Man Duo 'Orbit' LP

Man Duo 'Orbit' LP
Man Duo is the second coming of Jaakko Eino Kalevi and Long-Sam: cherished producers and good friends from Helsinki whose 2012 debut Amateurs de Vérité refracted outsider electronics through the prism of psychedelic folk. Now the pair are back with a new name and a new album, Orbit, that takes the exotic pop we’ve come to associate with both artists far beyond the dance floor.

Written and recorded together at Sami’s place in Helsinki and Jaakko’s Berlin studio during 2016, Orbit plots a serene course through styles close to the duo’s hearts. Across eight tracks, Jaakko and Sami zone in on krautrock, funk, electro and spaced-out cyber-ballads, executing each with characteristic elan and tunefulness. In fine voice throughout, the pair’s lyrics – sung in English, Finnish and Italian – draw on the absurdities of life and love in the modern world.

In the time between Amateurs de Vérité and Orbit, Jaakko has enjoyed international success courtesy of his Dreamzone EP and self-titled 2015 album for Domino and the Yin Yang Theatre EP for Beats In Space. Recognised as one of Finland’s most exciting musical exports of recent years, he’s toured the world with his three-piece band and picked up a couple of awards. His links to Sami go deep, however: the pair lived in the same neighbourhood of Jyvaskyla when they were younger and put out their first single – a dubbed-out free-jazz 7-inch – as teenagers in 2001. “We’re more professional now,” says Jaakko, “but still have the spirit of amateurs.”

Orbit finds both artists pushing each other in a bid to attain new levels of harmony, whether that’s in the silken electronic funk of opener ‘One Formula’, which unravels like some blissful mid-80s Pino Donaggio scene-setter, or in the pulsating ‘What If It Falls’, a satisfyingly unorthodox cut that calls to mind Simon & Garfunkel and Dopplereffekt. “This song deals with events of an almost catastrophic nature,” says Jaakko.

On ‘The Middle’, an epic slow-burner laced with a terrific guitar solo by Sami, the singer Sean Nicholas Savage blurs the personal and political with an impassioned turn. “We worked on this one for quite a long time but eventually what really made it work was Sean’s vocals. Took some time to realise that,” says Jaakko, who knows Sean from their time in Berlin. For ‘Ile’s Dream’ – “a krautrock-influenced song based on a dream that a friend had,” according to Sami – Man Duo channel the wide-eyed euphoria of La Dusseldorf.

Then there’s ‘Tanyan Teema’ – ‘Tanya’s Theme’ in English – a sweet, bubbly groove about a film character called Tanya that first surfaced on the CORD soundtrack a year or two back, and the sleek electro of ‘Vanessa’, which relates the story of a no-show at a concert in both Finnish (narrated by Sami) and Italian (by Cecilia Butini) before bursting into colour. ‘The Boss’ closes proceedings, its layers of synths and saxophone providing a dusky end to a rich and rewarding album.

Orbit is released by Kaya Kaya in the UK and Ireland and by Solina Records in the rest of the world. The album was mastered by Norman Nitzsche at Calyx, Berlin. Its cover photo is by Arnd Dewald. Man Duo play a handful of dates this summer and will tour in the autumn.

A1. One Formula
A2. Ile’s Dream
A3. The Middle
A4. What If It Falls
B1. Tanyan Teema
B2. Unter Vier Augen
B3. Vanessa
B4. The Boss


Condition: New

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