Aleksi Ranta

" The highlights are reserved for the utterly amazing Jouhikko, opening the score with the heavenly North Savania. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Aleksi Ranta is a Finnish musician (guitarist), sound designer, teacher and composer of music for bands, audiovisual and stage productions. In modern days, so many people who begin writing scores are usually already active in a variety of musical genres, and are sometimes difficult to pinpoint. His music to the 2019 documentary Luonnonlaki (The Law of Nature) marks his debut as composer of a score.

The documentary involves universal dilemma's within the agriculture (or any) industry, desperately trying to adapt to changes in today's consumer society. At the same time, it´s a small story of a man who owns a farm in Northern Savonia, Finland, who is on the verge to have his son succeed him. But does the son choose to run the family business, or go elsewhere to find a different future?

Its music evokes the expected rural landscape sound through guitars and a bowed string instrument (the Jouhikko), aided by an accordion and atmospheric synthesizers. Portions of the music fit the feeling of the everyday life of a farmer, with slow, stale melody for the accordion, guitar and electronic ambience. It may seem like uninteresting, dragging music on its own, but in documentaries like these, they become valuable assets and accentuate the pace of life.

The rare, relieving factor is found in the brief cue Stable Tango, displaying a joyful tango for accordion and guitar. It does not really resemble the fine Finnish Tango tradition, also often featured in the cinema of Aki Kaurismäki, but it's just a very attractive short piece.

The composer´ music offers more hopeful variations on the ´dragging´ music and distilled evocative moments that outgrow the rural cliches, much more universal and reflective, dramatic pieces of music. The highlights are reserved for the utterly amazing Jouhikko, opening the score with the heavenly North Savania. This bowed lyre is a very evocative, Finnish traditional instrument, in sound quite similar to the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle (used in Johan Söderqvist - Kongen av Bastøy). I think fellow composer Tuomas Kantelinen has also used it at least once in his career. It carries an encompassing sound and emotion that echoes the universal themes of the documentary, while adding a sense of flair by the unique sound and quality of the instrument.

It is said that the composer's audiovisual and stage productions focus on minimalist and emotive soundscapes, and if any of that even remotely resembles the work on this score, I would be hugely interested to see, hear and experience them. Aleksi Ranta has written a wonderful score that I hope will result into more scoring tasks in the nearby future. The music was released digitally by Nordic Audio & Music Productions.

1. North Savonia 2:08
2. Cowboys of Kiuruvesi 1:13
3. Farming 1:56
4. The March of Narva 2:08
5. Stable Tango 1:15
6. Burn-Clearing 1:52
7. The Law of Nature 1:19
8. Remoteness 0:46
9. The Portrait 1:26
10. Colour Red 1:05
11. Mother's Tale 3:52
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 2 votes - average 4/5)

Released by

Nordic Audio & Music Productions (regular release 2019)
Jouhikko by Ilkka Heinonen  Accordion by Niko Kumpuvaara  Guitars by Aleksi Ranta  Synthesizers by Petri Rahikkala