Paavo‘s jaw-dropping, life-lesson-infused milestone work has seen the light of day, at long last.
Finnish musician Paavo Siljamäki has just conquered a great summit: he’s gone on to release his first ever solo album under his resurrected alias P.O.S. His project is called Deeper Tales and, like all things Paavo, it truly is a delicate piece of music.
The culmination of a personal journey, this album sees Paavo reconnect with club culture and rediscover himself, after a bumpy ride through life for the past five years. Following a musician burnout and health struggles, the member of the legendary British dance institution Above & Beyond wondered if the end of his career was near, for he had lost motivation to make music:
Basically, I had a burnout. I just couldn’t see what I wanted to do. And after my burnout, I was like: what is dance music to me? I don’t really know even if I like it. I’ve heard — I’ve written — too many build-ups! So I thought: that’s me done.-Paavo Siljamäki
In that uneasy, dimmed state, Siljamäki turned to the one thing that would often heal him, and offer answers and inspiration: Nature. And, sure enough, the answers were there — and the gust of fresh wind too. Particularly, he connected with living as far from the shore as possible, and enjoying the nomad life over bodies of water, where his connection with Nature could only grow stronger.
“There’s no feeling of freedom like being at sea“, Paavo says. “When I’m sailing, I synchronize with the sunrise and sunset — we almost always get up at sunrise. So this is like being really aligned with nature. I found that, after my burnout, and Covid, I really found myself in nature. There’s something about being closer with nature that is really healing — and very inspiring.“
That, plus the feelings evoked by looking back on his first years as a clubgoer, truly acted as fuel for him. After testing a couple of new tracks on the road, Paavo began to feel joy again when stepping behind the decks, and, most importantly, deeply connecting with those in the crowd who had gone to see him, just like he used to do when he was a part of the Finnish and British crowds back in the day.
The album, as already discussed, is not only a compilation of Paavo’s most recent works but also tells a tale, a tale of healing, growth, and knowledge, and puts into musical language how it feels like to fall back in love with your passion. The tracks used in the album and the order in which they line up, all help to paint a picture of that journey.
I can only imagine the first song as the first spark of life and joy, the first sign of him being back, reuniting with his younger self, and finding a purpose in being the artist playing the music rather than only being a listener. From then on, the road of the LP is, to me, the chronological feeling of the months succeeding said sparkling moment. And that, I love. I find myself listening to all songs one after another and enjoying them in quite a different way than when I do so in sets or just the lone tracks. They hit differently when they come together.
From the 80s sound of ‘Is It OK?‘, to the euphoria of ‘Good People‘ alongside anamē, Ercola and Richard Walters, and the goosebump-inducing vibe of ‘Coming Home‘ and ‘Polar Bears‘ with Spencer Brown, this album has a song for every taste. With a base of melody and beautiful chords, yet seasoned with a generous amount of groove, two tablespoons of the best piano skills a trained musician like Paavo has to offer, and just a pinch of — very welcome — acid leads, Deeper Tales is one of those works which are sure to stand the test of time.
I could write about every song on the album, but I’m going to narrow it down to two: ‘Polar Bears‘, a song that feels really innocent and happy to me, and is capable of lifting me up in the darkest of times, and ‘Coming Home‘, another song with the exact same effect on me, but with the use of a much more prominent, in-your-face lead singing the melody. Also, the latter has vocals that remind me of the chorus in The Communards‘ hit ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way‘, one of my favourite songs from when I was 6 years old, and one of my first favourite songs ever. Lots of memories come to my head from that song, and having heard that resemblance kind of feels like that Ratatouille meme.
Some lucky good people who bought tickets to his Deeper Tales North America Tour — now over — could listen to these songs on the road before anybody else, plus more IDs not included in the album, and a groundbreaking remix of Queen‘s ‘Who Wants To Live Forever‘. Paavo released a promo set ahead of the tour, listen to it by referring to this article.
I’ve been following Paavo for a while now, and I can testify, this album is 100% his sound. His raw, naked, unfiltered sound. If he wants an emotional melody he plays it; if he seeks a darker groove he adds it; if he’s feeling happy and thankful, you’ll feel it in the song.
And perhaps the best thing about the album is, since he’s basically going all in with the production and not sticking to any tags, contrasts are very welcome! We in the industry are quite used to following one line and one line only per composition: if a song is dark, it’s dark; if a song has an emotional aura, that’s it. Yet in Deeper Tales, we see that pattern completely ignored, and for an amazing result that is! Think of it as an exquisite maridaje, a professionally chosen pairing of red wine and cured meat and cheese.
Thank you Paavo for this shining piece of your answer-seeking soul. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Have a listen to P.O.S’ excellent album by clicking below for your daily dose of Spotify listening. Alternatively, head here to hear the continuous mix over on YouTube, or click here to support the album any other way you’d like.