I love the clinical minimalism of Pan Sonic. Their uncompromising, ascetic handling of digital sound is inspiring in its precision and attention to detail. It comes as no suprise then that the solo work of Mika Vainio, one half of the duo, possesses this same level of transcendent clarity. While Pan Sonic's work is usually beat driven in some way, Vainio chooses to work in the open field of beat-free music. In some ways, this gives his work a more cerebral feel- leaving the body behind to exist within a world barely held together by electronic hums, static, and pulses.
Vainio's sonic pallette is similar to his work in Pan Sonic. There are lots of rough digital sounds that are either forced into random cut-ups or given time to grow in a more ambient direction. It's impossible to listen to this without being affected, and in some ways this is some of the most psychedelic music I've heard this year. The focus of Vainio forces the listener into a different mode of consciousness. I felt as if I was being given a glimpse into the hidden world of communication between machines- not in an overly emotional way a Hollywood screenwriter might imagine, but as a hidden intruder who just happened to see the immaterial become materialized for a short moment.
"Black Telephone of Matter"'s stark nature defies any easy categorization. It somehow touches me more than a mere experiment in sound, but I can't exactly explain how. Maybe it is the way the disc seems almost magical, as if Vainio is conjuring up a new level of reality through his reinterpretation of non musical sources. While on the surface this might seem to be "noise", Vainio's work exists on a level outside of the realm of contemporary noise or experimental music. His approach seems partially academic, but the personal involvement that comes through to the listener is beyond the realm of mere experimentation. 10/10 -- Charles Franklin (16 December, 2009)