We take one final look at 2022 to choose our favourite albums of the year gone by. See Music Finland staff’s choices below, and scroll down to listen to our newest staff picks Spotify playlist.
It’s time to look back on another year in Finnish music: Which albums have the great people at Music Finland listened to and loved throughout 2022? See our twelve choices here, arranged in alphabetical order by each voter's name.
Chosen by: Teemu Fiilin (Communications Manager)
Knife Girl – Uniform (Soliti Records)
“Uniform” may be Knife Girl’s debut full-length, but the young Helsinki-based artist already has a long career behind her, starting from her first lo-fi releases on Soundcloud in her teens. While decidedly refusing to settle for one style or sound, “Uniform” catches Knife Girl in her most indie-rocking mode, with funky faux-disco new wave drums, keyboards and basses backing her lively and expressive singing, only interrupted by the occasional squeak of a saxophone or a distorted guitar. The spotlight is still reserved for Knife Girl’s outstanding songwriting, already challenging the likes of Dan Bejar, Will Toledo or Adrianne Lenker. To see a different side of Knife Girl, look no further than 2021’s autotune-heavy hyperpop-influenced collection "OONA EP". Who knows where she’ll be this time next year!
Chosen by: Merja Hottinen (Research Manager)
defunensemble – Hyperrealistic songs (Alba)
Joyful, quirky, brilliant, inspiring – a bit odd and full of surprises but gratifying. These are some of the adjectives that spring to mind while listening to my album of choice for 2022, defunensemble’s second profile album "Hyperrealistic songs". The works on the album have all been commissioned by the ensemble, and the different works – from Finnish composers Asta Hyvärinen, Sami Klemola and Perttu Haapanen in addition to the opening work by Hikari Kiyama and title work by Christian Winther-Christensen – are glued together by the unique sound of the ensemble. The works on the album invite strong visual, even tactile imagination from the listener. Expectations go topsy-turvy and the world actually looks different after listening to the whole album.
Chosen by: Niko Kangas (Senior Advisor)
Joalin – I’m the One EP (11 Ones)
Joalin's debut EP is perhaps the freshest and most cheerful Finnish release in a while. I'm eagerly looking forward to what's to come from her in the future!
Chosen by: Heidi Kuusava (Export Manager, contemporary, classical and folk music)
Päivi Hirvonen – Kallio (Nordic Notes)
This autumn, singer and fiddle and bowed lyre player Päivi Hirvonen released her second solo album, “Kallio”. Her music is based on folk but she mixes it with film music and pop influences. All the songs on the album are written, composed and arranged by Hirvonen. Also her live-performance is a powerful experience, being an expert at singing and playing the fiddle simultaneously. The album’s themes consist of the different roles of woman’s life, or perhaps even more about breaking the certain boundaries related to middle-aged women, and the outcome is an empowering experience for the listener. One of the most effective tunes in the album for me is Surulintu (Sorrow Bird), a story about loss or perhaps a dashed wish and ways to cope with it. Both sad and comforting at the same time, the song creates an unique atmosphere with simplicity. The harmonic texture in the beginning of the song is achieved by picking pizzicato style on three differently tuned violins laid on the floor. Some of the songs, such as Vahvan viitta (Cloak of Strength) or Tuulen tyttö (Wind Girl), obtain a mystical, dramatic and big sound – perfectly suitable for a film music, too. Strongly recommended to anyone who would like to explore Finnish folk music talent on her way to international success.
Chosen by: Kari Laitinen (Information Manager)
Harri Wessman: Chamber Music (Alba)
Piano Quartet; Prelude and Sicilienne; Trios No. 1, 2 & 3 for violin, cello and piano performed by KAAÅS-Trio (Annemarie Åström, violin; Ulla Lampela, cello and Tiina Karakorpi, piano) and Hanna Pakkala, viola.
The KAAÅS Trio was founded in 2011 by three talented musicians. In this album the trio presents a cross-section of Harri Wessman’s chamber music for piano trio and piano quartet from the 1980s to the year 2000.
Chosen by: Heli Lampi (Head of Communications and Promotion)
Sin Cos Tan – Living in Fear (Solina Records)
Sin Cos Tan offers you stylish and timeless electronic pop music, with a sure grip and world class quality. In this magic pop duo, Jori Hulkkonen's melody skills and Juho Paalosmaa's charming singing style work perfectly together. If you only have time for one song, listen to Not in the Business of Forgiving. Catchy, yet stylish.
Chosen by: Paulina Partanen (Manager, Sheet Music Production)
Sonata Arctica – Acoustic Adventures - Volume Two (Atomic Fire)
Twelve beautiful, melancholic arrangements of well-known Sonata Arctica songs. Auntie likes!
Chosen by: Turo Pekari (Innovation and Business Development Executive)
Tomppabeats – Habits (Vinyl Digital GmbH)
The Finnish low-fi electro mastermind Tomppabeats delivers an album with lush soundscapes mixing minimalistic electro, easy-listening, Commodore 64 vibes, old Ninja Tune 90s era tricks and Aphex Twin sounds updated to the 2020s. Music perfectly suited for ironing, conceptual work or enjoying a sunset cocktail in the lobby of a chic hotel in Warsaw or Nairobi.
Chosen by: Loviisa Pihlakoski (Editor, FMQ)
Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet – Landmarks (Ozella Music)
I’ve been enjoying the music of Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet lately. As journalist Fiona Talkington writes in her review in FMQ magazine, “nothing can be taken for granted on this third album from the Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet – the lights are dimmed one moment, white hot the next”.
Chosen by: Anna Reponen (Export Manager, pop and rock)
Olivera – Paradox (Olivera/U-NXT)
Olivera’s debut album delivers a fresh and dynamic set of pop songs. Her voice is deep and vivid, giving something new in every song. The first song Baby Steps sets the mood for the whole album – like a pop lullaby, soothing and calming you down to listen and be present. "Paradox" is a glimpse to what Olivera can do as a talented songwriter and skilled singer, I cannot wait so see how her music develops in the future.
Chosen by: Santeri Teppola (Intern)
DIRT – Deadbeat (Ranka Kustannus)
The most important thing in making a good steak is good basic ingredients. However, even a good steak can be raised to a whole new level when you add a little surprise with sauces.When the basic raw materials are alternative rock and grunge, which are glazed with stoner sounds and a hint of southern rock, you get a band called DIRT, whose debut album "Deadbeat" gives its listeners genuine and pure tastes of heavy riffs and striking delivery. Special mention for the band members’ incredibly fine mustaches and haircuts <3
Chosen by: Maija Vikman (Communications Coordinator)
Elia Lombardini – In Death and the Hunger for a Thousand Lives (Left Bank Recordings)
It is difficult to designate a category to Elia Lombardini’s mysterious violin music. His debut album is dramatic and vibrant — part traditional and part thoroughly contemporary. There’s always something new to be found with every listen, which I find to be a quality of a great album.