Jaakko Eino Kalevi immerses himself into exploring how to switch off on his latest album Out of Touch. Inspired by his time spent in Athens, escapism from the modern world is attempted and achieved. Jaakko trades tumultuousness for nostalgia as he creates a hazy melodic blanket which protects, and offers the chance to become out of touch with the technological freight train of today’s world.
Out of Touch was written and produced by Jaakko in Helsinki and Berlin, the city where he currently lives. The artist is on the cusp of a triumphant year: other than creating and releasing an album, he appeared on David Byrne’s American Utopia and has recently finished a London residency, playing a string of shows at London’s Laylow Space.
Jaakko’s self-titled fourth album showed hints to the stripped back sound of his latest record. However, Out of Touch drops the heavy bass-lines and bursting electronica, replacing this with a more thoughtful and reserved approach that summons a matured tranquillity.
Opening the album is ‘China Eddie’, a brave announcement of a fresh direction. It is an ethereal beginning, with haunting vocals that share eerie similarities with David Bowie. With effortless fluidity, the album moves onto the first single, ‘Emotions in Motion’. The warmth of this track is intensified with a climactic sax solo which moulds perfectly into the melting layers of fuzzy lo-fi. This track reveals Kalevi’s sonic intention of trying to maintain a specific calm balance and sound to the record.
He channels his nostalgia into ‘Outside’ where the serenity of this song creates a homely feel, muffled bass-lines and piercing keys connect with his delicate vocals in the dreamscape he creates. Through the slumber, it is as if the song is recalling a distant memory of his youth, where he embraced the outdoors, a contrast to his urban life in Berlin currently. The weightier bass-lines which are introduced near the end also act as a contrast with the lethargic undertones of the track.
Out of Touch experiences a tempo change with ‘Conceptual Mediterranean (Part 1)’. Coastal vibes meet relaxed disco; Jaakko turns his summer experiences into a tropical song full of the glory and relaxation of vacation. The weariness of the album starts to clear up in the latter stages, this occurs blatantly in the standout hit of the album, ‘People in the Centre of the City’. This track is a reminder of the dynamism that Kalevi possesses as an artist, the capabilities of his sonic palette are released. Haziness is traded for smooth 80s pop, representing a new found nostalgia, as he comes to terms with his life in the city rather than his fictionalised beach utopia.
There is a certain vagueness which partners with the dreaminess of the album, philosophical topics arise but are left alone rather than dealt with. In ‘This World’, Jaakko sings, “Of course it’s a tragedy and everyone is aware of that, everyone seems to be doubting this world.” This approach makes his lyrics feel like a distant untouched thought, rather than a direct criticism of the world. This ambiguity feels natural though and fits in with ease on the record. The point is that it is fine for him to have insecurities and unanswered questions about the world that he is positively out of touch with.
OUT OF TOUCH BY JAAKKO EINO KALEVI IS AVAILABLE NOW VIA WEIRD WORLD.