Originally hailing from the woods outside of Kuopio, a smallish town in Eastern Finland, Astro Can Caravan is one of the great unknown entities in contemporary Finnish jazz. The collective has released several, and toured extensively for over a decade and counting, yet it seems that nobody really knows who they are. That includes us at the Ricky-Tick office. The lineup of the band seems to vary from gig to gig and recording to recording, yet it feels as if the Astro Can Caravan ethos and mythology is safe in the hands of whoever seems to turn up at their gigs. In some sense, the operational resemblance to a modern-day version of Sun Ra’s monumental Arkestra is quite uncanny.
As already “The Nagual Julian” EP proved, Atro Can Caravan are experts in creating collective improvisational works as well as tightly grooving contemporary jazz tunes. Often they achieve these two domains simultaneously with remarkable ease and originality.
“Planet Caravan” catches Astro Can Caravan in full intergalactic flight, moving from tightly swinging passages to “freedom music” and back. “Meteor Shower Gel”, the opener “Mery”, and “Athatoolagooloo”, to name but a few of the tracks, are excellent examples of Astro Can Caravan’s vast artistic powers, which remains true to their core sound at all times.
The Astro Can Caravan captured in the studio here is an exercise in otherworldly jazz with traditional influences and an original, contemporary edge to it. Labeling or pinpointing the band’s sound would be a challenge equivalent to that of telling you who exactly plays in the band at any given time or place.
02. Mozzarella Legs
05. The Ghost of the Grotto
06. New Years Eve Waltz
08. Meteor Shower Gel
10. The Disappearance Of The Megafauna
11. Orleans (Hidden Track)
The album Astro Can Caravan “Planet Caravan” (Ricky Tick) is going to be released July 1, 2011.