The first version of this article was originally published in the American fanzine The Skreem #11 in May 1995. I have made some updates (and will continue to do so -- just stay tuned!), but basically the text is the same as originally.
Unfortunately this text is a bit out of date. For all the latest news on what is happening in Finland, please see pHinnWeb Twitter.
The Finnish rave scene has been blooming since the late 1980s -- actually everything started in September 1988 when the now-legendary Berlin club in Helsinki held its first acid house nights. Subsequently, DJ Njassa had the first underground rave party at Helsinki's Lepakko in November 1988 (with DJs Jokke and Eliot Ness). The Hyperdelic Housers posse of the Turku town also organised their first illegal techno parties in 1989, the same year the Metal Bass Organisation (of the DJs Mr. Kirk and H2) had the first proper rave in Finland at the Helsinki Kaapelitehdas (Cable Factory).
Finnish disco years
In the beginning, though, there was disco. The annals of Finnish disco mark as its beginning the year 1966, when the first discotheque in Finland, simply called Discoteca (and later shortened to Disco), was launched at Kalastajatorppa of Helsinki by promoter Paavo Einiö together with Tom Hertell, though the actual heyday of disco was had in the late 70s when blockbuster films such as Saturday Night Fever kicked off the dancefloor mania also in these Northern latitudes.
The DJ culture has undergone many changes since the original disco days. Whereas today's "star" DJs mostly remain just silent and technical masters of record beatmatching, the yesteryear DJs were often hyper-talkative and flamboyant "masters of ceremony", not only spinning records but also introducing them to audiences and raising their spirits the best they could; sometimes also wearing outlandish costumes to add to the rockstar-like appearance.
Hailing from this era, there are now over 30 members in the Finnish DJ Hall of Fame, including such disc-spinning veterans as Tapani "Beaver" Ripatti, Markku "DJ Edward" Vesala, Jyrki "Jyräys" Hämäläinen (alongside winning the first domestic disc jockey contest in 1967 also a Finnish pop magazine legend, who sadly passed in 2008), Pekka "Takku" Kotilainen (1946-2011), Kari "Nite" Niiranen, Pentti "Poppamies" Kemppainen, Esko "Eemu" Riihelä, and Johnny-Kai "Johnny" Forssell; many of these familiar names also in Finnish music media and radio. Also Greek expatriate Nicolas "Black Mike" Mavromichalis, Kari "Nite" Niiranen, Joke "Stadin Säkki" Linnamaa, Heikki "Lisko" Linko and Tapio "Madman" Korjus were prominent in the inner circle of old school DJs.
Diskosusi ("Disco Wolf") was a magazine (or maybe "fanzine" would be a more appropriate description for this pocket-size amateur publication) that was published in Tampere from 1979 to 1982, as its sole purpose to unite Finnish DJs, disco music fans and clubbers of the day. In its heyday Diskosusi was distributed in Finnish discos and clubs, at its best reaching an edition of 10.000 copies.
The primus motor behind Discosusi was Pentti "DJ Pena" Teräväinen (b. 1956), one of the veterans of Finnish disco culture and an organiser of the union of DJs who started his record-spinning career in 1972. Diskosusi did its share in contributing to local DJ/disco culture with charts, background histories of artists, DJ interviews and naturally record reviews. The magazine covered all popular styles of disco and dance music, but also some artists performing 50s style of rock'n'roll and rockabilly revival, extremely popular in the late 70s Finland, would find their way to the pages of Diskosusi.
One of the Discosusi interviewees was Tapani "DJ Beaver" Ripatti (b. 1950), who had became a small celebrity in the late 70s by being a regular face in TV's popular "jukebox jury" show called Levyraati, and through his own radio shows -- such as Ocsid (read that backwards) -- in the 80s and 90s gained a legendary position in Finland playing Hi-NRG disco and Italo, and later on even moving to rave techno.
Also finding his musical origins in disco, DJ Jokke (a.k.a. Jouni Helminen, d. 2017) started his DJ career in 1979. In 1988 he became a resident DJ in club Berlin, taking place at Helsinki's Botta, which was arguably the first venue to promote the acid house sound in Finland. DJ Jokke also worked at Helsinki's Street Beat store which became one of the main providers of imported techno and house records in the town. During the 1990s DJ Jokke's mixes for Dance Mob radio show on national channel Radiomafia channel were widely listened.
