SUBSPACE RADIO ALBUM TRILOGY
i. UTOPIA (Subspace Radio, 2004)
ii. REALITY (Random Ticket, 2007)
iii. HOPE AND THE FUTURE (Aika, 2022)
Subspace Radio is:
Mikko Heino – Vocals
Max Malin – Drums and Percussion
Juha Mattila – Guitars and Guitar Synth
Teppo Nurminen – Keyboards, All Electronic Sounds, Programming
Mikko Johansson – Bass, Programming
+ Our very special guest star vocal talents are:
It was about time to get back together. Me and Teppo were perhaps initiating the first unofficial discussions. Then we pulled in Max as well. Mikko, with whom we had already started playing again after many years, was in fact the bass player in Starfish back in the 90´s, which was the band preceding Subspace Radio. Me and Max had began playing with Mikko as early as 1991, so him joining the renewed Mark III line-up of Subspace Radio was very natural and the good old bonding was there from the very first moments of the new beginning. Which then officially took place closer to the end of 2019. Just before the pandemic hit the world, making all other things difficult to do and put all other music projects aside for a while. Therefore, we decided to do this in full instead.
We jammed around one or two sessions already in the beginning of 2019. I was presenting the 3rd chapter theme idea I had developed, and some initial writing of song ideas, that became the starting points of writing both instrumental songs on the album (“Suite Subspace”, “Exit (Purola)” and “Last Call”. Mikko had an excellent idea about bass lines, structural chord progressions and some very good sounding electronic segments for a song that became “The day of the brightest colours”. Max had had a song idea haunting his mind for quite some time – and this one ended up being “The House” – a quite haunted song it became too, including also Mikko’s twisted and evil bass line idea for the C-part of the song. Teppo had many ideas also in his writing book, that turned out to be, first of all, the powerful orchestration the album begins with as part of the opening instrumental, as well as starting points for writing “Hope” and “Radio Silence”. “Everything” was the only song that was developed from start to finish together.
The rest is history – all songs were written and arranged completely together during 2020-2021 by us, and this time including also the magnificent singer trio who wanted to be a part of our story as well – Kimmo Blom, Annica Milán and Timo Heinonen. As we have always seen it – everyone’s contribution in writing, arranging and performing the songs is really a big deal. With that said – our own decision is always to have song credits even with everyone for each song participating in any way. Therefore, we do not make any other references here to who wrote what, as such is quite irrelevant in any case here.
Nearly 15 years has passed after the release of the second part of the trilogy. A lot has happened since. Both in music, our own musical development and in real life. Now the final chapter is about to come out. Telling the story ending as it is also in real life, as the entire story is based on true personal events of some people, including me. It was time to cut the strings to the past, see new light, make new direction real, make strong decisions and some tough ones too, but it does pay off in the end. There is hope and there is the future. The young naïve utopia of everlasting first love turned into deception, hatred, illness – and – separation. Breaking up anything there was. Morphing into something new. Sticking into the past, trying to make it work, does not always bring the best outcome. There is also time to leave, time to think, time to find oneself again, time to start again. There may be points of frustration, hopelessness, healing. But through healing, self-studying and making one´s principles, motives and own views clear, does help. And will help. This is where we are today. This is the last chapter of the journey. You bought the ticket to the train on a random journey. But at one point you knew where to get off the train, at the right station. Cross over the railroad, and continue your own direction, that may not be where that train was going, not even parallel, not to the opposite direction, but perpendicular.
Remaining in similar form to the two earlier album chapters of the story, AIKA (2022) is divided into 8 chapters, or songs. However, the chapters are in logical order, so the story is followed best – as well as the musical experience captured as we meant it to be – if you listen to it in order, from start to finish. There are sections that are somewhat intertwined to the story from another person´s view or the surrounding environment perhaps, but the story needs these pieces there too.
From album composition perspective, we laid out specific dogmas to follow, to ensure the outcome of the album will be exactly to the story. As we are talking about a theme album here, it is important that the pieces of the story are not loose or not understandable the way they are meant to be. Establishing these dogmas played a very important role in creating the album music, lyrics and vocal melodies. We felt it was also important to maintain constant change and development in the theme and not be repeating ourselves too much but evolve and take to other places when needed, to make the musical journey more interesting and long lasting for listening to over again. Subspace Radio is of course about being progressive in musical expression, but we love good melodies, lyrics and sometimes really pop and straight forward takes on things we write for our songs, and not forgetting some heavier expression we keep in our toolbox. Somewhat new things appearing on this new album are perhaps some hints to jazz, even soul, musical pieces, classical music… that many of us love, so it is perhaps quite as natural as hearing some metal riffs here and there occasionally.
