Harmonic. Hypnotic. Tranced-out.
”Heavy Experimental Dub Arctic Trance Nordic Music” – LIFEM
RinneRadio’s unique and identifiable fusion of electronic underground beats and progressive jazz has mesmerised audiences for more than three decades! The group was formed by reedman/composer Tapani Rinne and the late composer/drummer Edward Vesala in 1988.
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. After 15 impressive, well-distinguished albums and many other releases the group still continues to explore new areas, reforming themselves and inspiring artists everywhere!
The ground up of electronic fusion
“RinneRadio has always been about music in its most holistic form: valleys and hills, details and larger picture, beauty and hideousness. That’s how I perceive life”, describes Tapani Rinne.
Well before the evolvement of nu jazz RinneRadio created their trademark sound bringing together the coolness of early Brian Eno and later Miles Davis.
“Mood, color, atmosphere, space, sound. These elements have been equally important to me when compared to the more traditional musical features of melody, rhythm and harmony.”
With the electronic influence becoming more and more important nowadays in music, RinneRadio’s pioneering work is more current than ever now! What they started back in the days has clearly left a mark in the history and paved way for many artists fusing electronic soundscapes and organic elements all over the world today.
Breakthrough from the underground happened after RinneRadio received the Emma award ‒ Finnish equivalent to Grammy ‒ for their fourth release Unik as the best jazz album of 1994. After nationwide popularity and hype in Finland they were soon to be recognized internationally and started touring countries from all over Europe to Japan. Their trance-inducing shows gained wide attention and interest also in the techno and rave scene.
As the line-up of RinneRadio has reformed hand in hand with the evolution of their music, Tapani Rinne has remained the conductor and the musical scientist through all the years. As a Finnish contemporary jazz musician, composer and record producer he is best known for his experimental and innovative style with the clarinet and saxophone.
Besides RinneRadio, Tapani Rinne has collaborated with several highly-reputed Finnish musicians in various projects. The active ones include the internationally praised world music duo Wimme & Rinne with a Sámi yoik singer and the hip hop-styled SlowHill with DJ Slow with a new single scheduled for summer 2020 and a novel album to be released the following winter.
Some of the most notable earlier collaboration albums are the electronic minimalistic album Inside The Temple recorded entirely in Indian temples with Teho Majamäki and the experimental encounter with another unconventional saxophonist Jimi Tenor in 1991 (Suburban Sax).
Tapani Rinne has released three solo albums but also produced two albums (Kielo and Kluster) for the experimental accordionist comet Kimmo Pohjonen. The Wimme & Rinne album Mun gained Tapani Rinne the grand Teosto Prize in 2011, granted by the Finnish non-profit performance rights organization Teosto. In 1992 he pocketed the acclaimed Georgie Award (for ”The Jazz Musician of the Year”) from the Finnish Jazz Federation.
Tapani Rinne has worked together with several internationally acknowledged artists such as DJ Spooky (USA), The Nits (NED), Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen of Pan Sonic, Raoul Björkenheim, Jaakko “JS16” Salovaara and Jori Hulkkonen. In 1992, he also founded his own record label Aani Records.
RinneRadio’s current fit
Since the latest album StaRRk in 2012, the official lineup of Rinneradio remained unchanged with Tapani Rinne as the composer, saxophonist and clarinetist, Juuso Hannukainen as percussionist and Konsta “DJ Muffler” Mikkonen as the producer and the man on the electronics for several years. In 2020, DJ Muffler was replaced by a Helsinki-based electronic music artist Aleksi Myllykoski, who had been occasionally filling in for him during the last few years on live stages. Aleksi Myllykoski has collaborated with Tapani Rinne also on his latest Dark Days album, which was published in June 2020.
RinneRadio has been working on fresh material more and more actively during the last years. A new album has been planned for release in the winter of 2020‒2021. To get a glimpse of their sound evolution before that make sure to check the latest singles “Yasmin” in 2017 and “Zarkukselle” in 2018, which were published by the British label The Ambient Zone.
