MIKA VAINIO: Fe304 – Magnetite (Touch)

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Posted on Aug 22nd 2012 09:35 pm

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Mika Vainio: Fe304 - Magnetite

MIKA VAINIO
Fe304 – Magnetite
TO86
Touch 2012
07 Tracks. 55mins50secs

 Amazon UK CD | DLD US: CD Boomkat: CD | DLD

Mika Vainio was once one half of Finnish exploratory duo Pan Sonic until he and Ilpo Väisänen decided to part for good after fifteen years two years ago, but this ever only represented one facet of his work. As well as contributing to a good few other formations, he has released a number of records under a variety of monikers, perhaps the best known of which, beside the music published under his own name of course, is Ø, a project he pursues to these days. Fe304 – Magnetite is his tenth solo record as himself, his fifth for Touch.

Over the years, Vainio has extensively 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, treated and textured), which provided the majority of his sound sources and gave him the opportunity to experiment with distortion and feedback in a different way to his usual set up. Fe304 – Magnetite is a much more contrasted affair. Returning to the familiar post-industrial sound sources that have been at the core of his work for two decades, he explores an incredibly vast dynamic range, focusing essentially on the sonic regions between complete silence and extreme noise. Vainio assembles minimalist tableaux from rarefied percussions, scattered electronics, distant radio signals and statics reminiscent of early stripped down forms of musique concrète (Magnetica, Magnetosome), to which he occasionally adds haunting sounsdscapes (Magnetosense). These minimal structures can sometimes develop almost imperceptibly for a number of minutes before they are torn apart by a devastatingly powerful sub-bass or a stab of distortions, often with little to no warning (Magnetostatic).

Often though, Vainio generates tension by creating an expectation that, at any point, the listener may be subjected to a high level of noise, but never actually realising it. This is a technique that has used on many occasions throughout his career, but it has been some time since Vainio has played on this to such extend. Fe304 – Magnetite contains some pretty intense moments of noise, but these are comparatively few and far between compared to the vast sprawls of atmospheric or minimal constructions he deals with here. It feels as if, because of these almost constant expectations that a storm is brewing somewhere, this album deals with silence and noise in equal measure. This is not the case. Vainio manages to convey the idea of noise even when he refrains from going anywhere near it, and this infuses throughout one of his most unnerving records to date.

4.3/5

Mika Vainio | Touch
Amazon UK CD | DLD US: CD Boomkat: CD | DLD

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