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Mika Vainio - Sokeiden Maassa Yksisilmainen On Kuningas

Mika Vainio

Sokeiden Maassa Yksisilmainen On Kuningas

Touch

Released: 3rd March 2003 | 9 track minimal/glitch album
This is Mika Vainio's 3rd solo cd for Touch, after KAJO [TO:43, 2000] and ONKO [TO:34, 1997]. Best known as one-half of Pan Sonic [Blast First], Mika is from Finland and now lives in Berlin. What they said about KAJO: Outburn [USA]: PAN SONIC AMBIENCE OF ELECTRONICS SIDE PROJECT: Mika Vainio is one half of jostled electronic technicians, Pan Sonic. With kajo, he stretches the boundaries of what Pan Sonic create by allowing the electronics room to breathe. For example, though a track like 'Osittain' contains many electronic variables, shifting between lightly crackling loops tinged with pulsing nuances, the presentation is less jittery, more fluid, than most of Pan Sonic's work. 'Leslie' loops warm electric oscillations that slither into the crevices of the mind, the illusion of blood flow rather soothing. 'Lehetys' opens with what sounds like garbles static from amplified light bulbs, before a duo of smooth blips dodge a third, more subtly intrusive tone, one that seems covered in fur. Indiscriminate electronics gather as one to form a streamlined hum during 'Waveform'. The hums are caressed by tones of unease that press outward from within the speakers, never quite breaking through. After a brief pause, tones like splinters of edgeless plastic try to puncture the inside of my ears. As highlighted by all of the sounds here (between abrupt injections of electronic discharges), Mika's journey through the labyrinthine, subtly electric, circuitry alleys and byways, is nothing less than compelling. [JC Smith] Muze [USA]: As Pan Sonic's more introspective half, Mika Vainio is given to austere solo meditations on the sonic space in which machine and man meet. Vainio hears something sublime in the rafter-rattling hum of industrial engines and electrical wiring. He wants us to hear it, too. With his third set of industrial hymns, Vainio divines the deus in the machinery. KAJO humanizes the cold acoustics of an abandoned power plant, giving sound an expressive female face ('Leslie'), a warm heart ('Third Area'), and anthropomorphic attributes (the wearied ambience of 'In Sleep' and 'Returning'). Vainio eavesdrops on the slumberous thoughts of electromagnetic coils, conductors, and miles of snaking conduit ('Connection', 'Transmission'), sympathetic to their restlessness in disuse. As a picture emerges of KAJO s utility works as a living and feeling body, Vainio s stark presentation imbues the impression with a certain note of sadness. He recognizes a wounded soul within the concrete and metal and offers the electronic elegy of 'Waveform' as solace. What they said about ONKO: Alternative Press [USA]: After giving the electronica movement a kick in the ass with Panasonic's harsh, minimal techno, Mika Vainio has now set his sights on more abstract forms of music with his latest solo album, Onko. Vainio dispenses with the repetitive beats and pulses of Panasonic and allows this music to breathe and expand... The Wire (UK): 'Static and rumblings from the heaving netherworld of electronic sound experimentation... Onko is Panasonic man Mika Vainio's first release under his own name - his solo material has until now come under the Techno minimilia guise of Ø. The album marks a new departure for this mysterious musician, who now turns away from the vestigial dancefloor patterns that haunt most of his projects. The nearest parallel to this picks up from where the Ø contributions to Rastermusic's Mikro Makro album were heading, embarking on longish episodic pieces. At the centre of this album is a loosely structured 36 minute work which passes through many phases, ranging from crackle and static to tape-recorded atmospheric sound. While spareness remains the byword - parts of the piece are near-silent - there is a definite attention to wider sound sources than hitherto. The stark warmth previously favoured gives way to an unsettling succession of darkly themed noises. A strong flavour of indeterminacy develops as the listener is drawn into sounds that waver and change shape before disappearing again into silence. In the end, however, the focus of the shorter pieces wins out, with Vainio racking up the tension through sheer concentration. Like watching grass grow while a battery of demonic lawnmowers hover in the background, ready for the kill.' [Will Montgomery] Village Voice (USA): 'Techno with the snare turned off is nice to decompress to, but it's not ambient music, whose object is to play with a sound environment to change the texture of it, as careful lighting would. So the best recent atmosphere-altering recordings have moved toward sounds that can't be confused with electroglop. That's the beauty of Mika Vainio's Onko (Touch). No matter how loud you turn it up, it won't take centre stage - it just makes its surroundings seem starker and sharper. Vainio (also of the more rhythm-friendly Panasonic) eschews frills like beats and notes in favor of sounds that can pass for background noise: tape hiss, appliance hum, seashell roar. His constructions are tart, ascetic and razor clean. When the title track mutates into a random series of ultra-high pitched ticks, you can practically hear your neural connections being severed.....'