Laura Naukkarinen – aka Lau Nau – is a Finnish singer songwriter and composer based in Kimito, Finland, 160km west of Helsinki. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, devoted sound designer and record collector, Lau Nau seamlessly blends elements of Finnish folk with modern classical, ambient and experimental music using both acoustic and electronic instruments in the creative process.
A prolific recording artist, Lau Nau has appeared on dozens of improvisation, experimental and electronic releases in the last 15 years with various bands and ensembles. She has also scored extensively for silent films, feature films, theatre and sound installations. Released on Fonal Records (Finland) and Beacon Sound (Portland, OR) on 17 November 2017 last, Poseidon is Laura Naukkarinen’s fifth album as Lau Nau.
The six songs and five instrumentals – all piano-based – on Poseidon are performed with the support of a small ensemble of long-time collaborators including Helena Espvall on cello, Swedish composer Matti Bye on piano and keyboards, Samuli Kosminen on harmonium, percussion, guitar and kalimba, Pekko Käppi on the jouhikko (a traditional three-stringed Finnish bowed lyre) and Antti Tolvi on alto clarinet.
No one can see us except owls and moths
For the rest this play is just a dream.
Poseidon greets us, veils us in fog
Blindfolded we’ll search on for the loveliest spot.
Singing in her native Finnish, Laura Naukkarinen conjures a chimerical and impermanent world set in idyllic snow-covered, windswept and wooded landscapes inhabited by forest spirits, birds and insects. Concerned with a constant search for a hide-away, a home or a shelter, Lau Nau’s songs alternate between the whimsical and the ordinary, “by turns ghostly and earthy”.
Hand-crafted, arranged for slow-paced ballads, lullabies and waltzes and deliberately recorded without the use of a metronome to preserve a natural rhythm, Poseidon constantly treads “the fleeting borderline between contemporary classical and experimental music” with its ethereal blend of electronic textures and acoustic instrumentation. The combination of chiming sounds – the Celesta with its glockenspiel vibe – strings (cello and bowed lyre) and voice fashion an idiosyncratic floating soundscape both rooted in Nordic lore and avant-garde aesthetics.
Mastered by ambient composer and producer Rafael Anton Irisarri, Poseidon is a fantastic introduction to Laura Naukkarinen’s artistic and sonic sensibility. Since then, Lau Nau composed the original score for Gerard Mannix Flynn’s Irish documentary Land Without God (2019) as well as an instrumental soundtrack for Lotta Petronella’s film Själö – Island of Souls (2020) released on Fonal Records. On 3 July 2020 last, Beacon Sound released a limited edition of Live in Röykkälä as a cassette tape. The stripped-down live concert was captured near the singer’s home place in Southern Finland with Laura Naukkarinen on vocals, guitar and keyboards.
Finally, Lau Nau and Swedish composer Matti Bye can be heard on their latest collaborative effort Signals (Time Released Sound – 2 October 2020), a series of ambient improvisations for acoustic piano and live electronic treatments.