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Ossi Maristo Mixes Jazz and Prog Aesthetics with Stunning Debut Album ‘Arc’

By Charlie Maybee

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The Helsinki based, progressive jazz guitarist, Ossi Maristo, released his first album titled Arc on October 15, which features expansive instrumental tracks that are primarily led by a fluttery, echoing guitar. Maristo’s quartet has the build of a rock band (guitar, keys, bass, and drums), but clearly demonstrate high level, jazz-based training with their larger-than-life compositions.

As an entire package, the album has an impressive dynamic range that brings a variety of genre influences to jazz. Specifically, the ambient, digital effects of the guitar and keyboard expand it into the contemporary progressive realm to exhilarating effect.

The lead single from the album, “Shadowfigures,” feels like a playful dance that continuously subverts melodic and rhythmic expectations. The various structures of the song (especially in the first 3 and a half minutes) have a kinship with the kind of rhythmic play associated with progressive rock and metal acts like Dream Theater or Animals as Leaders, but Maristo hones in on the improvisational nature of jazz as a genre that drips with affect theory.

“Understanding and combining different genres has been a great help in defining myself as a guitarist and as a composer,” Maristo notes. “The musicians in my band also come from musically diverse backgrounds, which allows the music heard on ‘Arc’ to be anything and everything but ordinary.”

By allowing the various instruments to move seamlessly between highly structured techniques like sweeping scales, off-kilter riffs, and complex time signatures to the affective noise that each instrument is capable of outside any musical scaffolding, the shape of the song becomes amorphous and alive much like the titular shadow figures.

“Shadowfigures” and Ossi Maristo’s debut album Arc are both available on major streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Below you can watch a video of the band performing “Shadowfigures” live at JKB Studio in Helsinki, Finland.

This track has been added to our Alchemical Weekly YouTube Playlist

Charlie Maybee

Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.

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