01. Saivon Kimallus
02. Pojan Kiiski
04. Pienet Purot
05. Sateen Soutu
10. Paluu Joelle
12. Siniset Runot
What transpires in the artist when he loses himself in the world that he is creating? Is this perhaps the moment of brilliance when one achieves the level of “masterpiece” in a particular work? There is a magickal process that transpires when art achieves a transformative property, and the unsuspecting observer is brought into the artist’s creation completely. It is like the missing ingredient in an alchemical formula – that which transmutes the basest lead to the purest philosophical gold. As the masterful alchemist can achieve that which transcends the normal, the artist can carry the observer over to a breath-taking world that would never exists without his art. Tenhi is that alchemist, that artist, that overwhelmingly moving element sparking creativity and vitality. With their latest opus Saivo they have crossed the boundary from musicians to shamans, and in doing so brought all those willing to undertake the journey to another realm of musical perfection. It is unsurprising that Tenhi is an old Finnish word for seer. This is an emotionally heavy euphoria that comes along once in a great while, reminding us why we as listeners live for these moments of purity. It is rare that art is so stunningly powerful that it leaves a commentator at a loss for words – not because there is nothing to say, but because there is no right way of saying it. To debase this material with words is to do it a disservice, but, sadly, we are left with little options. Not only has a mastery of sound, words, and structure been achieved, but an overall mastery of the human experience is on display for those of us lucky enough to take part in this truly breath-taking endurance. It is rare that an album contains such frighteningly powerful properties – power in essence and in evocation. Praise is due!
There is a religious essence to this recording that is almost impossible to properly articulate. Forget concepts like blind obedience or dogma, this music breeds a feeling of devotion and gripping spiritual expansion. Truly and utterly music for the soul. The bardic narratives that weave this folk-flavoured epic feel handed down from a high realm of existence. Tyko Saarikko’s ancient voice seems much more otherworldly than before, as if the very rocks and trees began to speak through him. It reaches into the heart of man and forces him to confront these words without waiver. Language it not a necessity as everything is expressed through the sheer power of the tones and melodies themselves. What Tenhi is capable of with voice, guitars, bass, drums, violin, and piano is quite possibly the most emotionally wrought music to grace our base existence. Thankfully Saivo is not an endless barrage of heavy stabs to the heart. There exists a lightness that creeps its way in and softens the pain at the most severe moments. However, it isn’t too long before the melancholy glides back in and slowly builds into vast crescendos of sorrowful bliss. A dance of dynamics like this is at the heart of their position of power, and the listener is drawn further and further inwards as the journey progresses.
From the lowest of lows the highest reach is that of barely scratching the surface of what could be considered joyous. In fact, with songs like Savoie we hear a side of Tenhi that doesn’t appear often. Here is an attention to fairly structured song writing, a prominent acoustic guitar, simple percussion and a beautiful chorus. Our hearts swell and our spirit are sent soaring high. Of course all must be levelled and equilibrium must be retained: mastery after all. In the realm of the woeful is where this music triumphs and an extended absence begins to feel strange. We have gone into ourselves and confronted that which lies dormant, bringing out that which is within – left naked and exposed to pure-form emotional energy. Approaching the final stages of this spiritual turbulence feels like a funerary procession. The end of the album is the death of our former selves, mere shells compared to what we have become. Left to the mercy of a harsh foreign world does this song leave off. A chant leads the plodding ceremony as a solitary guitar keeps the linear movement consistent, and coaxing layers of instrumentation and voice to accompany. A thick ambience of violins and harmonized chants cascade in as the final moments before the silence hit harder than any before. Left in this dreamland of formlessness the distant, cold ambient keeps the spirit from leaving this realm completely. Merely a pause before a confrontation of music re-emerges and preserves the balance perfectly.
The seer has worked his magick again, and another world opens up before the listen on the beautifully tumultuous course of Tehni’s magnum opus Saivo. Letting go of consciousness and succumbing to the power on this album will reveal just short of a transcendental experience. A meditation on the beauty of pain. Too moving for words but too powerful to go unsaid. The alchemical process that transpires in the aspirant becomes clear when the entire work is taken in at once. From beginning to end all is design: masterful. There is a clear narrative at work, but it isn’t one that we hear and decipher in our minds, it is one that is only translated through a much more powerful medium: the heart.