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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


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.