A brief history of Jääportit
Evolved since 1997.
1997 • Thru the cold forest
My name is T. M. Mäkelä and I started this music project sometime in autumn of 1997 and it’s still going on.
The original intention was to create dark, yet tranquil, peaceful and harmonic music, because at the time I also did various types of metal and industrial music using a computer and Jääportit was supposed to be a project opposite to the other heavier stuff. During all of these years of existence all of those other music styles and sounds have kinda merged into the one sound of Jääportit, growing it to many new levels, but always maintaining the frosty atmosphere.
In 1998 after I had finished 7 tracks I decided to release an EP, or demo album, and called it “Halki lumisen metsän”.
I released as self-published CD-R with black and white printed covers, using pictures taken in the winter forest nearby.
After finishing bunch of CD-R’s I gave them for music distro called Noitavasara, to distribute it for other people interested in this kind of music. Later on they wanted to release my full album.
1999 • Kauan koskematon
Gates open and man touches for the first time something that has been untouched for a long time..
Creating Kauan koskematon took time from the start of winter 1998 to spring of 1999. I sampled sounds from my father’s old synthesizer, and from my friend’s parents piano, and used those quite primitive sounds to create base for the overall sound of the compositions of freezing winter melancholy inspired by artists like Mortiis, Arcana and Dead Can Dance, just to name few.
Finnish artist Aslak Tolonen painted album cover artwork and calls it “Tyhjä portti” which means “Empty gate” in English. It’s just the perfect cover for my album. He really has read some thoughts of my mind and heard the untold story there is. He also created the iconic Jääportit logo design that I stil use today.
Album was released by Noitavasara label on cassette-tape as a limited edition of 500 copies. All of them were sold out quickly.
Musically as I’ve already said Jääportit creates very dreamy, mysterious, harmonious, beautiful, soothing, ambient/neo classical like compositions. Even though everything is synthesized, Tuomas has a keen ability to create very elaborate pieces of music on Kauan koskematon. Each piece has the ability to take your mind to its own little world and tells you a story along the way.– JJM, Lunar Hypnosis
This release also features some stunning artwork done by Aslak Tolonen from the Finnish band Nest. The artwork depicts a shadowy traveler walking through the snow during a cold Finnish winter, under a dark gloomy sky, and the bright moon shining down on them. The music and the artwork go perfectly together, and as previously stated the music can take you into this dark icy landscape and you can become that traveler as you listen.”
2004 • Uumenissa
I have always made experiments with the sounds, find different ways and develop his approach to the creation of music. My second full-length album “Uumenissa” (Firebox Records, 2004) contained dreamful frostbitten ambient music, painted with soothing electronic synthwaves, atmospheric and cosmic sounds.
First four tracks of Uumenissa was supposed to be work of it’s own, but then I continued making more tracks to build a full album. It took five years to finish up everything, because I started to learn how to use new audio equipment and software in the process. I wanted to use more electronic ambient sounds played with synthesizer to evoke more dreaming like states.
The tales on the album are certain obscure patterns in the mirror of life, formations under the surface, glances from the aquarium, motions in the quicksand, the chaos of the existential state and the rhythm of purification in the deep blue yonder of spatial echo.
Some tracks were played off-tempo for a more relaxed feeling. Though the last track includes rhythmic beat and in a way leads to forthcoming material that would use rhythmic drums more and more, when I kept learning more possibilities of modern composition.
On Uumenissa you will find many different sounds interwoven, reminding me of artists like Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dreams and Patrick O’Hearn. All wrapped into a cold, very dark and mystical atmosphere, making me feel that the best place on earth is now the North Pole, sitting down there, deeply hooded and watching the wafting Northern lights.
Uumenissa is the perfect background music when the upcoming autumn nights are cold and you can smell its mysteries, where the shadows open the gates into astral worlds. It even opens the dark side to your soul, giving you the peace you might have been looking for and calming you down. Everything around becomes unimportant.