Early recording artists
Finnish music scene has paralleled the international developments in club music and its 1970s-1990s development from disco via synthpop and hip-hop electro to techno, house and their various subgenres. Early Finnish disco in the late 1970s and early 1980s often consisted of international hits of the day translated into Finnish versions, but original domestic disco material was written by such people as Jokke Seppälä and Steel City (whose vocalist Kaija Koo launched a successful solo career later on).
Jimi Sumén, Organ and Stressi were rare examples of Finnish synthpop or electronic new wave of the early 1980s. The Art of Breeding compilation of 1983 featured 'I'm Young Beatiful and Natural' by General Njassa and His Lost Division, often considered the very first Finnish hip-hop electro track. The same year was also released the electronic funk/hip-hop track 'WhatUGonnaDo' by Kojo and Billy Carson. 'Grandmaster Klaus' by Tommi Lindell's Lindelltronics in 1988 pioneered sampling techniques in Finland.
Mika Vainio (1963-2017), later on known as Ø, collaborated with Pertti Grönholm as Corporate 09, whose industrial techno album Mindprobe came out in 1991. Early Finnish techno pioneers such as Mono Junk (a.k.a. Kimmo "Kim" Rapatti), Mixmaster K (a.k.a. DJ Kaippa a.k.a. Kari Kaivola) and JS16 (a.k.a. Jaakko Salovaara) were heard on the 1993 various artists collection From the Edge of Nowhere: Finnish Underground-Sound Compilation.
Raves in Finland, 1990s onwards
The Finnish party scene really concentrates on the largest cities in the South of Finland: Helsinki, Turku and Tampere. Naturally there are many smaller scenes around the country, with the biggest parties still happening in Helsinki. (Actually, after writing this, some people have complained to me that I haven't included here the scenes in their own home towns outside this "Great Triangle", like for example Lahti or Vaasa, but maybe I'll get to feature them some time in the future...)
The Finnish raves of the 1990s heyday usually varied from 100 to 1,500 people; with 2000 we would already have been talking about a really massive happening; but as an average, 200 - 500 attending would have been quite normal. The most important crews organising the raves from the late 1980s and early 1990s onwards were the Hyperdelic Housers of Turku and Metal Bass of Rauma, Eliot Ness's various organisations like Vision and Planet of Love, Entropy, Hytky and House Collective of Helsinki, Pumpkinhead Promotions and PETY of Tampere (neither in existence any more), and Niitty of Jyväskylä; not to mention many smaller 'posses' around Finland (see here).
The "grand old man" of the Finnish rave scene during the 1990s was DJ Eliot Ness, who organized and promoted countless parties, also importing several international name DJs to the country. Other important DJs of the era were Jori Hulkkonen, Sasse, Marko Laine, Ender, Jokke, Borzin, Orkidea and Angel; not to mention such veterans as DJ Kaippa, whose dance act 3rd Nation reached 1994 the British charts with their 'I Believe'. (You can find a list on some Finnish DJs and the styles they are playing here.)
The most popular styles of the Finnish raves in their heyday were monotrax, trance and acid, house (including garage, deep, NY house, etc.), and of course, techno. Ambient also gained a strong foothold in Finland - in 1994 Radio City in Helsinki played continuously, all night and day, ambient music for the whole two weeks, which must have been an unique happening on the whole world scale -- although one rarely hears ambient music at the parties. Also Finnish jungle scene seems to be reality as of now, with such DJs as Infekto, Mekaanikko and Adder bringing the sounds of drum 'n' bass to unsuspecting clubbers and ravers. Naturally the purist technoids existed there, also the more "enlightened" people into the underground Detroit and minimalist sounds à la Jeff Mills and Underground Resistance. Also Goa trance genre seems to have been pretty active in Finland, with such dedicated DJs as Yogi and Halo spinning records amidst the banners of ultraviolet-coated Indian gods and goddesses. Suomisaundi ("Finnish sound") was the genre name for Finnish psytrance artists such as Texas Faggott and Squaremeat. Metsäbile ("forest party") scene took this music into the Finnish woods, where the neohippie type of party people grooved under the strobe lights and open sky.
