Pekka Airaksinen – Buddhas of Golden Light (Arc Light Editions, August 2015)

From Italian nutters to Finnish ones, it’s a very different feel. Arc Light Editions present their fourth offering: a bizarre, intense, delicate, difficult-but-not-that-difficult synth-jazz feast from one of the members of 1960s scandalous experimentalist collective The Sperm. A saxophonist by trade, Airaksinen couples his evident virtuosity with his instrument with an equally dexterous but especially inspired use of a Roland 808 and of Yamaha DX7 to self-produce and release a record dedicated to the 999 buddhas (he’s apparently about 100-buddhas in now) which has been gathering wide-eyed enthusiasm since its publication in 1984.

Clearly the result of a solitary, quasi-religious cosmic improvisation, the record is a luminous, busy thing of brilliance, in which corners are turned and entire oceans of new aesthetics appear: though it has the laboriousness and bravura of a free jazz record, the work is toned down by its electronic curiosity, which makes for an oblique, odd record. Complex psychedelic interventions (“Sukirti”) give way to much more concentrated, almost domestic pieces; the handsome bass and modern landscapes of “Ratnasikhinas”, which almost forget about the record’s mystic intent, move into the full-flung futurism of “Kandrasuryapradipa”, epic and epic beyond jazz, psychedelia or space music. Not really a jazz record, and certainly not a new age record, this is one of those pieces of unfiltered electronic joy; a mysterious one-off which will appeal to many appetites, and might even mature with each listen.