In 2020, the dynamic trio is known for their invigorating performances of rich and eclectic sound ranging from fervent rumble to wild and transcendent meditative ambiance. Avoiding formats and predictability they do not have a fixed set for their live show. Instead they customize it according to the event and venue, which can nowadays be anything from a church concert to a live club, concert arena or a rave festival organized in the middle of forest.
”There’s the astonishing RinneRadio, a hard-edged techno band led by a cool jazz sax player. That might look nightmarish on paper, but the reality is spiralling, mesmerising which induces dance-floor dementia in some and tranced-out tranquillity in others.” – Melody Maker
“One day my parents decided to invest in a new home stereo system and it was only after being around the wonderful new device, albeit very modest by today’s standards, that I started to discover new worlds within the music I was hearing. The stereophonic sound image and the sense of space it provided, the sheer power of the volume, and the audio landscape stretching from the bass deep down all the way up to the tinny high end gave me goosebumps. Now I could listen to almost anything, suddenly it was all about sound.” – Tapani Rinne
The road to international recognition
The story of RinneRadio starts already in 1988 at the groundbreaking Sound & Fury workshops in Helsinki. Over there jazz drummer Edward Vesala encourages Rinne to step to the fore as a bandleader, which leads to the creation of the new electro jazz group. He eventually also produces majority of the self-titled debut album of RinneRadio, which gets published later on the same year.
The premiere performance of RinneRadio is in the main concert of Pori Jazz in 1988 and it features an exclusive lineup of several well-established or upcoming stars of Finnish jazz and experimental music. These include Iro Haarla and Iiro Rantala on keyboards, Jari Kokkonen on bass, Seppo Tyni on guitar and Tom Nekljudov on drums.
Within two years the group has created their trademark sound of fusing electronic beats and jazzy wind instruments. You will actually hear this on all the rest of the albums since their sophomore release Dance and Visions,which gets published in 1990. The arrival of drum machines, the new official RinneRadio members Keimo Hirvonen (from Pekka Pohjola Group) on drums and Jan Noponen on electric percussion joining the ranks and guests like Sámi yoik singer Wimme Saari, synthesizer wizard Tommi Lindell featured on the new album are all part of the magical recipe.
The third album Joik in 1992 is the culmination point of RinneRadio’s “ethno techno” phase. It introduces group member Kimmo Kajasto’s sampling and programming skills, which are to be enjoyed until 1997. New additions to the lineup are also bass player Jari Kokkonen, who also contributes with samples and keyboards until 2001 and on live occasions even after, and guitarist Janne Lehto.
The next album Unik in 1994 focuses again on the original techno jazz while distinguishing the trademark RinneRadio sound from the world music vibes created with Wimme Saari. The album receives high ratings among critics as well as the Best Jazz Album of the Year award at the Emma Gala (Finnish equivalent to Grammy Awards). It all paves the way for international underground fame and performances abroad.
Experimenting with success
By the release of their the fifth album RoK in 1996, the mixture of RinneRadio’s sound includes Finnish jazz, Nordic shamanism and the sub-genres of techno particularly hot in the British underground dance music scene at the time. You can easily also hear the influence of hip hop and drum’n’bass on the album. Most of all, it also introduces you to the brand new musical style RinneRadio created and which would have its larger global impact a good ten years later.
Rockadillo Records, a well-established label representing many legendary Finnish rock, jazz, folk and alternative artists since 1970’s, believes in RinneRadio and publishes RoK ‒ and actually all the following albums since that.
RinneRadio’s popularity in Finland reaches its all-time high, which means several sold-out shows at the most important big venues and even success on the national album charts. Internationally the group is conquering new territories by performing at Midem in France but also in USA and Canada for the first time.