Uumenissa is like helping you to find the way to yourself. You can hardly wrap your feelings into words while listening to this hauntingly beautiful and mesmerizing music. Outstanding album!”– Dajana, Nocturnal Hall Magazine
2005 • Sydänyön samooja syvällä unten mailla ja metsien soilla
Participation to compilation album “Sonic Visions of Middle-earth” (Foreshadow) contained 15 minutes long Jääportit song called as “Sydänyön samooja syvällä unten mailla ja metsien soilla” that was drawing inspiration from J.R.R.Tolkien’s stories.
Session musician J-M Kenttälä played the acoustic guitar for this special track.
“Then comes the mighty Jääportit from Suomi to break barriers with their unique sound. The combination of medieval tunes and ambient in this song is fantastic. One could expect nothing less than that, since this is a great ambient act with a wise songmaking and use of resources. The title of the song is hard to decipher if you’re not Finnish -just like the music, varied in its strong structure. Galactic landscapes like an astral sleep taking off Fangorn. Jääportit beat every challenger in the dark wave ambient scene and demonstrates again it’s a band away from the rest. The best song in this album, as you may think.”– Fjordi, Tartarean Desire Webzine
2006 • Avarrus
The 3rd full-length Jääportit album “Avarrus” was released by Epidemie Records in 2006. Album contained more detailed and sophisticated sounds, experiments with more rhythmic elements, electronic beats and percussion, than the earlier releases.
Avarrus starts with sounds of an elevator ride that lasts very long and I imagined it as a journey downwards beneath the imaginary castle. The albums story was carried along and afar by sound stream recorded from a live environment.
Times were filled with change otherwise too. In real life I started studies at school of art and media in the city of Tampere, where I got to experiment with making music and learned about sound design. So it’s also a kind of soundtrack for leaving one place behind and moving to a new one.
Avarrus has 5 tracks consisting of quite organic sounding ambient with long-stretched drones and the usage of acoustic instruments such as a (manipulated) guitar, sound bowls and piano. Furthermore you’ll hear cold sounding synths and warm sounding flutes.
With at times a very nice build-up in tension, with rhythms that set in, and make it resemble filmmusic and ambient-triphop from the ’90s. The atmosphere on Avarrus is dreamlike. Somehow this reminds of the later albums of Ulver, but of Boards of Canada as well. Curious? Check for yourself as Jääportit surely deserves the attention.”Written by TekNoir, Gothtronic
2007 • Gnosis
Jääportit took part on compilation album “My Own Wolf: A New Approach to Ulver” (Aspherical Asphyxia, 2007) and created personal version of Ulver’s song “Gnosis”. This time Vesa Partti was asked to play electric guitar and Mindy to sing the vocals.
“Jääportit morphs Gnosis into an 11-minute monster of menacing atmospheres, rolling beats, and female vocals; it’s much, much stronger than the original.”– Invisible Oranges
2009 • Voimasuo
The 4th full-length album titled as “Voimasuo” was released by Epidemie Records as CD Digipak on the 12th of May, 2009.
This wide-ranging album introduced another metamorphosis of Jääportit as combination of ambient electronica with the touch of frosty post-rock flavours. Music was created at Kajekammio, Finland during 2006 to 2009.
I started to work with Voimasuo in 2006 and during that time I was also composing music for short films as school projects. It required a lot of work to compose music for film in the way the director wanted to and was best for the story. Besides doing that I had the urge to keep creating music freely on my own. Sound-wise I wanted to make louder music than before, use more distorted sounds and drums more than before to create a bigger sounding band. It took me to these post-and progressive rock ambient directions – and places that I am still exploring in many ways. It is both; playing instruments by myself mostly using keyboards and electronically created. For a few tracks violin was played by Mindy from the notes I composed and conducted.
Epidemie released it as CD Digipak in 2009 and the album got good feedback from many places. Track Suon sulaessa was played on national Finnish radio on the show for new music.
