If Yelena Eckemoff were a visual artist and this music were to be depicted upon an appropriate canvas, that [canvas] would most certainly have been an enormously long mural. It’s also worth noting that Miss Eckemoff is, indeed, a visual artist and her impressionistic works generously endow this production; however, strictly speaking about her musical creations now, she seems to always conceive of things on a rather epic scale. The definite article in the title, Adventures of the Wildflower suggests that she has taken her naturalist’s microscope to one said wonder of nature in the garden of her mind [and very possibly one where she resides too]. Starting there this work germinates into a whole universe of nature and that too, in all its wondrous spirituality.
Yelena Eckemoff and her Finnish band[/caption]Of all the composers that dot the contemporary map, Miss Eckemoff appears to have a particular genius for extrapolating on an idea with almost childlike wonder. The result is music which is guileless and beautiful. She told similar stories – about nature that is – with Blooming Tall Phlox , In the Shadow of a Cloud , Desert  and Nocturnal Animals . And now, with these two discs, Miss Eckemoff bids us follow her into the country garden of her mind where we make friends with a wildflower as its life unfolds in a drama of earthy, visceral passion. Along the way, we also make a dog and a mouse, chickens, skittish butterflies and hummingbirds, and gamboling children – all of whom come alive according to their nature. It is a cycle of life, described in music, which treats the whole process with due reverence to a Divine creator, who we – predictably – cannot see, but are always conscious of because of reverential tone-textures pervade this eloquent, multi layered music.
You hear this almost immediately in the ethereal beauty of the Theremin played by Jarmo Saari, which heralds the start of the cycle of life in the very first song on disc one – “In the Ground”. Miss Eckemoff then leads the rest of the ensemble with the elegance of her piano playing, for which she is renowned, and we are subsumed by the musical topography of a natural landscape that mixes beauty with danger, reverberations evocative of birds and animals, and children, as we drink in the heady sounds of the elements that come alive in nature that broadens from a humble back-garden to one that evokes the whole of planet earth – if not even Eden and Elysium. Both discs feature beautifully crafted arrangements of beguiling variety and sensuousness, in every lovingly-caressed phrase of Adventures of the Wildflower.
Miss Eckemoff has, over the years of her career, also shown herself to be extremely astute at picking the musicians to embark with her on various projects. This two-disc set is no exception. Mr Saari – who is introduced to us on Theremin, also plays an assortment of guitars and glass harp. One is tempted to go so far as to suggest that his inclusion – together with that of Panu Savolainen, who joins in on vibraphone [and, of course, Miss Eckemoff, herself] – are probably pivotal in shaping the overall sound of this music. This is especially evident in their performances with which they seductively bend and shapes the notes of some of this music – particularly “In the Ground”. However, saxophonist Jukka Perko pays his way handsomely throughout – note how he sculpts the long inventions of “Rain” and “Hummingbirds”. Meanwhile Antti Lötjönen’s contrabass and Olavi Louhivouri’s percussion colouring bring the earthy rumbling of nature to life.
Whether evocative of the rustle off spring, the steamy hiss of summer, long rainy days and the elemental and visceral vortices of nature in all its glory, each track takes us into a plethora of some wild situations and places – full of darkness and light – with trusted and inspiring musical friends.
Track list – Disc One – 1: In the Ground; 2: Germination; 3: Weeding the Garden; 4: Dog Chasing a Mouse; 5: Rain; 6: Home by the Fence; 7: Chickens; 8: Drought; 9: Thundershower. Disc Two – 1: Winter Slumber; 2: Waking Up in the Spring; 3: Buds and Flowers; 4: Butterflies; 5: Hummingbirds; 6: Chickens Playing with Seed Pods; 7: Dying; 8: Another Winter; 9: Baby Columbines.
Personnel – Yelena Eckemoff: piano and compositions; Jarmo Saari: guitars, Theremin and glass harp; Jukka Perko: soprano and tenor saxophones; Panu Savolainen: vibraphone; Antti Lötjönen: contrabass; Olavi Louhiuori: drums and percussion.
Released – 2021
Label – L & H Production [CD 806151-31]
Runtime – Disc One 1:00:38 Disc Two 1:01:26