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Monday, November 28, 2022

“It Gets Dark” around Kepa Lehtinen

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Bro O'Sullivan
Bro O'Sullivan
Bro O'Sullivan is a music journalist who loves music. That might sound obvious but it's not. Critics are sometimes not lovers. All reviews he writes for The European Times are about discoveries he loved, or at least liked, and to which he wants you to give a chance listening.

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Do you like cinematic trips? Would you like to listen to a track that makes you travel through a story without lyrics, feel you are part of a drama, fly over some old fears that might hide in the dark of your memories, but above all, feel a deep sense of aesthetic that touches your inner senses? Well, that’s only a small part of what “It Gets Dark” has to offer.

Kepa Lehtinen is a well-known Finnish composer who made his name as a film and television composer. His distinctive brand is special: he is a pianist and crafts well-thought melodies and harmonies that brings everything that a classical feeling mixed with a cinematic story can bring to a listener. But man, he also plays theremin! What is theremin, dear reader? It’s nothing less that the first electronic instrument planet Earth ever discovered. It’s so crazy that you don’t even touch it.

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Kepa with his theremin

Invented by a Russian scientist at the beginning of the 20th century, the theremin is a sort of electronic version of the musical saw. It has a very distinctive sound that gives a dramatic and profound feeling to any piece of music that uses it correctly. Leon Theremin invented this weird instrument after the 1917 Revolution, an instrument that reacts to the moves of your two hands as regards the volume and the tone of the produced sound, through 2 small antennas that detects the variations of your moves through their impacts on the frequency of the wavelength produced by the device. Later, after some successful career in the US, Theremin went back to Soviet Union where he had to work for the infamous Beria (chief of the ancestor of KGB) to develop some spying devices that have been used to spy over Western embassies. But that’s a complete other story.

“It Gets Dark”, as most of the art pieces by Kepa Lehtinen, blends piano with theremin and double bass. The bass is played by his brother Ari Lehtinen, and Kepa plays the two other instruments. It’s dark, yes, it’s dark. But it’s also high. You don’t get trapped in that dark feeling, you fly over and through it, with an aerial sensation of being told a story that belongs to you, and only you.

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“It Gets Dark” single cover

Kepa is not a dark person. Far from it. He is a radiant being (and in addition he is a skateboarder… which is also a complete other story, at least I believe), who brings a full range of emotions to you through an incredible distinctive creative voice made of sonorities that you are familiar with, and sonorities that you are not familiar with. The result is impressive. I have added it to my favorite classical music playlist, while it sincerely does not fit with anything else in it. Because it’s peculiar. It’s modern. It’s beautiful. It’s aerial. And it’s what it is. You love it or you don’t. I do.

Finally, I’ll add that the choice of putting together these three instruments is a very clever one. First, each of them covers its own range of the musical space, and they don’t compete at all to occupy the space but covers it in full, with harmony and completeness. Then, they carry every wavelength your ears and heart need to perceive to feel fulfilled. And last, they reinforce each other in giving you the powerful sensitive and emotional message of the song.

That is why, without any further delay, I encourage you to discover Kepa’s last creation “It Gets Dark”:

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