This Empty Flow: The Album
This Empty Flow - The Album - [Eibon Records]


Minimalist design has a way of capturing and stimulating our minds just as much as bombastic design does, and with “The Album” the first thing which caught me was the design of the double CD by the disbanded This Empty Flow.

This Empty Flow was formed in 1994 by two members from a funeral doom band called Thergothon; Jori Sjöroos (vocals, guitar and programming) and Niko Sirkiä (keyboards, lyrics), the two were later joined by Aku-Tuomas Mattila (bass) from the goth-electro band Sad Parade.
The three released a 1996 debut album called “Magenta Skycode” but from there on it only went downhill; the recordings for the second album were never finished, Niko left the band to pursue his own music in other projects and the other members decided to continue making music under other names not so long afterwards.
Two highly appreciated out-take albums called “Three Empty Boys” and “Useless and empty songs” were released in 1999 and 2000 and a compilation of rare and unreleased material, titled “Nowafter” followed in 2001.
“The Album”, being a double album and the subject of this review, includes a remastered version of “Magenta Skycode” (simply titled “I”) and a second album (titled as you might have guessed- “II”, or “Magenta lost”) is a collection of eleven previously unreleased tracks recorded on a Fostex 4-tracker between 1994 and 1996. This is a chance to get into this group’s music and perhaps even go into each member’s other projects/bands (and trust me, there are many…)

The three, with the help of producer Jukka Sillanpää create what can roughly be categorized as Dark pop-rock, something like a doom band’s attempt at post-rock or space-rock filled with enriching electronic effects.
Those of you who don’t know “Magenta Skycode” will find themselves going from one bleak emotion to another in the cold melancholic world TEF create; each on of the eight tracks is a presentation of different elements and vibes the group manages to convey.
A couple of things did bother me about it- first, the overused echo and reverb on the vocals and second is that sometimes TEP have a tendency to repeat and stretch parts up to the point it becomes weary. This is a classic album in some aspects, and I must say that it and actually sounds timeless.

The second album out of this double CD is, as I mentioned before, a compilation of previously unreleased tracks – meaning we are given a taste of what could have been.
From the very first track, “Serpents”, it is evident that this material is looser and more dynamic even though the sound isn’t perfect.
“Highest of the angels” is more reminiscent of Goth-rock, though suffers much more from the unbalanced sound, but the follower – “The 14th” – is the needed new breeze; acoustic guitars and light tribal drum pattern present a different side of this band’s spectrum.

TEF even took their shot at disco, in a demo version of “(but i am) still”, the dark kind of disco that is… the kind you would have found in a smoky club, filled with badly dressed people who dance even worse, back in the 80’s. I find it hard to understand why they did this version of the song for this side of the 80’s is probably the one people would rather forget.

Have no worries, TEF get back on the road with the next one, “Untitled”; this time it’s the repetitive multi-effected guitar melody that caught me. There is actually another “Untitled” track on this album (the 9th track), and it is utterly different; it starts with distortion and keyboard effects being played with until about half-way through, and from there on it sounds like the band has taken some opium. Things get echoed, slower, misty and vague.
Since this is a compilation, there is yet another couple of similar songs – version 0.1 an version 0.2 of “Distress” (a track that also appears in “Magenta Skycode”); the latter being an upbeat one with more drums and lead guitar presence and the former being more atmospheric & ambient, both are just as melancholic as the version in the “Magenta Skycode” album, each in its own way.

By the time you get to “See Nothing” it seems almost like a typical song for these guys, perhaps one that makes you wonder why they didn’t continue to release another album.
Perhaps it is “Nevermore” that offers some explanation, with its 80’s synthpop-ish vibe; meaning that it is quite evident these guys had their musical differences, different directions each member though to take the band to.

To close this compilation, this double album, and the story of This Empty Flow they chose a semi instrumental– with the very fitting title “The circle did close indeed” – perhaps as a calm way to end their story as a band… maybe symbolic to the fact that they are involved in each other’s project to this very day.

Ofer Vayner

Share |
blog comments powered by Disqus