Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Development in electronic music seems to correlate with computer technology - meaning that it's fast as hell. (Anyone still remember what
2001 sounded like
?) When not too many electronic artists strive for sounding timeless instead of modern, it is always noteworthy when one creates, not beeping retro or futurism, but a here-and-now sonic world, pouring steaming peppermint tea into your ear.

Olli (20) and his girlfriend Iiris (19) together form Ous Mal, a sampler folk duo covered with dirt and pine cones. They're both from Oulu (FIN) but live in Helsinki nowadays. Relevant or not, there are no computers in their bedroom studio, just primitive recording equipment and piles of cassettes.

Here's what they wanted to share with you:


Almost everything in our music is sample-based. The basic set-up I use is a portable turntable connected to a sampler and an analog 4-track-recorder. I'm always scrolling through tapes and records, sometimes even the radio, to find interesting sounds. Most of the time spent in making tunes I'm just listening to music, not recording anything new. My way of making tunes is really similar to some hip hop producers, I think.

The fascinating thing about sampling is that every sound has a whole history (which I will never know) behind them. I don’t really do much processing on samples, because I want the crackle and atmosphere of the sound to be heard. Sometimes it feels almost like music is creating itself, because the sounds I use are originally created in a really different context. Nevertheless for me it has never been about purposely mixing different genres together. I really like little mistakes and details in a recording.

This time a friend borrowed us a suitcase full of his parents' old records. This song is mostly based on those discs. I like sampling sounds from recordings made in Finland because that way unknown people passing me by in the city might be musicians jamming with me. Nevertheless I tend to use whatever sounds good despite the recording location.

Sometimes the ideas don't develop into tunes right away. We save almost everything we record and use that stuff later, so there are some elements also in this tune that are at least three years old. I have high piles of cassettes full of older recordings lying around. I am sampling a lot of our own stuff all the time, so it’s sometimes hard to say where one tune ends and another begins.
When the sounds are starting to find their places we begin to add some melodies and sounds from live instruments in the mix. Some of the cello parts in this song are improvised while some of them are based on already existing melodies of this tune. The improvised parts were recorded as an experiment of using feedback and distortion effects on cello and were later added in the mix because they fit so well.

This song has a structure not far away from a pop song, but we have buried it under so many walls of sound it has gotten blurry. The structure is usually formed by accident when putting sounds together. I like to hide little things in the tunes, even though I don’t think they will affect anyone’s sub consciousness.

It was almost the darkest season of the year when we recorded this tune and it has probably affected the mood of this tune. Usually the room was only lit by the flashing leds of the equipment and the glow of the street lights coming in from the window. The atmosphere naturally affects the music, but we never have any specific plans when we start recording something new: it always depends on the sounds we use.

We are always working on plenty of tunes at once. Sometimes it takes a year to finish one, while some are put together really fast. This one took about a month or so to record.

Some sounds we used this time:

- some really old Finnish children songs and recordings made in the
Soviet Union
- found field recordings of melting ice and some guy walking in the rain
- amateur guitarist jamming classic rock (found from an
used tape on a flea market)

267 lattajjaa has just released Ous Mal's first CDR titled Riioraa.

Ous mal - Hämäränvietto
mp3 - 224 kbps

click the player for a preview.

ous mal's myspace.