Tomutonttu “Hoshi”

The world is an inflatable playground on Tomutonttu’s seventh album, Hoshi. For almost 20 years now, Jan Anderzen has been creating imaginative worlds with a mix of quixotic instrumentation and ramshackle mystery. Across multiple projects and countless albums, his creative practice is a tangled yet focused web of intricate sound design. By mixing a dash of whimsy with obsessive attention to detail and resolute sonic clarity, Hoshi is a 3D pictograph covered in pastel shapes and neon patterns.

From the outset with opener “Jo alkaa niitty tyhjentyä,” Hoshi ripples with life. Crystalline tones glean off the reflective, bouncing surfaces of Anderzen’s energetic rhythms. Barreling ahead inside a glass sphere, a world of blissed-out creatures dances through the air around us. Star systems become eco frontiers, languid shapes moving joyfully, frantic but content. Plucked tones draw out surprising chord progressions, sprinkled with space dust and resonating like a celestial harp, floating beneath a bouquet of peach rings and bubblegum.

Guest appearances widen the breadth of Hoshi, such as New Zealand’s Kraus adding concrete textures to the aqueous corridors of “Viesti.” Subterranean whimsy gets a wash of wooded ethereality with Milo Linnovaara’s hypnotic flute passages on “Radio-ohjattava Katse.” The reedy timbre juxtaposed with countless synthetic layers is the equivalent of using a tree branch to fix an LED screen and it somehow actually working. Skittering ahead, sonorous morse code elegantly taps out cryptic messages in high-pitch scratches while synth leads romanticize the days of our youth.

Sharp arpeggios flit into the night, salient leads at their back like a jetpack made from silver clouds, hammering forward on “Sähkön Tuoksu.” Linnovaara’s clarinet swirls paint a happy face on the whirlpool electronics before the whole piece is sucked to the bottom of the sonic sea. Quiet moments creeping through the dark, holding hands with ghosts in the fizzing weirdness of “Kun Puhut Kovaa Nuotiolla“ before forest funk basslines ground the spiraling lead strums and otherworldly choir of closer “Kyyti Jatkuu.” 

On Hoshi, Anderzen can do anything. This peak inside his neural network is simultaneously delightful and terrifying. These are the monsters that lurk in the shadows of his nightmares, but this music is held together by a sense of wild euphoria. After so many years and so many albums, Hoshi stands with Anderzen’s best work and in its innate listenability invites repeated excursions through its endless fluorescent corridors.

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