Janne Hanhisuanto, Quiet Places

Not all of Janne Hanhisuanto’s Quiet Places are entirely quiet. They are all, however, quite engaging. With a flair for variety, Hanhisuanto presents 11 distinct narratives that range from spacemusic-style meditations to perky, sequencer-based riffs to clean New Age simplicity. The disc starts off in space with “Hayley.” The piece shifts when Hanhisuanto subtly slips a bit of hand percussion in under his starlight synths to ground it. “Ptolemaios” takes a short piece of phrasing and works it through a slowly rising feeling of drama. Hanhisuanto finds his focal point in a potent bass note that cycles through, growing in presence and importance as the piece proceeds. The song feels like it moves through scenes, with its center shifting from element to element–from a slight Mediterranean flair to the bass, to patient runs of glittering notes. An excellent offering. The artist briefly gives in to the dark side with “Breathing Universe”; opening with cold-space tones and minimal movement, the piece comes across like you’re watching stars from a distance. Their shimmer is there, far off, something to reach for that never quite comes. I like the way Hanhisuanto  maintains that feel of vastness and separation without getting too grim. Often, an artist truly shows us what they can do not by how much they can put into a piece, but by how little  they require. Hanhisuanto does this with “Daydreams” and “Romance(2).” In amidst all his electro-wanderings, he comes back down on these tracks to let the purer sound of guitar and piano, respectively, gleam through. “Daydreams” matches a folksy acoustic guitar with a pleasant electric piano accompaniment and lets them simply sing together. “Romance (2)” is a straight-up, one man/one piano situation, a composer caught in the midst of, well, a romantic moment. The clean sound stands out on the disc without ever feeling out of place; it’s merely a step in the overall journey.

I have been to these Quiet Places a number of times, and I’ll certainly be going back. Hanhisuanto manages his style changes with ease; he’s at home wherever he goes with his sound, and the confidence rings through each track. Superb offering from Janne Hanhisuanto.

Available from CD Baby.

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