Finnish bassist Mikael Saastamoinen is known from the bands Superposition, OK:KO and Linda Fredriksson Juniper, as well as a versatile and unpredictable composer and bandleader. Saastamoinen began to use the Perussastamala alias in 2016 when he released a dark and distorted study for solo electric bass, and again in 2019 when he released «May Queen» (Suolavesi) with tenor saxophonist Jussi Kannaste as an ambient-leaning sonic exploration.
«Perussastamala: LA» Saastamoinen features an eclectic line-up of nine musicians, including sax players Tom Chant (of The Cinematic Orchestra) and Mikko Innanen (of Koma Saxo and Antti Lötjönen Quintet East), cellist Aino Juutilainen (of AINON) and drummer Okko Saastamoinen (his comrade from OK:KO), with most of them Saastamoinen has not worked before. The album was recorded in the reverberating space of the Helsinki bomb shelter that was turned arts venue in January 2018, where the first album Perussastamala was recorded too.
«Perussastamala: LA» is a musical game, an exercise in freedom and sonic labyrinths, where the size of the expanded Perussastamala ensemble varies from tune to tune. The new incarnation of Perussastamala focuses on a series of chamber-ambient and brief free jazz textures based on images and graphic labyrinths that determined what each musician had to play. The 12 «LA» pieces suggest a subtle yet haunting tension and revolve gently around surprising lyrical themes, abstract textures and powerful-spiritual free jazz passages. These pieces organically correspond with each other and offer cohesive aesthetics
Saastamoinen crosses genres again with a new power trio, Outomuru, founded by him in 2017 with Barcelona-based guitarist Marçal Xirau and drummer Jordi Pallarés. The music was composed by Saastamoinen in a few locations deep in the Finnish wilderness, surrounded by nature. The debut album of this trio was recorded in Barcelona in February 2020, «Live from Robadors 23», a small but one of the most iconic venues in Barcelona.
Saastamoinen says that the music of Outomuru always sends his thoughts out to the sea and the world beneath the surface there. And, indeed, despite the post-rock approach and the dramatic qualities of the eight pieces, all are contemplative and introspective, some are even quite meditative and melancholic, and all offer cinematic images and stories. The most beautiful «Om du», «Verra» or «Kuuta mii» highlight the light, haunting touch of Saastamoinen and take the music close to the poetic, ethereal textures of Danish guitarist Jakob Bro.
Tom Chant (ts), Mikko Innanen (as, bs), Milo Linnovaara (cl), Antti Salovaara (bassoon, baroque bassoon), Aino Juutilainen (c), Tatu Ahola (baroque c), Juho Valjakka (p, fl), Okko Saastamoinen (dr), Marçal Xirau (g), Jordi Pallarés Barberà (dr), Mikael Saastamoinen (b)