Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. Timo Lassy and Teppo Mäkynen are two of Finnish jazz’s more vital players and their self-titled collaborative album – the latest release from We Jazz records – is the subject of today’s Vinyl Corner feature.
Timo Lassy and Teppo Mäkynen first released music together on a funky 7″ single back in 2017. The title proved a cult hit and they’re now back with a full length album that sees the duo deliver a set of experimental, engaging and stripped-back compositions for Finland’s excellent We Jazz records. Lassy is well known for his work both as a bandleader and a band member. Here his saxophone stands as the sole melodic instrument, with Mäkynen’s fantastic drum work providing a technical yet energetic rhythmic backing to this set of immediate, punchy compositions. Influences from the world of electronica abstractions can be heard here but they’re rendered in more organic, earthy fashion here, resulting in a tightly-composed yet vigorous set of jazz pieces.
We’ve always been impressed by We Jazz’s vinyl pressings and this particular slab of wax is no exception. Coloured vinyl enthusiasts should note that a clear edition can be purchased directly from the label, but the version we’re looking at is the standard black pressing. Far too many modern records suffer from issues of warpage and surface scuffing from new, so we’re pleased to report that this release avoids both. The record is roughly mid-weight (around 140 grams by our best guestimate) and it sits flat and centred upon the platter, with clean surfaces hinting at the sound quality within. Dropping the stylus reveals a suitably clean pressing – the noise floor is notably low and even the run-ins are impressively clean, with next to no surface noise at all. Throughout the course of the album we heard very little in the way of imperfections, which allowed us to fully appreciate the excellent fidelity and clarity of this vinyl pressing. Jazz, of course, has always been an audiophile genre, so the great sound quality on this release is a must. The spindle hole was a little tight on our copy but this is no problem at all, as it takes only a moment to carefully widen the hole with a small pair of scissors.
We Jazz releases have always had a certain unity in their presentation – if not in the visual content itself, then at least in the slickly minimalist art direction. Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen is no different; the artwork evokes S. Neil Fujita’s work for Colombia’s jazz department during the ’50s, while very much having a tone of its own. The non-gatefold sleeve is hewn from a lovely rough cardstock that adds a pleasingly textural element to the presentation and print quality is excellent, both in regards to colours and definition. The record is housed in a generic non-polylined inner sleeve, so we would advise caution when removing it as careless handling is likely to leave surface marks and possible noise upon playback. The barcode has been placed on a hype sticker rather than printed onto the cover itself, which is another considerate aspect of the presentation. A bandcamp download code is also included, which allows for retrieval of the album in practically any audio file you can name – which is of course only a good thing.
This is another great title from We Jazz. Timo Lassy and Teppo Mäkynen have created an exciting, fresh record in their self-titled debut as a duo and pressing quality is every bit as excellent as the presentation.
Enjoyed this feature? We’re always looking for further albums to highlight on Vinyl Corner – and if you have a vinyl release that you’d love to see written about here, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – it would be great to hear from you!