Man Duo Orbit Kaya Kaya
Orbit is a bass-heavy cosmic trip that’s unafraid to spiral far off grid. It’s the third record – kind of – from old friends and long-term musical conspirators Sami Toroi (aka Long-Sam) and Jaakko Eino Kalevi, who first recorded together as teenagers. In 2001 they put out a free jazz 7” single, and reunited in 2012 for Amateurs de Vérité – a psych-folk album led by the bouncy but slightly grating single Plastic Bag. Individually, both musicians are known for eclectic electronic pop, and in this third wave collaboration it sounds as if they’ve finally found a format that flatters their experimental impulses.
Orbit escapes the gravitational pull of any conventional genre. The Middle has a little bit of everything; breathy vocals borrowed from Sean Nicholas Savage, melodramatic percussion that would please Phil Collins, and a dreamy, ridiculous guitar solo all result in an unlikely but emotional ballad. Elsewhere, Ile’s Dream is progressive psychedelica that heats up as it pushes towards freefall, and Unter Vier Augen is a tinny, distant-sounding floor-filler that feels burdened by glamorous, intergalactic jetlag.
Written and recorded in Helsinki and Berlin, the album is trilingual (Finnish, English, Italian) but it speaks with a coldly millennial voice. Deceptively smooth, soft funk opener One Formula invites you in as a robotic voice announces, “A talking lift to the fifth floor/ A glass of water with cucumber slices”. Later, Toroi and Kalevi offer the listener a morning yoga session to relax those “aching shoulders” with such a straight face that is both absurd and chilling. Single What If It Falls chants, ritualistically, a refrain of “Push-ups/ Shaving/ Moisturiser” without obvious irony, as a techno beat crackles with static. As they take a swing at the phallic tower of modern masculinity, there’s an understated euphoria in the climax: “Crucial Moment: When everything falls”.