We Are Phantom are a self proclaimed love story of electronic arts originating from Helsinki Finland. Their aesthetics are almost as impressive as their sound. We Are Phantom is the brain child from Hanna Toivonen, a highly acclaimed Jazz musician and poet, alongside the tech savvy future sailor Tommi Toivonen.
I haven’t been this captivated with a piece of music since I first listened to London Grammar “If You Wait”. The lyrics hit you with the force of a tonne of bricks. “Hungry, thirsty, horny, with such fear” The force of the poetic elegance is infused with a myriad of complexity and sound, it’s almost impossible to tear it apart as it’s so finely polished and crafted and that’s just the music.
The effort that they put into their visual production is unprecedented. We Are Phantom are a full package of constructed cinematic dark experimental glitch pop, mixed with jazz influenced trip hop with a pinch of electronica and possibly the most fundamental element to this eclectic mix, their haunted past and future lives. Who says electronic music can’t have soul?
Hanna and Tommi first landed side by side in We Are Phantom in 2012, since then, they’ve been unstoppable, dubbed as the “Finnish Portishead” by BBC 6, being compared to the pioneers of Trip Hop, may not be enough to celebrate the magic that the dynamic pair have created.
When you hear that a band has created a new sound, it’s usually just media trajectory, however Tommi Toivonen has the ability to create a sound that doesn’t sound like it’s from this millennia. By his own fair hands, he enhanced the surrealism of the sonic experience the duo have to offer by building what he calls The UFO. Constructed with “multi dimensional” technology the ultrasonic frequency oscillator enhances their live performances, as well as the sound in their studio which would rival the electronics in a NASA space station.
Their polished sound has been falsely and ignorantly labelled as eerie, twisted, and creepy yet it’s a sound any fan of dark wave electronica, gothic or EBM can enjoy, there’s so many layers, so many build ups and breakdowns, each track on their iconic album MMXII is an emotional roller coaster, in which Hanna projects all of her pensive melancholy. It’s so personal, it’s almost sensual, her lyrics are an open invitation into her haunted soul in a way which only singers such as Kate Bush, Traci Chapman, and Bjork.
They offer thorough entrancement through their sound that makes you wish that you’d first heard the track in a nightclub, combined with you wanting to reach for the tissues. Their album MMXII which was released in February 2017 is a balance of love, loss and pain by two visionaries that embrace technology, literature and nature and infuse it into their music. Their bold vulnerability, is what makes this album as it reminds us of the fragility of being alive.