However, the next concept album pfft in 1997 surprisingly takes RinneRadio to the most experimental direction they have ever taken. Evidently the wisest move instead of trying to remake their previous success albums, this leads to widen their audience all over the world. The album is based on the material Mika “Ø” Vainio from Pan Sonic has remixed into a more minimalist form out of RinneRadio’s music during a 1995 live session.
In July 1997 RinneRadio performs at Knitting Factory in NYC with the show being broadcasted live at Pori Jazz Festival in Finland with DJ Spooky interpreting his version of it live on air for the audience. In 1998 Jean “DJ Ken-One” Johansson replaces Kimmo Kajasto in the official lineup bringing his raw drum’n’bass twist into the sound of the fresh RinneRadio album G. The remix album B, highlighting special versions of earlier tracks and reproduced by Finnish rhythm music giants such as DJ Bunuel, DJ Slow, Mika “Ø” Vainio, JS16 and Op:l Bastard, is released in 1999.
Crossing more boundaries with new ideas
On their ninth and tenth albums Nao (2001) and Lumix (2003), RinneRadio collaborates with guest producers for the first time, most of all with Veikka Erkola, Jori Hulkkonen and Pauli Saastamoinen. The latter of these had already earlier proved out to be a long-term partner in terms of mastering and quality control of their albums. Both albums are received well by audience as well as the critics. When performing live, their lineup keeps changing every now and then. Some of the Finnish legends, who are seen often live on stage with RinneRadio, include percussionists Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa and Zarkus Poussa (R.I.P.) as well as pianist Iro Haarla.
The year of 2004 brings RinneRadio back to a more solid form with Tapani Rinne, keyboard player and effect specialist Tuomas “Verneri Lumi“ Norvio and Juuso “Juusonik” Hannukainen as the new official lineup. New album named Pan is released the same year and has a different approach compared to earlier ones, since it sounds merely like a live studio recording starring guests such as singer Siiri Nordin, Teho Majamäki and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. It will be followed by several high-profile live shows in 2005, including London Barbican Center at the festival curated by Herbie Hancock, NorthSea Jazz festival in Holland, Spitz Club at London Jazz Festival and a performance at the Midem opening night show in Cannes in January 2006.
RinneRadio has now started making music also for circus and films before releasing their next albums + in 2006 and On in 2007. The multidisciplinary approach can be heard on both of the releases. The following 14th album Pole Stars in 2009 is an update to their “ethno techno” sound with a strong Nordic twist emphasized by featured artists such as Sámi yoik singers Ulla Pirttijärvi and Wimme Saari as well as Johanna Juhola on accordion and Eva Alkula playing Finnish zither.
A new phase starts again in 2012 with the release of StaRRk album and Konsta “DJ Muffler” Mikkonen joining the group. The internationally known Finnish drum’n’bass artist brings raw and hard-edged hue to the moody and floating musical palette of RinneRadio. Since that he will be working together with Tapani Rinne also in the Wimme & Rinne project.
”Texture-wise, StaRRk is more akin to slowed-down metal than jazz and comes across like the soundtrack to dust setting after a volcanic eruption.” – Kieron Tyler, theartsdesk.com
Written by Joonas Kervinen, June 2020
The full-length albums of RinneRadio:
- StaRRk (2012)
- Pole Stars (2009)
- On (2007)
- + (2006)
- Pan (2004)
- Lumix (2003)
- Nao (2001)
- B (1999)
- G (1998)
- pfft (with Ø) (1997)
- RoK (1996)
- Unik (1994)
- Joik (1992)
- Dance and Visions (1990)
- RinneRadio (1988)
- Talk (RinneRadio Remix) (2019)
- Zarkukselle (2018)
- Yasmin (2017)
- Kylmäverisesti sinun EP (OST) (2016)
- Kuvala (2002)
- Affluenza (2000)
- Juju EP (1998)
- Osaka EP (1998)
- Aromaa Alt EP (1995)
- Joulu EP (1994)
- Dior In Nera EP (1993)
- Santa Claus (1991)