Cultural Bulletin
Cultural Bulletin is a quarterly magazine that provides an international view of creative work. We look to film, music, design and art as signifiers of our cultural moment.

In Review: Ismo Laakso - Ofelia


Record Label: Sähkö Recordings

Ismo Laakso’s really wacky album Ofelia is a shapeshifting and surreal opus, gelling 20th-century general confusion with a double layer of neo-classical, avant-garde experimentation. Like all the weirdest records, it sat in a drawer for 20 years before finally finding an audience. It’s hard to say if the record is intentionally funny but it in parts it is, the closer and title track Ofelia being a stand out example. However, the scope of the record reaches far beyond this, the humour is balanced with ambience and luminous passages of music that blend so many different musical styles that its genre is almost unclassifiable.

The production, instrumentation and arrangements are fantastic, blending the synthetic with acoustic that subsequently brings the artificial elements into the room, combining to create a truly surreal image. There is very little about Ismo Laakso online and Finnish label Sakho Recordings, famed their remarkably diverse output have kept the mystery intact. In today’s vast ocean of music, it is rare and refreshing to be able to say that you will have not have heard anything like this. AG