Trance in general seems to have been the most popular style of electronic dance music at clubs, as it has been all over the world, with house steadily following in its wake. Also hip hop scene has been steadily growing in Finland since the 1980s, and lately such Finnish rap acts as Fintelligens, Seremoniamestari, Petri Nygård, Nuera and Paleface have reached enormous popularity, hip hop being a far bigger subculture in Finland than house or techno. [The FAM, a Finnish hip hop site.]
Finland had its activist counterpart to Reclaim The Streets, when the Street Party events were held in the biggest towns of Finland in between 1997 and 2000, just in the middle of the main streets, opposing car traffic and pollution.
Though many said there was not a heavy drug scene attached to the Finnish rave circles, the most consumed drugs among the party people have been cannabis, LSD, ecstasy (a.k.a. MDMA; Finnish nicknames "nipsu", "esso"), amphetamines and cocaine -- alcohol not included, the absence of which would be a curiosity in the traditionally heavy-drinking Finnish culture. Still, compared to their continental European counterparts, the Finnish ravers must have been relatively 'clean', even though local tabloids tried to start rave-related drug scares every now and then.
From the mid-1990s on, there were reports of increasing drug use in the raves, but it was really hard to say how the situation actually is, as the 1995 membership of European Union and the opening of the borders of ex-Soviet Union countries had their effect on narcotics trafficking and use in any case. The latest newcomers of party drugs have been GHB (in Finland simply called "gamma") and GBL ("lakka" in Finnish vernacular), which had already created their share of tabloid horror stories in Finnish press. By the early millennium there had been only one reported ecstasy and techno party related death in Finland, when an 18-year old girl died in Tampere, August 2000 (and that was reportedly in connection with other medication), but fake Mitsubishi (a popular form of MDMA) pills had been also found in Finland.
As Finnish rave scene is on the constant move all the time, it's totally impossible to keep all updates on these pages, so I warmly recommend you to check out for for information on all the latest and upcoming parties and happenings in Finland the following sites: Accesss.Org, Klubit.Com, Klubitus and The Club Calendar of Rumba Magazine. Info on the parties of recent years (and on Finnish rave culture in general) can be found from Finland Rave Info page, maintained by Johannes Grönvall.
1990s Finnish rave and techno scene vs. Mainstream
It can be argued the local rave culture never really surfaced from the underground, despite the fact that the largest parties received their fair share of publicity in the local media, and a following amongst those hip hordes of the Finnish trend-hoppers. So one could well ask if the whole thing was only much ado about nothing -- even despite all those recent claims in international press hailing "Finnish sub-arctic underground" led by such as Sähkö Recordings, Pan sonic and Jimi Tenor -- was there actually any real Finnish techno scene in the 1990s?
There must have been good reasons not to paint too rosy a picture. The Finnish airwaves and the chart programmes of local TV were still dominated by your average Pearl Jams, Ace of Bases and 2 Unlimiteds, as it must have been everywhere over the MTV-gazing civilized Western world. As for the recording techno and dance acts, it was very easy to count them with the fingers on both hands, as the 1990s Finnish tastes were still orientated to the traditional melancholic soft pop music, or to the always so popular rock 'n'roll sounds, the biggest import act of the moment being the Leningrad Cowboys, who were -- somehow mercifully -- being taken as actual Russians outside these Northern shores. (For more information on Finnish rock and pop scene, see the extensive Finnish Rockdata pages maintained by Jarmo Latva-Äijö.) On the other hand, Finnish classic and avantgarde music was traditionally held in very high regard because of such composers as Einojuhani Rautavaara, Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg, or orchestra conductors like Esa-Pekka Salonen (not to mention here such classic giants as Jean Sibelius).
The foreign chart acts, like the Prodigy being occasionally at the Top One in Finland didn't really count -- as Finns reached the third millennium, punk rock was still considered something radical in Finnish music scene. For example, the internationally acclaimed Sähkö label must have only remained in minority, as no one actually knew them in Finland, their records' distribution almost literally from hand to hand, at the same time as the word of their minimal electronic outcrop spread rapidly in the international DJ and techno circles. If there was a "scene", it was not too visible in any case, many people said.