There are only a handful of artists who can produce meticulous and intelligently crafted ambience. We all know what the likes of Brian Eno, Peter Christopherson and Brian Williams are capable of, but few are aware of Finland’s Jääportit.
Voimasuo is testament to the second-to-none material that Jääportit produces, with artwork by violinist Mindy completing the concept as a soundscape for Finland’s eerie ice-coated climate. Opener ‘Tuulten Tuoja’ is like hurtling into a psychedelic abyss of prog-rock ecstasy.
The intensity of the music is inexplicable and wholly overwhelming, with an Ozric Tentacles-style riff that will please progressive metal fans. Elsewhere ‘Hengenvaara’ is gentler and provides the album’s only lyrics, before ‘Sudenkuoppa’ and ‘Muuntuva Suoja’ bring it back to the celestial rock-ambience. A work so technologically adept it’s not of this time.”– Will Stone, Terrorizer
2010 • Kuihtuman henkivi
Compilation album YOGSOTHERY – Gate I: Chaosmogonic Rituals Of Fear, being the first in a trilogy of compilations dedicated to Mr. Harold Lovecraft, was released by I, Voidhanger Records in 2010. Album includes Jääportit with a long track called as “Kuihtuman henkivi“, which was originally made between years 2005 to 2007.
Kuihtuman henkivi lacks of beats and sounds quite different from all other material. It was made to stand out as individual release of horrid tribute to the famous writer.
“The opening band is Jääportit, whose contribution is titled ‘Kuihtuman henkivi‘. It is the former, a dark instrumental journey that captures the weird concept of cosmic horror by drowning the listener in an overwhelming drone, within which there are instrumental kernels that hint at the outsider, the cosmic, and deep-seeded terrors of things and concepts best left alone. At more than 25 minutes, ‘Kuihtuman Henkivi‘ is a masterpiece for fans of drone and blackened ambiance.”– Octavio Ramos / SANTA FE METAL MUSIC EXAMINER
2018 • Jääportit
Fifth full-length Jääportit album simply titled as “Jääportit” was released at 8th of February, 2018. In a way, it’s a journey back to the roots, but still bringing out new, using all the experience gained during the years.
I found more time and interest in creating new music for Jääportit in 2016. I got an Ltd electric guitar and started to play more of it and use it as the main instrument in the tracks, with clean sound and distortion to acquire heavier and more intense sounds. It’s easier to play when there is a beat and bass in the background. Therefore I use digital drum tracks and bass, that I play or program, on the backbone of the music. Then I played guitar, keyboards and synthesizers to create sounds and melodies for the music. Here and there you can hear me singing through the synthesizer’s vocoder effects.
In 2017 I decided I wanted to release an album and contacted Epidemie and asked if he would like to release my album as a CD. I was pleased to hear that they answered positively. I also created cover artwork all by myself this time. Then in 2018 the album was finally released.
When it comes to ambient music, I can take it or leave it. If it has the power to drag me in without being distracting, great; if not, I won’t bother, and most of the time it falls into the latter category.
This album is an exception – Jääportit is the prime example of what ambient music should sound like (in my very humble opinion). Yes, it’s slow and it’s repetitive, but if you listen closely there’s a great deal of nuance that makes the record into the masterpiece that it is.
The fusion of melancholy guitars with subtle electronic sounds will sweep you away to a frozen Nordic landscape. As a fan of electronica myself, I’m blown away by Jääportit’s use of it; not once was I thrown off thinking, “Hmm, that sounds weird.” The record has been perfectly and masterfully composed; every synth, every effect, every filter is included with intent.”– Kayla, Metalsucks.net
And the story goes on..
More music is being made for Jääportit and will be released in the future.
When there is things worth mentioning I will post about it on news page.
Meanwhile you can listen to full discography in way you like the most.
It is available on most platforms. Check out links below.