Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 05:14:02 -0400 (EDT)
To: idm@hyperreal. com

V/A: Twelve Golden Grates (Pi Recordings/T&B UK)

Music just keeps getting stranger. This peculiar collection of 'classic' Pi12" tracks (c/sh)ould be stamped "Export of Finland," as it's right in line with that wonderful Sähkö gear. Intensive Care Unit (Cowton, Fergusson, and Eye) open with "Brain," a piece of music [sic?] which must be what the fly on the wall of the Nostromo heard once Ripley primed the ship's self-destruct mechanism. You can almost hear the red lights flashing and see the sirens wailing - no drugs required. Two tracks from Ø's non-Sähkö "Atomit" 12" surface here, with "Uponut" and "Olematon" being genuinely beautiful - fragile electronics in that Vainio stylee, but kissed with just the faintest breath of melody. Close-seconds for Ø's finest, after "Ilta" (Olento) and "Radium".

This would be a good place to mention Tulkinta (Sähkö FI) and Mikro Makro (Raster Music GM), as both are superb. The first is a welcome compilation of Vainio's Ø 12"s for Sähkö; the latter is a 'tete-a-tete' with Carsten Nicolai - with the two musicians alternating tracks. How can you go wrong with another 80+ minutes of this great stuff? Since Tulkinta is earlier material, it's less refined and more energetic. Compare with the quietest tracks on Kulma, but nothing on that album compares to "Radium" - a music-box FUSEd to a +8 beat! Vainio's music is always interesting, but the most delicious moments are those which juggle noise and sound - using static, white-noise, and electrified crackles as song elements. The expanded palette on Tulkinta's new tracks is more impressive than ever, and "Kohta"introduces six tracks which could be Ø's most exceptional material yet. Viz: "Sähkörausku" - sepulchral chanted drones and an upbeat drum pattern, haphazard electronics which squiggle and fuss all over the place, and the occasional blink-and-you-missed-it glimpse of electro. "Hyönteis" has much in common with Can/Neu!-influenced post rockers like Tortoise, especially as the IDM rhythm opens wide to incorporate steel-drum tones and modulated melodies. A 'boom-chk (pause)' beat goes quietly nutzoid on "Teehetki" before introducing elements of (s)quashed Deep-Dish House(! - I kid you not!). "Helium" is lighter than... yeah, yeah, yeah...; it's also the sort of three-note scrutinization into which Justin Broadrick's most recent Final LP delved - here set to one of those ether-pale Sähkö beats. The sparklingly chime-y sounds on "Tutka" literally make you feel ten years younger, fairy-dust and angel-wings and all that other childhood bollocks. All four tracks from the Tutka 12" are Ø in high (for Vainio) gear. Excellent - but I'm sure there's a review of that one floating around in the IDM archives (E?). So Tulkinta is Mika Vainio at his most delectable - playful and good-humoured. This would be a perfect entry-point for those who can't see what all this Panasonic hubub is about. The Noto/Ø is far more cerebral; both tracks cross the 11:00 barrier and evolve from coffee-percolator blips or transmission idlings into sedate and elegant experimental electronics. Noto's contributions are (marginally) shorter and even more subtle, though there's a lot of activity under the surface of "6:33." Another of those fascinating 'difficult' listening records.

[Other stuff deleted]

Wasn't there a review of some other record buried in here? 12 Golden Grates?

Ah me. Okay... 6K's "Fatality" is a sputtering Cesna tailspinning into Basic Channel central, and "Tighten" is an excellent piece of quasi-"Digeridoo" Analogue Bubblebathtub fun. The two Agent Random tracks are very odd, "Cinders, Blades and Wings" tumbling into a rising/falling organ groove and "Continuum" sticking out as 11 minutes of guitar/bass/drums/electronics noodlery which is more Rawfrücht (read: strange) than Tortoise. A LØSD remix of Muslimgauze's "Bandit Queen" is actually a paragon of normalcy compared to the other tracks here - sweet desert-wind electronica with a dance beat. Another ICU track, "Voyager," this one sounding very Fred Giannelli-esque (that's Superstition-style FG, not Säkhö-style FG). The P Man's lone entry, "Discotasm" is too fucking bent for words. Starts like Mike Ink, mutates into a People Like Us track, and finishes somewhere at the H3O/NWW line. Uh... yeah. MP Lancaster's "Macaddict" is a driving chugger whose belly-dancing beat is buried under foghorns which are buried under fork-and-spoon percussion which is buried under... you get the picture. Very layered stuff. Redeye Kidz wrap up this baffling comp with "Radio Hamz, "Manipulated/fugged-with sound. nothing special and too damn short.

Okay. I'm tired.



Sähkö Recordings Mika Vainio