by the composer to recreate a twisted, reinterpreted and inevitably inaccurate picture of what our present has been.

The human presence is revealed through constant allusions to human-like gestures, those are so typical and clear that often stick out from the abstract domain and create a precise vocabulary, a manual that we could entitle “natural movement and gesture for post-biological entities”.

Such relation to humanity and his presence provides Juhani’s music with many performative cues and demonstrate how a musician who is primarily a guitarist, an instrumentalist, is able to keep a connection with his musical perspective also when he goes abstract.

About the sound itself, their quality is massive. He plays extensively with space and depth and does an outstanding work creating planes of interests and exploiting proximity. The sounds literally move from close to far and back, disappearing and reappearing in many complex and unexpected ways.  Such technical proficiency is accompanied with a rough personal introspective excavation and a plain reflection of the duality who is natural inside every human being. This element is strong in the choice of the sound material he uses: In Juhani’s work not all sounds need to be beautiful but one can find majesty and also be attracted by ugly sounds, dirty sounds, disgusting and repulsive ones.

All this is wrapped up in a well-shaped package that covers sensitivity with a thick dark coat of calmness and polite demeanour, demonstrating how also the most wicked elements of inner turmoil can be presented in a noble and distinguishable manner

In conclusion, thanks to the richness in spatiality of every single piece in the album, I’ve noticed in Juhani’s work a profound understanding of electroacoustic music aesthetics and its history. His plain references to the work of the composers of the GRM era, Bernard Parmegiani especially, work especially good and would make stereo sound diffusion the ideal setting for the fruition of his music.

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