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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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Glenn Gould - J.S.Bach. Goldberg Variations (1982 Version)
For the last ten years, I've been listening mostly to this so-called classical music… It's a bad term, but composers from the Renaissance to contemporary composers. This album got me really into it in the mid-90s. He was really a special, interesting character. I have most of his recordings. He made two versions of this: the first one is very vivid, fresh, and full of energy, but after all I prefer this later version from a couple of years before died. It somehow has more experience and wisdom in it and is a little bit slower in tempo. Classical music is something I am listening to daily, and I have been reading a lot of biographies of composers, mainly 19th century composers. Of the contemporary composers, I like the most Ligeti, Scelsi, Morton Feldman, Takemitsu.

I cannot read notes. I never felt it was important for me, or anything I would need to put my time into. I'm not interested very much in the theoretical side of music. When I'm reading these biographies, I'm interested in reading about how they were as a person and how they lived. I'm not interested in the analysis of the chord structures and so on. When I read about their lives, I get to know a new aspect of their music, and this is interesting for me.

Gould is controversial because even in a short piece, he compiled it from many takes and was splicing and editing the tapes. It's always important to do something interesting and new, but I've never felt it was the most important thing. There's something else in music. There are some musicians, like the pianist Bill Evans, who I don't think was ever very interested in creating anything new with his music. He was just doing his thing, what felt right for him. He kept doing it in a very wonderful way. People like Harold Budd or Loren Mazzacane Connors I really respect because they keep doing their own thing and don't care what's going on. They don't have this need to be in the front line of new music that way. There are some people for whom this seems to be the most important thing, to be new, or that things are worthless if they are done in the style of even a couple of years before. I don't really see the sense of this. Gould's versions of the pieces he is playing are almost as much his as they are the composer's; he has put so much of himself in them.

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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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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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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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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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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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