New Ambient and Experimental Music from Finland

Get yourself acquainted with the Finnish ambient and experimental music scene!

Since experimental is a relatively abstract tag for a music genre, we look at it from a broad angle, also including music from the ambient realm. Our ambient and experimental playlist covers music ranging from surreal sound manipulations and freaky electronics to lush ambient soundscapes and leftfield-leaning lo-fi pop.

The playlist is updated frequently.

New Experimental Music from Finland on Apple Music
New Ambient and Experimental Music from Finland on Spotify

Related Artists

Lau Nau

Laura Naukkarinen’s songs are imbued with a cinematic breadth of vision and her idiosyncratic, finely honed soundworld builds on fragile, spectral otherness. In her concerts you can feel the time stop while she shares small stories with the audience, accompanied by a guitar, synths, small toy instruments and a sea of effects. Lau Nau’s 10th album "Aphrilis" was released in November 2023 by Fonal Records and Beacon Sound (USA), and is a companion of her 2017 album "Poseidon" – a return to lyrics-based songs and an organic band sound after several film soundtracks and modular synth albums.

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Contemporary music ensemble Sähkökitarakvartetti, founded in 2017, has explored the potential of the electric guitar in areas as varied as jazz, rock, classical music, free improvisation, experimental music and sound art. The group merges influences from multiple sources and explores new, as yet undefined combinations and modes of expression. By commissioning and performing works (by composers such as Tytti Arola, Hafdís Bjarnadóttir, Clara De Asís, Sami Klemola and Meriheini Luoto) boldly crossing genre boundaries, the group seeks to shake up the established structures and aesthetics of the art music field.

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Founded in 1988, RinneRadio is a pioneer in Finnish electronic jazz. Operating on the boundaries of jazz and electronic music, RinneRadio fused jazz into ambient music and techno years before it became a worldwide trend and added hints of world music into it. The biography on the band's website provides the following description of the music they produce: "As the drum'n'bass and techno rhythms are fermented with dark dub, lush ambient soundscapes and timeless saxophone and bass clarinet textures, the resulting brew becomes equally sexy trance jazz and surreal dance music."

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Islaja is the artist name of Finnish composer, performer and recording artist Merja Kokkonen, now based in Berlin, Germany. Since her debut in 2004, she has released four albums on Fonal Records, one on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label and one on Berlin-based monika enterprise, as well as a series of singles on labels such as Not Not Fun and Root Strata. She earned quick praise in the international music press for her unique vocal style and daring DIY approach to music composition, with kudos from the Wire magazine, Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes. Islaja's seventh album "Angel Tape" was released in 2023, after a six years' recording hiatus.

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For a bassless trio, VIRTA create a huge soundscape; expressive, avant garde and eminently fresh with an occasional nod to fellow Nordic sonic experimenters Nils Petter Molvaer and Jaga Jazzist. Formed in 2011, their playing is characterized by skillful musicianship and inventive use of electronic effects, with occasional atmospheric vocals. Virta also has a reputation as a fierce live ensemble.

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Paavoharju is one of the internationally best known underground groups from Finland. The Wire dubbed Paavoharju's music as “home-taped experimentation married to pop ecstasy”, which describes perfectly their combination of hazy lo-fi indie, religious imagery and dreamy/nightmarish ambient atmosphere. After releasing their 3rd album in 2013, Paavoharju took a lengthy hiatus before returning for shows in 2021 and another studio full-length "Yön mustia kukkia" (2023). Paavoharju announced that they would quit making music after October 2023.

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You'll know from the names involved, including Circle pair Jussi Lehtisalo and Tomi Leppänen that Mahti is in it to win it. This new 4-piece presents a unique mixture of ambient-rock, electronic music and traditional Finnish-Karelian folk – namely "a tripped out, ambient-hypnotic ride". Their lengthy semi-improvisational pieces are built on top of complex, hypnotic grooves which are layered with opaque guitars and strangely soothing noise elements. In the heart of it all there's kantele, an ancient Finnish string instrument played by Hannu Saha, who has studied Finnish folk music for nearly 5 decades. The line-up is completed by psychiatrist Teemu Elo.

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YSI is producer Tuomas Soppela’s musical project which started in 2020. YSI’s music has been described as longing, meditative and even spiritual, but mixed with pop aesthetics. YSI's full-length debut "Windstopper" (2021) included shoegaze guitars, mystical phonetic-based lyrics and even influences from grunge and noise. His 2023 single "Amp Head" was featured in an advertisement video for Givenchy.

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Timo Kaukolampi

With his countless music projects – including his current band K-X-P, Timo Kaukolampi has been an influential artist in the Finnish music scene since the late 1980s. With his solo music he has managed to reinvent himself as a musician and is now finally getting the recognition he deserves. Expect: pulsating synths and distant beats, cosmic disco, techno and dense cinematic ambience.

