Ajukaja & Ats’ ‘improv-not-improv’ groove

I first got a nod to Tallinn label Porridge Bullet through Estonian avant-pop maverick Mart Avi’s 2020 album Vega Never Sets, and it’s a go-to hub for leftfield electronics, art-rock, deep house, sonic collages and whatever else fits into their “weird shit” Bandcamp tagging system.  

Label co-founder Raul Saaremets, aka Ajukaja, is a bit of a local underground hero in Tallinn, through the punk scene and his years promoting shows and DJing. He has appeared on many Porridge Bullet releases, solo and on notable collaborations with Avi and Maria Minerva. 

He’s opening 2022 with another collaboration with Ats Luik, following their 2021 EP Signal. The album Maha is due next month, and the two lead tracks follow Signal’s line in off-grid, spacey, “loosely funked up improv-not-improv steam house”. ‘Estradin’ has a hypnotic Metro Area 5am disco groove, while ‘Rats’ feels like a more abstract sci-fi interlude, heavy on the stuttery handclaps, like Radiophonic Workshop with a Theo Parrish swing. 

Maha is out on February 10 — preorder on Bandcamp or try before you buy.