26 September 2010

Finnish Power Electronics

It is sad to listen to the last albums of Pan Sonic in recent months as we mourn for the end of the excellent electronic duo after almost two decades of intensive electro-cuting of music listeners all over the world with their uniquely personalised brutalist but at times pointilistically minimal techno from 'Vakio' to 'Gravitoni'. Their two albums with Keiji Haino, released also on Blast FIrst Petite are brain-melting void to sink one's head in. As I listen to the two chaps frequently overpowered by Haino's guitar and vocal histrionics (there are few who dont...) in these tracks, I remember a scene, almost 10 years ago when my friends and I brought them down to this island republic of mine to perform at a dingy little club. We were just trying to break the ice when we chanced upon the topic of Keiji Haino and his infamous post-rock group (as in after-rock and not rock-rock if you know what I mean), Fushitsusha. They expressed much interest in him and they wanted to check him out more and thus a couple of years ago, they not only checked him out but played with him at a gig and in a studio too. They are fans of music and they themselves left a legacy behind for others to be fans of theirs, for a long time to come, I hope. As I have mentioned this elsewhere in this blogspace about their music's links to Noise, I just want to salute them for their groundbreaking nerve-raking music: music to scratch your brain cells to.

On the topic of Pan Sonic, who are from Finland, I just finished a book on the early history of Finnish electronic music by Petri Kuljuntausta called First Wave: A Microhistory of Early Finnish Electronic Music. Well researched and written, it traced the international development in post-World War II modern composition scene of new music, musique concrete and electro-acoustic music of the American (Cage, Varese), French (Schaeffer, Henry) and German (Stockhausen and the Darmstadt school) and their impact on Finnish composers, engineers and radio. It got me to pull out some of my early CD collections of early Finnish music on Love Records like Erkki Kurenniemi's 'Aanityksia/Recordings 1963-73' and compilations like 'More Arctic Hysteria/Son Of Arctic Hysteria: The Later Years Of Early Finnish Avant Garde' and 'Psychedelic Phinland: Finnish Hippie And Underground Music 1967-1974'. 5 CDs of primitive rock vibes, prog tunes, satirical rock poetry, electronic etudes and hoe-downs.

Then I also pulled out the recent vinyl reissue of infamous but legendary underground experimental out rock group, Sperm called 'Shh! Heinasirkat'. Check it out, as it contains some of the most consciousness tweaking atonal pre-rock atvaistic jam sessions ever; if you are into Amon Duul's Psychedelic Underground or Futura Records' stable of weird psych/concrete rock/out jazz. Finland did not start with Pan Sonic in its underground/experimental musical tradition: it continued with the formation of the duo and it is still, I hope moving and pushing music forward in the next decades to come.

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