Pan Sonic, Aaltopiiri

Mute/Blast First
Released: January 2001

Ahh, finally! It's been two years since Pan Sonic's A, and, I'm happy to say, the wait has been worth it. But, what is this? An actual rhythm buried in the ancient analog synth sounds? And was that a melody I detected? Why yes, and yes. This is easily Pan Sonic's best disk because they've managed to take their strengths, simplicity of design and obsession with details, and fit them into a framework that is listenable and even enjoyable. Their music is best when it is stripped down, minimalized. But they also do a great job obsessing over a simple sound, or beat, or sine wave, playing with and twisting it around and around until they've exhausted every conceivable emotion that the sound could emit.On this disk, they're able to all the things they're good at--but, on top of that, they've managed to inject some unusually interesting life into these songs. You want details? Then look no further than the second track, "Vaihtovirta." It's a simple song to describe: there's a stark, minimal beat that changes, pauses, changes, and pauses slowly over the entire song; then there's a series of haunting, echoing synth lines that float in and out of the beats. It doesn't sound like much, does it? Well, it isn't much--but that's the point. It doesn't need to be anything other a synth line hovering around a paired beat--those sounds alone tell the story of fear, desperation, isolation, or even confusion. Each song tells a similar story--in a similarly simplified way. This is a beautiful disk filled with beautiful music from two guys in Finland who just like to fiddle with knobs. Buy this disk immediately!

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