Timo Kaukolampi & Tuomo Puranen - Maria's Paradise - Original Soundtrack
Svart Records
Ambient Electronic
19 songs (38'25")
Release year: 2020
Svart Records
Reviewed by Alex

When I heard that talented Finnish musicians Timo Kaukolampi and Tuomo Puranen (a force behind electronic cult band K-X-P) created a soundtrack to a movie which was about something occult, I wanted to hear it. FIrst, I knew we probably would be the only site to give Maria’s Paradise - Original Soundtrack coverage, but then to see how Maria Akerblom - the occult woman - will sound through the music was very intriguing. Also, never failing to learn about the historic facts, listening to the soundtrack prompted me to search more about Maria Akerblom and her messianic evangelical sect in 1920s Finland. Having been called a ‘sleeping preacher’ Maria Akerblom used to preach as a young girl in the north of Finland after having fallen ill and preaching in a state of sleeping trance. Her sermons must have gotten some followers, and some of the cult leaders even moved eventually to seize peoples’ property, and implored followers to move to the land of Israel. Maria Akerblom herself even spent some time in jail, and the movement must have fizzled before WWII eventually. The sect prized music, had their own set of hymns, which Timo and Tuomo apparently used to provide an electronic version of what they thought the moods of Maria’s followers were like. This music is a separate standalone piece of art to the biopic movie on the subject created in 2019 by Zaida Bergroth.

Maria’s Paradise is not then the soundtrack to a movie as you would expect. It isn’t fully developed traditional music with orchestral arrangements. Instead what we have here is rather elitist shoegazy introspective portrayal of quietness and nothingness. Fans of ambient music will love it, those expecting something you hear in mainstream movies probably will not. The compositions on Maria’s Paradise are more often than not simple whispers (The Angel Will Guide Us), a couple of rumbles (I Saw The Beast), a pair of synth lines (The Arboretum, Salome), two ominous sounds (The Cell) and nothing more. This is all mood setting, although pressure can ratchet sometimes (The Courthouse), with pulsations (The Courthouse), sometimes strong (The Ring) and with electronic techno feel (Righteous Betrayal). All of this almost always ends into nebulous synth ether with bottom lined frequencies (Letter from Maria) or icy strong pushes (Bear Trap). Vocally, the album is really minimal, with a few spiritual chants here and there (I Saw the Beast, The Sermon), cries, sniffles or reverential cultish moans (The Sermon). The vocals on Maria’s Paradise, as few as there are of them, are predominantly female, as expected.

If you need 30-40 min of ambient music, which is both calming yet lined with the sense that dormancy may beget something more worrisome, Maria’s Paradise is just that. I bet no other metal review site will cover this, as this has very little to do with metal or heaviness at all. Proud to have given it a listening ear though to test my own sophistication.

Killing Songs :
Alex quoted 73 / 100
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