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Tarrantulla is the sixth and latest album by Finnish Berlin-based artist Merja Kokkonen, alias Islaja. It is the artist’s first major solo release since 2014’s S U U.
Islaja returns as eclectic as ever. Synth pop collides with saxophone riffs and humorous lyricism (Tactile Material), folk melodies and flutes undergo electronic transformations (Sadetta), interludes of pure, abstract sound design frame lyrics from the epic Kalevala song tradition (Emosein).
Three songs (Sadetta, Peace Pilot and Robot Arm) were arranged and recorded live in Kaiku studios with percussionist Tatu Rönkkö (Liima, Efterklang). The others were composed and recorded gradually in the artist’s own studio.
Kokkonen, who is active in the collective of female electronic music producers Monika Werkstatt, likes to improvise when playing live. Old songs are reinvented onstage, and fans will notice that a number of old Islaja songs appear in Tarrantulla in surprising rearrangements.