Title: V VICTO CD089 CD
Year: 2003

Review by Will Montgomery, Wire, August 2003:

Whenever a third has been added to the core Vainio/Väisänen duo, Pan sonic's music has often drifted out of focus. Their album with Alan Vega was a dreary step away from the fierce clarity of their own conception, and their longstanding occasional trio with FM Einheit has tended to sink into thud and blunder. Performing with Bruce Gilbert, they have been no more persuasive.

However, this live collaboration from last year's Victoriaville festival suggests that, with a bit of time in the studio, Merzbow and Pan sonic might come up with music that could tear roofs ogg. Streches of "V" certainly promise as much. As it is, though, it's only intermittently successful. This is hardly surprsing, given the distinctness of the soundworld that these musicians have established. Less of a 'document' was required, perhaps. Something more alive than 'live' might have transpired if the recording had been handed back to the performers for reworking. The live sound doesn't help -- Väisänen's percussion suffers in particular in a wobbly and vague mix.

Although Pan sonic and Merzbow share a basic desire to explore the physicality of sound, Akita's rendering of shrieking nerve endings doesn't always gel with the crisp, liver-quivering punch of Pan sonic. The musicians flit between productive and unproductive interference and often you feel that any two of these three would have produced a more coherent performance. In the great tradition of the supergroup soundclash, then: less than the sum of its parts.