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Neofolk band Tenhi, formed in 1996, makes minimalistic, dark and melancholic music. Their instruments and vocals are heavily folk-influenced. The band themselves claim that their music is "mainly composed to be a voyage thru different landscapes and feelings. In a way the music is scenery painting. A song is like a canvas for a painting — instruments are like brushes to draw a vision for inner eyes to see.” Despite Tenhi’s long history, their releases are quite sparse: their last album “Valkama” saw the light of day in spring 2023 after 12 long years of waiting.

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AHO is the solo project by Helsinki based producer and composer Matti Ahopelto. Aho's music blends ambient textures with vivid compositions. His first full length album "Nowinter Nosummer" was released in 2020 by PME Records. On the debut album, Aho's the simmering electronics are faced with organic instruments creating a unique soundscape. Aho's second album "Odyssey" saw the light of day in the Summer of 2022.

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Peltomaa Fraanje Perkola

Trio Peltomaa Fraanje Perkola combines the sounds of the human voice, piano and viola da gamba with electronic effects and medieval harp. The players have diverse backgrounds in early music, jazz, Finnish folk music and contemporary music, although medieval music is the inspiration for their personal and recognisable sound. In their music, the trio explores the chants of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Pérotin (1160-1230) and 14th-century pilgrimage songs.

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Rättö ja Lehtisalo

Rättö ja Lehtisalo is an experimental and psychedelic rock duo consisting of Mika Rättö (Circle, Kuusumun Profeetta) and Jussi Lehtisalo (Circle, Pharaoh Overlord, Split Cranium).

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Jesse is an electronic music band from Helsinki, consisting of Kalifornia-Keke (Niko Liinamaa) and Stiletti-Ana (Ilari Larjosto). On their early releases, Jesse's sound was an original take on 80s synth pop influenced by Kraftwerk, Yello, Jan Hammer and Giorgio Moroder. Later on, the duo moved to a more abstract sound, taking influences from genres such as afrobeat, ambient, fourth world music and avant-garde.

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Olimpia Splendid

Fonal Records signees Olimpia Splendid is explained to be "about endless loops, hypnotic bass and sort-of-tune guitar noise, whispering, unruliness, skrikes". The trio was founded in the summer of 2010 in Helsinki and is formed by visual artists and musicians Heta Bilaletdin, Jonna Karanka and Katri Sipiläinen, known from acts like Toblerones, Melmac, Bir iki, Hertta Lussu Ässä, Hockey Night, MYTTYS and Kuupuu. Fonal Records released their 7” ep in 2013 which was followed by a full-length debut in July 2015. Olimpia Splendid returned in 2022 with new two-track ep "Nicotinella".

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Helsinki-based ensemble Tölöläb's music combines woodwinds, electronics and free improvisation. Its members’ primary background is in classical music but its methods and influences come from a wide range of genres, ranging from western medieval music to EDM or hardcore noise. Collaborators of Tölöläb have equally varied backgrounds. Tölöläb’s natural habitat includes concert halls and churches as well as clubs, festivals, restaurants, abandoned lighthouses and trams. Tölöläb has collaborated with some of the biggest names in Finnish jazz and hiphop as well as orchestras such as Tapiola Sinfonietta.

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Läjä Äijälä & Albert Witchfinder

Läjä Äijälä's (Terveet Kädet, Lapin Helvetti) and Albert Witchfinder's (Spiritus Mortis, Reverend Bizarre – see out New Rock and Metal from Finland playlist for all these band references!) music relies on minimalistic approach and blends Witchfinder’s mysterious and even raw vocals with the ominous backgrounds created by Äijälä. They released an album “Centuries of Youth” in fall 2021.

Onségen Ensemble

Onségen Ensemble is a group of musicians from northern Finland. Being faithful to its own purpose, the spiritual home of Onségen keeps its doors open for everyone to enter. The music is promised to take the listener to a “mystical trip with excursions into wonderfully cinematic and flamboyant landscapes”. Onségen Ensemble’s fourth album “Realms” was released in 2022.

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Marja Ahti

Marja Ahti is a frequent collaborator of the Kemialliset Ystävät musical collective and one half of the electro-acoustic duo Ahti & Ahti. Ahti creates vivid, imaginative compositions of sound and rhythm using electronics and treated samples of recorded acoustic instruments, objects, voices, feedback, and environmental sounds.

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Ripatti Deluxe

Sasu Ripatti, also known as Vladislav Delay, now sporting the new "Ripatti Deluxe" moniker, presents his very own abstract take on early rave and happy hardcore. "Speed Demon" marks the first release on Ripatti's newly launched label "Rajaton".

