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Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 | 14:25

“Husky Rescue – how would I nail it down?” Marko Nyberg considers, sitting in a hotel in Seattle awaiting the tourbus to take him to the Portland, Oregon date of his band’s Lollapolooza jaunt across the USA, “It’s so far away from all those singer-songwriters who tell stories about things happening that start and end in the real world. In my music there’s no kind of end, I can’t describe my feelings that much and I can’t be sure what it feels like to be someone else.”

Thus Husky Rescue build big, if laid back, music that suggests every feeling Nyberg wants to convey without becoming bogged down in specifics; “an emotional ride with the lyrics opening a world around the music” is how he describes it. Their new album, “Ghost Is Not Real”, particularly, puts the squeeze on the emotions. Where Husky Rescue’s last album was easy-going to the core, soft focus at the edges even, the new one bites.

Nyberg grew up in a small town 60 kilometres north of Helsinki in Finland and was a musical prodigy from an early age. He found that orchestral works such as Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival Of Animals” inspired raw emotion in him, even as a boy, and later went to the famous Sibelius Academy with the intention of becoming a music teacher. His intellectually inquisitiveness got the better of him, however, and he spent much of his early twenties travelling to destinations in search of inspiration. “My mum works for Finnair,” he explains. “I went often to London and New York, a really good contrast to the smaller circle of Finland. I wasn’t into clubbing so much as the music in clubs, drum & bass and the whole city scene. My music now is such a contrast to that. I couldn’t make banging music, I’m into making music that’s comforting rather than distracting.” Thus he turned inwards away from the frenetic urban scene. “I don’t have a beach in Helsinki but a very beautiful sea shore,” he ventures, then laughs, “I’m a bit crazy. I can feel my head going to the sea sometimes. Also, if you don’t have the water round you, you can’t build a raft and sail away when hard times come.” He claims even in his country’s burgeoning music scene provided no direct motivation. “I don’t find music in Finland inspiring,” he says, “Well, only stuff made in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Finland’s a heavy metal country. Admittedly, there’s lots else going on but I’m not interested in scenes, I’d rather live my life somewhere in a basement.”

Nyberg became a sound designer, working for TV commercials and adverts, but his appetite for culture continued to be voracious. A renaissance man, he threw himself into everything from architecture to the films of Aki Kaurismaki, French Impressionism to modern classical composers such as Arvo Part. All these influences were channelled into his own pet project, Husky Rescue, who were picked up by Catskills Records in 2003. The debut album, “Country Falls”, was a success with discerning listeners and the music media.

The cover art by Marko’s friend, top Finnish graphic designer Kustaa Saksi, conveys the childlike joy of the contents. Like Marko, a fan of Finland’s favourite childrens’ characters, the Moomins, the artwork suggested a self-contained world of innocently surreal whimsy. Just like the music within.

With the album, though, came demands for a band called Husky Rescue which didn’t actually exist. “Chris Coco and Rob Da Bank supported “Rainbow Flows” from the first EP,” recalls Marko, “It was song of the month on their BBC Blue Room show in January 2004. Chris Coco then asked Husky Rescue to play at his club at the Social in London. This started some sort of butterfly effect and I ended up wrestling with Catskills saying I really don’t want some kind of set-up where I was playing a laptop computer. I wanted a proper band.” He got it.

Reeta-Leena Korhola appeared as a youngster in Finnish post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie “Routasydan” but bloomed into an erudite young woman who just happens to be everyone’s idea of a Scandanavian blonde bombshell. She became Husky’s singer assisted by Miika Colliander on guitar, Ville Riippa on keyboards and Anssi Sopanen on drums. Marko found he liked the band dynamic and the five-piece have since performed over 70 dates since May 2004. More importantly they provided lithe back-up when he needed to lay down his darker second album. “The overall concept for the new album is angels and demons,” says Marko, now 32 (“but always 26”), “When you’re a child a lot of good things happen but then they’re spoiled when you grow older. This album is like circling round in a plane observing as paradise is lost.”

Such enigmatic descriptions mask six months of relationship heartache that Marko is not willing to rake over. The album, instead, is jammed with subtle imagery and lush orchestration, an edifice built to express emotions but painted in broad expansive strokes. “I never listen to music when I begin to compose,” he reveals, “I start building a small universe around me. When I was a kid I used to make model aeroplanes; making music is very similar but there’s no plan to follow. Initially, I put ten pieces of A4 paper on my floor at home and started to draw something, compiling images from magazines, papers, making a collage.”

The collage fortunately bloomed into an album overflowing with Marko’s momentous, elusive ghosts of the title. “You can decide what the ghosts are for yourself,” he concludes, “Ghosts are everywhere.”

The album Husky RescueGhost Is Not Real” (Catskills) is going to be released January 26, 2007.

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