Finnish rock and pop media were usually not too interested in local underground electronic sounds, unless any of those acts gains international popularity, or there was a diluted pop chart version -- something not too difficult to understand for an average trend-spotting music journalist worth his/her salt. Before now-defunct Basso magazine (which got its origins as hip-hop publication Posse in 2001) there was a long period of time when there was not in existence any Finnish special magazine dedicated to dance music, though for example the rock tabloid Rumba used to have its bi-weekly column on dance music.
One brave effort for a techno music magazine was had, though, in 1994, when three issues of a magazine called ex were published in Helsinki, but financing the publication proved too difficult in the end, and ex vanished quite soon. The same year saw also the publication of Tekno - digitaalisen tanssimusiikin historia, filosofia ja tulevaisuus ("Techno - the history, philosophy and future of digital dance music"), an ambitiously-titled book edited by Sam Inkinen which -- though patchy at times and occasional over-enthusiasism taking over more critical content -- was for a long time the only one of its kind written in Finnish. DJ-kirja ("DJ Book") was a collection of interviews from Finnish DJ veterans, published as a crowdfunded book in the late 2013.
Jori Kuusinen (a.k.a. George Spruce, now of Moodmusic Records fame) in Turku published a in the 1990s little underground house fanzine Speakeasy with his friend Jussi Uusitalo (DJ Newhouse) along with clubs of the same name and Kuusinen's own record store Groovy Beat. Only one issue of Speakeasy was released, along with a catalogue of Groovy Beat's new records. Groovy Beat was also the first Finnish store to export Sähkö Recordings releases to German distributors. Neither Groovy Beat Records nor Speakeasy exist any more as Jori Kuusinen moved to Germany in late 1999.
There was also a weekly dance music show Nousu at Helsinki's Moon TV cable channel which could be seen in all larger towns in Finland until Moon TV went bankrupt in summer 2003. Nousu featured live reports, artists and DJ interviews and music videos.
Hannu Puttonen directed his groundbreaking techno music documentary Bring The Beat Back in 1992, with interviews both from Finland and UK. Jimi Tenor's Sähkö The Movie (1995) is a now rarely-seen documentary on the early days of Finland's perhaps most important techno label. Tero Vuorinen's documentary film Machine Soul (2015) has interviews of many Finnish techno scene's prime movers.
Gladly Finnish underground scene found a place for itself from the ever-expanding Internet and World Wide Web, but the mailing lists inexistence easily turned to battlegrounds of endless and pointless flame wars between adolescent ravers, arrogant "scene people", navel-gazing purists and so on, and judging by the standards of professional journalism, even the best Web sites usually suffered from the lack of continuity and maintenance and all too sporadic updates (including the humble and amateurish efforts of this site), or emphasized flashy Web design and latest technology at the expense of actual content.
Joe Martin wrote in the March 1997 issue of American dance music magazine XLR8R:
So if all us basement illuminati are finally pledging allegiance to the Finnish minimal nation. why is everyone involved so convinced that it doesn't exist? Even [Kim] Rapatti [a.k.a. Mono Junk of Dum Records], who freely admits his connection with the mono traxx image, denies the existence of an underlying scene. Jouni Alkio, who with his Aural Expansion ambient releases on SSR is one of the artists responsible for expanding the popular image of Finnish electronic music from repetitive pH-challenged bonks, assures the world that "there is no gang of 'intelligent techno' freaks here who break showroom windows to steal pocket calculators." [The whole article]
So it was better in any case not to exaggerate the volume of techno music scene in Finland, even though during the last few years some interesting new names and labels -- such as Function Recordings, Pulssi, Rikos, and so on -- popped up from the local soil. It reflected more the strength of international techno scene, spreading rapidly and knowing no borders, than the fact that Finnish climate (in all its bleakness) would have been especially benevolent for electronic music.
Not that experimental electronics would not have some traditions even in Finland.