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Pohjonen Alanko

Ismo Alanko, Kimmo Pohjonen and Tuomas Norvio have teamed up for a new project, Pohjonen Alanko. The core of their music is vocal improvisation and electronic adventures. The sounds, melodies and rhythms conceived in a free form state are developed into powerful visual imaginations and creative compositions. Various sounds emanating from the human body, hypnotic vibrations and lyrical melodies meet modern technology.

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Mirror Ghost

Mirror Ghost is the alter ego and creative playground of Finnish musician Teemu Into. In 2021 he released Syrup Hill, an album of meditative ambient that echoed early synthesizer music, new age and Japanese environmental music. With the modular synth as his main tool, accompanied by tape loops, field recordings and traditional instruments, Mirror Ghost spawns melancholy harmonies and celestial melodies that evoke feelings of comfort and hope.

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Olli Hänninen and Sami Hynninen

Sami "Albert Witchfinder" Hynninen has joined forces with Finnish hip hop maverick Olli Hänninen. Together they create alternative rhythm music unlike anything that has existed before. Their music stretches from experimental drones through jazz and marching music to bona fide synth pop.

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Mysterious alternative world music group IANAI’s music is imbued with flavors from indigenous musical cultures around the globe and clothed in darkly hued indie moods. As the album progresses, listeners transcend through the instrumentation of Scandinavia, Africa, Asia, Middle East and South America. From celestial harmonies to earthly delights, IANAI’s music is a reflection of both the worldly and otherworldly.

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Project Vainiolla

On Project Vainiolla's album "Waves of Inner Peace", reel-to-reel recorders released composer Kalle Vainio to create an hour-long audiovisual artwork. In the composition one can hear e.g. string orchestra, Buchla 200e and Serge modular synthesizer, prepared piano and five-string kantele. Every recorded sound has passed through an analog tape such as reel to reel, elcaset or cassette recorders. Instruments on the record are prepared piano, modular synthesizer, string orchestra and 5-string kantele.

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Mari Sainio

Helsinki based composer and producer Mari Sainio works in domestic and international concert, theater and film projects. In 2017, Sainio released her debut solo EP ”Tales”, which was followed by her full length debut "Minus 25" (2018) and sophomore album "Archipelago Stories" in 2022. In her music, Sainio combines elements of classical music with cinematic melodies, electronic sounds and post-rock textures.

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Tapani Rinne & Teho Majamäki

Woodwinds specialist Tapani Rinne and percussionist Teho Majamäki's duo project harks back to 2011. Space and the sound of it have been the cornerstones of the duo's music since the beginning. Their two forst albums contain meditative music recorded in acoustically interesting and atmospheric locations – temples and caves in India, as well as deep inside the country in the railway tunnels of the Helsinki metropolitan area. With their 3rd album "On the Border", the musicians wanted to keep outside factors to a minimum and record compositions in controlled studio conditions.

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Elia Lombardini

Elia Lombardini (Elias Riipinen) is a finnish-italian composer, producer and violinist. His music fluctuates between classical and electronic music, cathartic harmony and atonal breakdowns. The Helsinki based artists music has drawn comparisons to works by other contemporary composers such as Nils Frahm, Max Richter and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Elia has previously played with esteemed Finnish groups such as The Holy, Karina and Ruusut. Elia Lombardini’s debut album "In Death and the Hunger for a Thousand Lives" was released in spring 2022.

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TRAINS describes their own music as "dramatic ambience". Consisting of Stina Koistinen, Ilkka Tolonen and Ville MJ Hyvönen, the trio of musicians uses human voice, instruments and machines as their tools. Trains put out their first three releases, their self-titled limited edition cassette and the albums "Simple Beings" and "III" between 2021 and 2022.

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Formed in 2009, defunensemble has established ifself as one of the most important contemporary music groups in Finland. The ensemble’s vigorous mission is to systematically delve into the world of electroacoustic music. Defunensemble gives Finnish premieres of the most essential electroacoustic repertoire both classic and current, while simultaneuosly actively commissioning new works incorporating the latest technologies. With artistic director Sami Klemola the ensemble’s concert concepts have proven to be highly innovative, blending different sub-genres of the electroacoustic persuasion with an unprecedented street credibility—any dusty notions of classical music are soon forgotten. A serious professional undertaking, the musicians and sound designers of defunensemble are some of the most active personalities in the Finnish contemporary music scene.

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Jori Larres

Jori larres is a musician, composer and a producer based in Helsinki. His music creates layered cinematic soundscapes with experimental twist. Drawing inspiration from the speculative futures, his latest album “Intervals” was released in 2022.

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Jussi Lehtisalo

Jussi Lehtisalo, known as the founder of a rock act Circle, is a bassist and vocalist based in the city of Pori. His music has been described as a mixture of different moods and as organic blurring of styles. Lehtisalo's latest single "Supertaktiikkaa" released in 2022 tells a story about a nostalgic Finnish board game known as "Kimble".