The ten dogmas:
- The album is divided into 8 individual songs
- Each song is named first before writing any music
- Each song composition must reflect the feel and atmosphere of each story piece
- The first and the last song are instrumentals (this was for the first time for us making instrumentals)
- Each song must have different structure to any other song
- As most of guitar solo writing of earlier days included a lot of leaning on pentatonic scales, this time I made myself do something else instead
- All instruments (and vocals) must be distinguishable so that you can follow them. No super guitar walls allowed that would overtake anything else
- We wanted to have the story told by different persons and wanted to have both male and female vocals.
- Album length should be less than one hour
- The album spirit or atmosphere overall should be more empowering and positive than anything other
Something additionally important happened here as well – we developed to be more self-made than ever. We recorded all instruments ourselves, and Teppo has put together and mixed the entire album. Mikko designed the album cover and sleeve, our official website, and also created each of the promotional teaser videos of each album song on our YouTube channel as well as the new Subspace Radio logo. The vocals were recorded by Eero Kaukomies at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki. Album is mastered by Minerva Pappi of Waudio Mastering, Helsinki. There is some continuum here too, as Minerva mastered our previous two albums as well. The album will be released and distributed through a record label, and these news as well as news about the official release date and schedule, will follow early 2022. Album is planned to be release during Feb/March timeframe initially.
OK – now to the songs themselves, what are they made of and why? The below is also the synopsis of the album at the same time:
1. Suite Subspace
This is the instrumental introduction to the 3rd chapter beginning with a powerful orchestration setting the scene, followed by empowering major guitar chords – in opposite to the Random Ticket darker themes that were present throughout that album.
This is the preview of the album opener instrumental piece “Suite Subspace”. It happens to be composed to be a suite in its originally developed form – consisting of five dances. Well, these dances may be a bit different here, but nevertheless they make up this piece that also includes a recurring theme that is found elsewhere on the album.
2. Last Call
The narrator in this piece of the story is single again, frustrated and desperately seeking for new life companion. Making both good and bad choices. Going to over-crowded, loud, dull night clubs. Finally at one bar, at the counter, during the last call of the night, something happens that drives towards the hope and the future…
3. The day of the brightest colours
The young boy is always pictured in full colours. He also sees everything positive and in all bright colours. His grandparents don’t see him as they only see in black and white. This is based on the true story, somewhat parallel to the main theme, but strongly linked.
The opposite of “Nothing” (Random Ticket). Nothing described the deceiving and evil ex-spouse as a pile of s**t. Everything is the opposite – it is the new person who came in your in life, who represents you hope and the future.
5. The House
This song and storyline is strongly connected to “Look around” (Random Ticket). “Look around” described a dream of a cosy looking red house by the river, someone in a pick-up truck… Now we go into that house. That dream was real. It was the subconscious telling you to end the destructive relationship, and to do that fast. Uncovering the lies that were the façade. This is not a pleasant visit. You want to get out of there. Everyone can think in their own minds what the brown water means here.
6. Radio Silence
False hope in a situation where the world is at point of destruction. There was a sound coming from somewhere, as if someone was still alive, human. That reveals to be just a mechanical noise caused by two objects… but that was not human anymore. It was something else. This piece sets the scene for the final events of the story and does borrow elements from the classic movie “On the beach” from 1959.
This is the counterpart song of “Home” (from the self-titled first album). Things are never always easy in relationships, there are always challenges and possible pitfalls that you need to avoid, to be able to make it happen, to be true and listening to the other and not just run things around you only. But always carrying the hope with oneself regardless, there is also the future. Nothing is ever perfect, but everything can be excellent.
8. Exit (Purola)
Instrumental ending of the story. Tied to “Random Ticket”. Now you are just at a railroad crossing, listening to the railroad warning bells chime, rhythm looping on and on. This piece has three distinct parts. Between the parts you hear the person sitting in a car, the radio is on. At the end the passing train represents all things in life happening. You bought the random ticket for your journey that represents life. You move with the train but where the train goes, is random, as life is. You wait for the train to pass – then you are free to cross the road and move on.
And now, dear friends, I cannot wait to get to the day when you can listen to this yourselves. That day is coming!!
Helsinki, December 11, 2021
P.S. A brand-new story and theme is already cooking…