Following a long and prolific career, experimental-music groundbreaker Mika Vainio, best known as one half of Pan Sonic, has died. Reps for the Finnish musician confirmed to the media that Vainio passed away in France on Wednesday (April 12), though his cause of death remains unknown. He was 53.
Vainio originally formed Pan Sonic (who were first known as Panasonic) in 1993 with Ilpo Väisänen and Sami Salo. The group released their debut album Vakio in 1995, with Salo eventually leaving the project in 1996 and the duo of Vainio and Väisänen adopting the Pan Sonic moniker.
Vainio formed the Sähkö label in 1993 with friend Tommi Grönlund, but much of Pan Sonic's material arrived via the Mute side-label Blast First. With this deal in place, Pan Sonic released a steady stream of albums over the years, including Kulma and the seriously massive, nearly four-hour long quadruple-disc set Kesto (234.48:4) in 2004. Pan Sonic's last effort was the Atomin Paluu soundtrack from last year.
During his career, Vainio worked with a long list of celebrated collaborators, including Suicide's Alan Vega, Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley, Haino Keiji, Merzbow, Fennesz, Kevin Drumm and Carsten Nicolai (a.k.a. Alva Noto). Vainio also put out a long string of solo records under his own name, as well as with his Ø and Philus monikers.
Following the news of Vainio's death, many musicians have emerged on social media to pay their respects. You can see some of their tweets below.
Awful news about Mika Vainio passing away. He was a truly incredible musician.— stuart braithwaite (@plasmatron) April 13, 2017
i am utterly heartbroken. one of my biggest musical crushes is gone. RIP MIKA VAINIO. i am so thankful i got to meet you & see you play.— ZOLA JESUS (@ZOLAJESUS) April 13, 2017
even though he is gone mika will never stop inspiring https://t.co/zEDD0094ho— ZOLA JESUS (@ZOLAJESUS) April 13, 2017
Mika Vainio the masterhttps://t.co/d7kXBeqJ5a— Holly Herndon (@hollyherndon) April 13, 2017
Mika Vainio had a unique talent where you can study in exact detail what he does but never in a million attempts emulate its emotional power— Holly Herndon (@hollyherndon) April 13, 2017
very sad news, rip mika vainio. made some very important, enduring work that will be around and inspiring people for many years to come— Cloud Nothings (@cloudnothings) April 13, 2017
RIP Mika Vainio— Stephen F. O'Malley (@IdeologicOrgan) April 13, 2017
Tragic genius of the highest order.