Small Remedies, the latest release by Finnish producer Saine is an unabashed presentation of an artists inner musings. Slinking downtempo rhythms, intricate melodic elements and engaging analogue soundscapes provide the sophisticated yet gritty backdrop to a thoroughly experimental EP. It comprises the third outing for Fools and Fables Recordings, a label run by three friends with a passion for ‘record collecting and music that’s a little left of centre’, a musical direction clearly embraced in all three of the imprints stellar releases.
From the moment A.1 ‘Blush’ kicks into life, it becomes quickly apparent Saine is in no mood to hurry things along. Through a steady layering process, we are rapidly immersed in nuanced melodic ideas that emerge, evolve and intertwine to create an intriguing breadth of oral sound. No sooner have you become encapsulated with this process than you find yourself at track two ‘Casual’. In albeit different fashion the same immersive process takes place with the track’s laid back, jazz infused drum rhythms providing the seamless background to more melodic improvisations.
The third track on the A side ‘Leisure Song’ leads us into previously unexplored territory. Fusing hip-hop, jazz and breaks influences, Saine takes a direction more evident in his early back catalogue. Set against the unwavering punch of a tight kick and rough snare, the track blends recurring washed guitar melodies, quivering pads and a slightly haunting female vocal sample to produce one of the EP’s highlight tracks. Add to this a layer of carefully placed string samples that swirl nostalgically above the track’s grainy core and it becomes hard to ignore the level of detail on display.
Opening up the B-Side, ‘Can’t Keep Us’ starts with a pondering, jubilant string sample that wouldn’t be out of place in a disney movie. This jovial refrain that recurs throughout the track quickly becomes surrounded by teasing melodic elements before once again dropping into Saine’s carefully constructed analogue synthesis. Each modulated riff bounces and flitters around the track, reacting and interacting with one another to create a constantly challenging environment.
From here we are thrust into the hypnotic walking bass of ‘No Rush’. As it warmly ambles along beneath a sea of smooth jazz improvisations and intriguing fills, no track could better describe Saine’s approach to this EP. With the pace well and truly set on his terms, we are encouraged to kick back and relax a notion also apparent in the final yet probably least memorable track ‘Scenes’ another hip-hop enthused chiller.
Whilst trying to understand the man behind the record, I stumbled across a post mentioning that it took three presses to get a version the label and artist were happy with. Well, this attention to detail has duly paid off. Props.