Published Oct 10, 2018Jaakko Eino Kalevi comes to us in a tranquil sprawl on the cover art for Out of Touch. All is at peace, as Kalevi blends effortlessly into the sandy environment, just as much a natural fixture of the landscape as the tufts of beach grass that encircle him. In its shut-eyed pose, this image sets the tone for Out of Touch: a beautifully muted and interior album, whose hazy elegance reveals a wealth of atmospheric, if not readily immediate, pleasures.
The sonic palette of Kalevi's work has not expanded significantly since his debut, still trading heavily as he does in blurred-out vocals, lounge-y instrumentation, and glints of electro-pop synth. When these elements come together in equal force, as they do on album highlight "This World," the results are quietly dazzling, with Kalevi sketching rich shades of emotion using nothing but the pastel crayons from the box. These same hazy edges, however, reveal a tendency to bring tracks together into a kind of cloudy repetition, that, at times, gives Out of Touch a static uniformity.
Nonetheless, the imagistic detail with which Kalevi approaches his work makes even these moments on the record worth exploring. "Emotions in Motion" contains some of the more out-there lyrical material on the record, addressing someone who was "afraid of junkies and aliens" against a background of fuzzy saxophone and crisp drums. Elsewhere, "People In the Centre of the City" breaks off from flitting synths to describe in dramatic detail two people riding escalators, whose "eyes connect… and so do the escalators." These wonderfully surreal lyrical moments bring the record an undeniable life force.
In its quiet drawl, Out of Touch is a perfect record for joining Kalevi on that beach: full of the foggy calm of letting the imagination run its own course. (Weird World)