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Baker's Dozen

Pan Sonics: Mika Vainio's Favourite Albums
Albert Freeman , September 1st, 2014 07:19

Our series of articles curated by Kevin 'The Bug' Martin continues with a Baker's Dozen from Mika Vainio, solo artist and former member of Pansonic. He tells us about how the likes of Suicide, Neubauten, the Alex Harvey Band, King Crimson and more soundtracked a life of working in slaughterhouses and vegetarian restaurants

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Alvin Lucier - Music On A Long Thin Wire
This is a kind of piece that plays itself. No one is really playing it; it's a system of a long, stretched piano string with an oscillator driving a frequency straight through the string. The string starts to resonate in this frequency, and this resonance is increased by big magnets on both ends of the string. The interesting thing is that the sound it creates, even if you use exactly the same frequency, is always changing when done live and can be quite different depending on the place and the situation. Ilpo and I reconstructed this piece and played it live in London in the Southbank Centre. Our main idea was to do a rather heavy version of it and to drive so much amplification power to the wire that it starts to glow red and breaks in the end. We did this many times in Finland when we experimented with the piece. Unfortunately, in London the amplifier we got was some crap Peavey thing that didn't have enough amplification power to make this happen, so we were not able to make this ending for the piece, but otherwise it was okay. We had contact mics on both ends of the wire and had the sound in our desks that we were driving through the PA system. 
 I was also lucky to meet Alvin Lucier a couple of years ago in Rome and talk about his work. He has done many interesting, wonderful pieces. There are quite a lot of other electroacoustic composers who have been important, like some of the Parmegiani and Pierre Henry. Toru Takemitsu also made some wonderful electroacoustic scores for movies in the early 1960s. There was also this guy, Toshi Ichiyanagi, who was Yoko Ono's husband in the 50s, but he made really special electroacoustic stuff in the 1960s using electric guitar with lots of feedback which is quite close to maybe what Sunn O))) is doing, droney noise guitar with feedback.


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Wellwellwellington
Sep 2, 2014 8:42am

Hmm, that photo really looks effortless.

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Sep 2, 2014 12:54pm

In reply to Wellwellwellington:

...and exactly like steve pemberton

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Michael Engelbrecht
Sep 2, 2014 3:04pm

There were not many bands in that area Pan Donic have been working in that I liked, but Pan Sonic I ve loved . Still making discoveries with every listein. I never read much about Mika. So I was very curious to read his list and the stories. Put a constant smile on my face. Someone who comes along with Music for Airports and Interstellar Space knows how to open up spaces, and how to work with dynamics...

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Mark F
Sep 2, 2014 3:42pm

Not sure Test Department were inspired by Neubauten.

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Wraithlet
Sep 2, 2014 5:24pm

Gravitoni is number 6 in my top 10 favourite album of the 2010s so far.

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Michael E
Sep 2, 2014 6:20pm

Gravitoni, Kesto, Aaltopiri: my three favourites

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Sep 3, 2014 4:29am

Terrific list, no fucking Bowie, no fucking Lou Reed, no fucking Slint (hah hah)... Bravo!!!

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Sep 3, 2014 4:30am

pesto gravitoni glenn gould & coltrane-- i'll take two.

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Sam
Sep 3, 2014 11:18am

In reply to :

"Terrific list, no fucking Bowie, no fucking Lou Reed, no fucking Slint (hah hah)... Bravo!!!"

Haha my thoughts exactly. Quite a relief.

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Ron Tamra
Sep 3, 2014 2:32pm

funny... was just listening to Interstellar Space the other day and wondering why I never hear about this album! Really great stuff!

otherwise, this is a swell list. As much as I dig Lou Reed, I'm thrilled to not see him or VU on this list. Anyone liking Pan Sonic already like Lou, so no need to keep hitting on that one!

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Balphy
Sep 5, 2014 5:42pm

Does no one else get a kick out of people picking Bowie/Reed albums and putting their spin on it? If there was a rule against Bowie/Reed albums (even an unwritten one) we wouldn't have got that gem where Lydia Lunch said Lou should've killed himself.
Also Iggy Pop/Stooges turn up a fair bit too, I've also seen Beatles, Stones, Talk Talk, Kraftwerk... Marquee Moon has made a few lists and when did "On The Corner" become Miles Davis' most popular album?

If someone ever videos me sitting on a thumb tack, I become an internet sensation and The Quietus recognises my contribution to popular culture by asking me my 13 favourite albums I can't decide whether I would deliberately choose to antagonise every last one of you neckbeards by picking "Low", "The Idiot", "Spirit of Eden", "Lulu" and all those other albums I ADORE (not "Spiderland" though, ew.), or pander to the fact that I am secretly one of you and pick 13 artists ("Novalis" or "Rudimentary Peni" or "Ras Michael" or "Andy White" or something) that the average moron hasn't heard of, tip my fedora to the wind and go and have a look at some photos of naked celebrities.

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Asunderground
Sep 7, 2016 12:39pm

"Someone threw an axe at Alan, and it passed right by his head, a big axe, amongst all of the bottles and beer cans and whatever." Yeah, that story is true isn't it??? I love Vega but he had a habit of exaggeration.

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