MIKA VAINIO: Life (… It Eats You Up) (Editions Mego)


Posted on Jul 21st 2011 01:37 am

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Mika Vainio: Life (... It Eats You Up)

Life (… It Eats You Up)
Editions Mego 2011
10 Tracks. 58mins25secs

Amazon UK: CD| LP US: CD | LP Boomkat: CD| LP

There is, we are told, only a fine line between pain and pleasure. It is a line that Mika Vainio has crossed more than most through his extensive solo or collaborative work, pushing his heavy duty sound processing ever further into abstraction and distortion. And his latest offering is no different. Released on Editions Mego, the guitar-based Life (… It Eats You Up) explores some of the man’s recurring themes from a somewhat fresh angle. The resulting soundtrack is not ultimately that different from the majority of his output, although it throws up some interesting oddities. Guitar sounds, distortions and feedback are put through a comprehensive digital grinding process, but not to a point where they become totally unrecognizable. The settings though are fairly brutal. From drone-infused (In Silence A Scream Takes A Heart, Crashed) to textured noise assault (Throat, Napoleon) or intense digital abrasion (And Give Us Our Daily Humiliation, Conquering The Solitude) to disturbingly paranoid (Cage), Vainio doesn’t spare his material.

Amidst these tormented soundscapes hide moments of equally resounding quietude, but these never quite defuse the sheer tension generated elsewhere. In fact, they are instrumental to maintain the resolutely hostile mood of the record. On In Silence A Scream Takes A Heart for instance, Vainio toys with sparse dissonant metallic sounds which, while austere in nature, slowly build up to more aggressive textures until they become extremely dense and corrosive in the second half. Crashed is similarly ridden with ominous lulls which threaten to break apart at any moment. That they never do is equally as devastating as if they did. Later on, this is taken to much more extreme on Cage, its desolate landscape disappearing into fragments of complete silence, only broken by static hums and ghostly voices and noises. Vainio plays on this double-edged tension continuously here, making Life a rather tensed affair from start to finish.

A surprising feat is the Stooges cover nested right at the heart of this record. Vainio’s reinterpretation of Open Up And Bleed is suitably bleak and unsettling, but there is surprisingly (almost) enough here to trace back the piece’s origin. Iggy’s acrid vocals have been replaced by heavily distorted whispers, which ultimately blend in with the heavy riffs which form both the front and backdrop of the piece, but the shards of electricity that infused the original are equally damaging here.

Life (… It Eats You Up) is an incredibly tense and disturbing record, even to Mika Vainio’s standards. It is also a totally engrossing release, brutal, yet clever. While undeniably a difficult listen, this album opens up new grounds for Vainio to explore.


Mika Vainio | Editions Mego
Amazon UK: CD| LP US: CD | LP Boomkat: CD| LP

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
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2 Responses to “MIKA VAINIO: Life (… It Eats You Up) (Editions Mego)”

  1. THE 2011 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 22 Dec 2011 at 1:05 pm

    […] VAINIO Life (… It Eats You Up) Editions […]

  2. […] experimented with noise and silence in various forms and to various degrees. With his last album, Life (.. It Eats You Up), published last year on Editions Mego, he turned his attention to the electric guitar (processed, […]