Already in the 1960's such Finnish pioneers as Erkki Kurenniemi (1941-2017) were creating music with their self-made instruments (more info here), like Sähkökvartetti ("Electric Quartet") and Kurenniemi's DIM series synthesizers. These must have been more an interesting curiosity, though; reflecting the fact that Finnish people have always been watching closely international trends, such as the development of electronic music in the post-World War II decades. And maybe just because of the fact that people in a small and distant country like Finland -- in order to maintain their own cultural livelihood -- learn to follow closely what's happening everywhere else. Still, and this can't be repeated too often, Finnish "techno underground" remained as one of the tiniest subcultures there was.
Some tips from the Finnish scene - rhythm veterans and flashy newcomers
* First of all, read histories on Sähkö Recordings for info on the already legendary Finnish label, and Pan sonic, about their most popular act; and also on Jimi Tenor, who became famous for his easy listening/Hammond records for Sähkö's sublabel Puu, but who has already made a long career here in Finland.
Luckily the Finnish electronic music scene was not limited only to the Sähkö avantgarde minimalisms. There was an active industrial and synthpop music scene, in connection with the ever so lively (if that's the right word) local goth-rock scene (for more info, see Cyberware Productions and Prospective magazine) in Finland, influenced by Kraftwerk (and who in their real senses wouldn't be influenced by them?), Front242, Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode, et al., but there were also people interested in more modern sounds than those of all these gloomy acts dressed in black, whose role models were left somewhere in the angstful 80's... Here are some people who at the turn of the millennium were having stronghold:
* Marko Laine, who signed a deal with the Dutch Djax-Up Beats label, recording also for Drop Bass Network as Goio. Marko's "Mosaic" was released on Djax-Up February 1996, with follow-ups and international DJ gigs to come. These releases were mostly hardish monotrax. Marko has also gained some success as the head of his import record store and label Mind Records, which during early 1997 started as an umbrella and distributor to some smaller Finnish labels like Sävel, Pulssi and Moodmusic. Later on Marko concentrated mostly on Mind Records, though still occasionally played some DJ gigs, where his style shifted from harsh monotrax mayhem to house; with even some added samba and Latino flavour.
* The Oksanen Brothers aka Jörg Mager aka SCI aka... Intelligent analogue music.
* Kimmo Rapatti (picture on the right) a.k.a. Mono Junk a.k.a. Detroit Diesel - the man behind the Dum label, steadily on a Detroit/Chicago tip. With the Sähkö guys somewhat a veteran of the Finnish techno underground. Later on ran a duo called New York City Survivors, with Irwin Berg on vocals. See the Dum Records discography.
* Sasse Lindblad, who released his first double EP as Freestyle Man for Sähkö sublabel Puu in 1996: a house man to the bone. Best known for his dubby deep house productions and now living in Frankfurt, Germany, producing for local i220 label and running his own Moodmusic. Also used to play with the fast doom-gabba monsters Amalgam V (featuring Irwin, a gonzo DJ legend and the owner of his now-legendary Wartburg Gabba Mobile...): for those more into the 200 BPM, Rotterdam style, bone-crunching soccer hooligan sounds...
* Jori Hulkkonen, originally from Kemi in the north of Finland and now relocated to Turku, one of the founders of Lumi Records; recording deep house for the French F-Communications label, the Swedish Hybrid and Plumphouse, and the Italian ACV. And more. The house ambassador of Finland, who also used to have his own radio show on Radiomafia and YLEX stations.
* Jouni Alkio a.k.a. Aural Expansion, churning out IDM and electronic listening music. Has been keeping quiet since his excellent Surreal Sheep album for Belgian SSR, but hopefully re-surfaces one day.
* Op:l Bastards - consisting of Timo Kaukolampi, Vilunki 3000 and Tuomo Puranen - from Helsinki combined in their music old school electro and disco to analogue synth sounds, with a sense of eccentrity, and have already reached an international cult reputation. They were also behind the enormously popular Helsinki Turbo electro parties. Op:l Bastards are now having a break of indeterminate length. The latest project of Kaukolampi and Puranen has been K-X-P, an electronic Krautrock/postrock/drone type of band featuring live drum beats. Vilunki 3000 has with Street Kobra a new act called Uusi Fantasia, who have even backed the 1970s "Finnhits" veteran Freeman (a.k.a. Leo Friman), both as a guest to their own album and also on Freeman's 2011 solo record IV.
