Antti Tolvi is a self-taught, multi-talented musician. He has played in numerous bands including Lau Nau, Rauhan Orkesteri, and Lauhkeat Lampaat. Born in ’77 in Panelia on the west coast of Finland, he began making music with his brothers, untutored. From 2000-2001 he studied classical Indian music in Varanasi, and this marked a turning point in his perception of music. On returning to his native Finland, he became embroiled in Free Jazz for a number of years, until a recent relocation to the countryside pushed him ever more towards solo improvisation – deriving inspiration from, in Antti’s own words, “harmonies, overtones, going into sound, no ends, no starts, from nothing comes something, just perfect, peace”.
‘Pianoketo’ can be seen as a culmination of Antti’s musical experiences to date. Featuring three extended meditations on a theme, all played on solo piano, it is a sound that defies categorisation, with nods towards classical, avant-garde, improvisation, psych, free jazz and Indian music. A shimmering flux of tones and harmonies, each of Pianoketo’s pieces seem to collect notes as they gather momentum, expanding and shifting form as Antti breathes life into them. At times, it is almost as if there are two instruments, the overtones working like feedback, playing counter-melodies as notes weave through each other. Antti’s technique combines neatly with the personality of the instrument to convey an evocative, psychedelic nostalgia.
“This record was recorded with binaural microphones, attached to the players ears. While playing, as you move your body or head, there is a ‘flanger’ effect – that’s why the overtones are really flying. There’s no overdubs, effects or EQ.
My main instruments have been saxophones, clarinets, flutes and all kind of wind instruments. In Pianoketo I play piano as I play saxophone. Just using 11 notes. Because I don’t have to blow, I can focus more on other things. And actually soon I don’t have to focus on anything, just listen to what my fingers are doing. It’s amazing to find new melodies, harmonies, drones, rhythms or whatever. And then I can follow that for a while, and then just let go and wait for a new direction.
This piano had not been played for more than 40 years, so the tuning had dropped “a little”. I tuned some notes, to get more overtones. Most of the notes have found their own resting place over the years, just resonating in sounds and vibes at Grandma’s.” – Antti Tolvi