Äänipää Through a Pre-Memory

Äänipää Through a Pre-Memory
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Earlier this year it was announced that legendary Finnish electronic duo Pan Sonic would be releasing a new LP, their first since 2010's Gravitoni. This would have been a clarion call to fans of obtuse electronic music everywhere had the individual members been resting on their laurels.

Mika Vainio, the more prolific of the two, has certainly been busy, pumping out quality solo product and collaborating with a number of other artists in the avant-garde. Äänipää, which finds Vainio teamed up with drone-metal disciple Stephen O'Malley, pits machine-like beats, exposed live wires, and unruly squelch against thick slabs of slow-motion guitar riffage and ear-rattling feedback.

Over four extended evil hymns, the two deft swordsmen — augmented by Khanate's Alan Dubin and a string section led by Eyvind Kang — parry and thrust their way toward a sonic stalemate, neither one ever overtaking the other. A synergistic effect is created by this unholy marriage with the listener winning out in the end, as it should be. (Editions Mego)