* Mr Velcro Fastener have already toured Germany with such international luminaries as Carl Craig and Dave Clarke. Their debut album Lucky Bastards Living Up North has been released on German i220 Records, with sleeve designed by legendary Designers Republic. Mr Velcro Fastener's musical output is electro, in the style of Detroit Bass and old school artists such as Kraftwerk and Afrika Bambaataa, but with a distinctive IDM flavour.
Mr Velcro Fastener's Mesak (a.k.a. Tatu Metsätähti) has enjoyed a successful solo career with many electronic cult releases for labels around the world, and also one of the driving forces behind Harmönia label, with Randy Barracuda (a.k.a. Perttu Häkkinen), offering the unsuspecting world the fruits of a brand new Scandinavian dance music genre called Skweee.
* Vladislav Delay a.k.a. Sasu Ripatti, recording minimal techno for such labels as Finnish Huume and German Max Ernst & Freunde and Chain Reaction. Many people have even called Vladislav Delay the biggest new artist coming from Finland after Pan sonic. He has also published records with such aliases as Luomo (more deep house type of sounds) and Uusitalo.
* Ovuca, a.k.a. Aleksi Perälä, who records for the legendary British RepHlex record label, the home of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, et al. Ovuca's music could be described as drill'n'bass meets old school breakbeat, with added eccentrity and "anything goes" attitude.
* Lackluster, a.k.a. Esa Ruoho, whose IDM-style music has raised interest among the international fan circles.
* Rikos Records. Electro and IDM from Jyväskyläs hot cult label. Rikos released Dr. Robotnik's electro, Tero's Commodore 64 sounds, Lackluster's IDM excursions, Puola's genre-splitting freakery and Polytron's Italodisco-tinged electro sounds. With now new releases since the early 2000s, Rikos label seems to be now on permanent hiatus.
* Morphology. An electro duo consisting of Matti Turunen (a.k.a. Näköradiomies) and Michael Diekmann (a.k.a. CRC), fast becoming international cult favourites.
For the 2010s biggest Finnish electronic dance promises gaining name in the international hipster scene must be such as LCMDF, TV Off, Renaissance Man, Femme En Fourrure, Zebra & Snake Hannulelauri, Teeth and Helsinki 78-82; Teersom (a.k.a. Niko Pettersson) representing the good old techno sound. Dubstep community's biggest name probably is Tes La Rok (a.k.a. Jani Niiranen), with also such artist as Clouds and Desto following in his foot(dub)steps.
The future of the Finnish scene?
The late-90s/early-Noughties new generation of the Finnish ravers understood the meaning of being widely orientated: house, trip hop, acid jazz, jungle, electro, anything goes. In summer 1998, Helsinki clubs such as Kerma (which means "Cream" in Finnish, by the way) gained mention in such international trend magazines as The Face, so it seemed local scene got a bit more coverage than earlier on. Also such international "super clubs" as Gatecrasher visited in Finland.
Also, as the Russian and Estonian techno and rave scenes got bigger, Finland also had its moment as an important gateway for the international artists and DJs en route to the Eastern dance floors. Some foretaste of this was had back in 1992, when the Finnish DJs Pixy and Chill visited the Planetarium raves of St. Petersburg, Russia - the rave scene was rapidly blooming in the East of the Finnish border, too. Russian DJ's like Lena Popova in their turn frequented Finnish parties, and Russian techno acts such as New Composers were recording for Finnish record labels like Sauna Connections (now defunct).
Furthermore, The Finnish Institute in London organised, under the guidance of Jali Wahlsten, some parties around Jimi Tenor and Pan sonic (who sadly split in 2010, to give more room to the respective solo careers of Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen), which were well received in British media.
The early 21st century saw Finnish dance music also making commercial inroads with such acts as Bomfunk MCs, having their 15 minutes of fame on European charts with their combination of hip hop, electro and house sounds, and their producer Jaakko Salovaara, a.k.a. JS16, on his own right. Salovaara's "discovery" Darude hit the British club charts with his take on ever so popular trance techno.
