[sic] Magazine

Jaakko Eino Kalevi – Dreamzone EP

Self-taught multi-instrumentalist and part-time tram driver Jaakko Eino Kalevi already has a number of releases to his name but very few of them have so far found their way out of his native Helsinki. The four-track Dreamzone EP is his debut for Weird World and it is stage one of their plan to launch him onto a wider marker. A long-player is due early this year, and if the varied Dreamzone is anything to go by it could be quite something.

EP opener, “Memories”, is full of smooth synth work and a straightforward beat nicked from “Billie Jean”. It then becomes a lush exercise in outsider pop, borrowing weirdo psyche-pop manoeuvres from kindred spirit Ariel Pink and equally recalling the more recent works of Dan Bejar’s Destroyer – all be Dreamzone a little more shoestring. Next up, “Uu uu uu”, which really should read “ooh ooh ooh”, is supremely funky, bringing soft-focus bossa nova vibes to Kalevi’s Casio programmes and castanets.

Obviously it’s all very 80s, even on the understated “No End”, its nebulous electro-pop having echoes of acts like Helado Negro, but – warning – so too does it contain an indulgent dose of electronic sax and an auto-tuned dial-tone during the out-there finale. Seeing through Kalevi’s threat of being influenced by none other than classic “Road To Hell” crooner Chris Rea, the wistful closer “When You Walk Through Them All” has plenty of late-night FM in its DNA, not to mention a dash of mute disco and more sax.

As likely then to be hated as he is loved, Kalevi is nevertheless exploring a singular passion and doing it with credibility – which when you think about the context of his experiment is no mean feat at all. That forthcoming LP could be indeed be quite something.

Best tracks: “Uu uu uu” and “When You Walk Through Them All”

~The Dreamzone EP is out now on Weird World.~