The time has come at long last! We’ve been following masters of electronic soundscapes PIHKA IS MY NAME for over a year now and their debut album is finally here! On May 26th, 2021, at midnight, “Everything Is in Between“ was released. Starting at 22:00 on the 25th (EEST), however, the band set up live on Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube to do a 2(ish)-hour album release jam! We tuned in yet again to see what these two musical wizards would have in store for us this night!
I had some minor issues figuring out if the stream would start at 22:00 or 23:00 Finnish time, because the internet is a liar. The stream got started under the name “Pihka on Mars – test stream,” so it was hard to tell if this was the official stream or if they were warming up; especially considering I missed the opening, so I had no idea if they had done an intro. Their jam space is what I would consider a form of organized chaos, as it’s full of sound boards and mics and keyboards and various electronic instruments and screens and goodness knows what else, yet these artists move through the space as if they’ve lived there their whole lives.
This was my first time watching PIHKA IS MY NAME live. I have watched their streams before, of course, but never actively live. There’s always something a little extra special when watching a stream when it’s actively live, as you can engage with what’s happening. After the first song, “Imaginary Friend,” Turunen said a slightly shy hello to the viewers and announced that their next song was being played live for the first time – exciting! Hearing the live jam was like hearing the songs from the album in an extended, uncut form. Whenever the band felt like messing around, or was really getting into the music, they could take the time to just let go and have fun a while. Furthermore, there were visuals added as well to the tracks that have videos already, so songs like “Little Bubbles” featured the robots marching, slightly overlayed over the band itself.
It was also fun to see who does the vocals when, as Pihka is female and has a very sweet voice, but in fact with the use of autotune, I was surprised to see how often it was Turunen doing her voice. He, incidentally, definitely fully feels the music as he was bouncing excitedly the entire show, getting full-body into the sound. He also greeted the crowd and came to say hello to everyone in the chat (hello back!) and to speak a little bit about the album and where to find it, before laughing about being unable to read the comments without his glasses and getting back into the music.
Songs like “Digital Water” and “Binaries” were easy to pick out, despite their beautiful extended intros. Helasvuo‘s pianos continue to be one of the highlights of the music, if you can even pick it apart enough to find a single thing to highlight over another sound. Turunen announced final song “+-“ at 23:10(ish) but promised to stick around to answer some questions. This is another easy highlight track because of the wonderful cello as I’ve already said, and it came to life as the duo performed it and worked as a fabulous finale to the stream.
There was plenty of time to talk to the band after the set, where viewers asked questions about the band’s influences, Pihka’s design, the equipment (which Turunen showed off a bit – interesting stuff), and so forth. It’s nice to hear them talk about their inspirations and for me, it was cool to learn a bit about the equipment they use because a lot of it seems like pure magic as far as I’m concerned.
I really feel like a broken record by now! Go listen to this band already! If you’re in need of something a little different that is both sweet and poignant, artistic and enjoyable, ambient and storied, this album should be right up your alley. It should be online as we speak, so be sure to pop by their Spotify or Bandcamp to give it a spin and enjoy the provocative innocence that is “Everything is in Between.”
- Little Bubbles
- Assembly Out of Line
- Digital Water
- Algorithm and Blues