2000 also saw the first Finnish electronic music festival, Koneisto ("Machinery"), August in Turku, which was covered by such British music magazines as NME and The Wire. Koneisto also had in Turku a successor called UMF (Uuden Musiikin Festivaali, the New Music Festival). In 2009 was started another festival, Turku Modern. Flow festival of Helsinki, starting in 2004, has gradually become the biggest event for indie rock and electronic dance music, gaining a reputation as a popular meeting place for trendy "hipster" audiences.
Helsinki's Avanto festival which started in November of 2000 and ceased its activities after 2008, was dedicated to some more experimental acts, such as Rehberg, Fennesz, Hecker and Skot of Austria's Mego label, Merzbow, Scanner, Pan sonic, Kaffe Matthews, et al.; with glowing reviews in such prestigious magazines as The Wire to follow. As all over the world, the traditional visual arts and electronic music scenes were getting closer each other also in Finland. International art galleries saw and heard installations from the people of Sähkö Recordings and Pan sonic, and such Finnish multimedia societies as Katastro.Fi were in close collaboration with electronic artists and events.
Alex Needham wrote in the February 2001 issue of UK's The Face magazine:
... Finland's youth culture has never been more alive. There is, believe it or not, a thriving hip hop scene, excellent clubs, and - aided by cultural committee Helsinki 2000 - festivals showcasing everything from avant-garde noise to light-based art installations situated around the Finland concert hall, conceived to chase the winter away.
... In the classic way of an emerging pop culture, many Finns are discovering their own identity through the music and style of peoples that seem, on the face of it, completely opposite. Older Finns like to dance the tango. Twentysomethings hang around beautifully designed record shops, digging through crates of dub, soul and Latin vinyl.
... It's the confidence of of a new generation streching out in directions their parents hadn't considered, whether into black music, dance culture or avant-garde art. They might not get it 'right', but that's the story of pop culture; instead they end up with a fascinating hybrid that is peculiarly Finnish. The people are shy, but they're hungry for ideas; go there and participate in a hugely entertaining cultural exhange.
But despite all said and done, was the fate of Finnish scene eventually just to remain left in the marginal; as of interest only to those most dedicated connoisseurs looking for the more obscure and exotic sounds? No answers were given when the first version of this text was written: none are given now. To be continued...
(Comments, corrections, updates, etc. welcome)
Esko, Iina & Nives, Matti (ed): DJ-kirja: Näkökulmia suomalaiseen DJ-kulttuuriin. Helsinki: Iina Esko Foto & Image 2013. ISBN 978-952-93-3230-4. 350 pp. Hardcover.
Inkinen, Sam (ed.): Tekno – digitaalisen tanssimusiikin historia, filosofia ja tulevaisuus. Helsinki: Aquarian Publications 1994. ISBN 9518975264. 347 pp. Softcover.
Kinnunen, Kalle (ed.): Kone-Suomi. Helsinki: Khaos Publishing 2017. (Forthcoming, fall 2017).
Mattlar, Mikko: Stadin diskohistoria - Diskoja, tiskijukkia ja varhaista dj-kulttuuria Helsingin seudulla 1966-1988. Helsinki: Mikko Mattlar 2017. ISBN-13: 9789529383849. 302 pp. Hardcover.
Filmography - documentary films:
Puttonen, Hannu: Bring The Beat Back! 44'. 3 July 1992. (Elonet)
Vuorinen, Tero: Machine Soul - Konesielu. 65'. 11 July 2015. (IMDB)
Finnish party flyer collections:
Sakari Karipuro's collection - Tampere, Helsinki, Jyväskylä
Finnish Techno: Early Years (entries at pHinnWeb's blog)
Music of Finland @ Wikipedia
10 sinivalkoista teknoklassikkoa @ Nuorgam, January 2013
The 16 Best Finnish Techno Tracks According to K-X-P, November 2014
Thanks to John Fanning (a.k.a. DJ Entox a.k.a. Massaccesi) who asked me to write the first version of this text back in 1995), Henrik Huhtinen, Joe Martin of XLR8R magazine, Petri Salonen of Analog Clinic, and especially to Samu Mielonen, without whom, etc.
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Last update: 21 May 2017.
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