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Pan Sonic, "Katodivaihe"

After a long delay the new disc from everybody's favorite Finnish duo has finally arrived, but without much fanfare and only in a notably limited amount of shops. It's a shame as this could easily be their best full-length (single) album to date.


Blast First Petite

Mika Vainio and Ilpo Vaisanen haven't reinvented the wheel but have broadened their palette slightly enough to notice. Some of the deep chasmic sounds on songs like "Haiti" and the opening "Virta 1. (transl: Current 1.)" are reminiscent of the haunting nature of the music recorded with Alan Vega while guest cellist on three of the tracks make the traditionally alien sound of Pan Sonic far more humanly.

It sounds as if they're paying homage to the ELpH/Coil Worship the Glitch in the nine-minute "Suhteelinen (transl: Comparative)" where the silence is bordering on deafening before the harsh squealy noise at the end ushers in a new movement of the record, absent of rhythm and screaming with abrasiveness, void of sympathy. The nearly seven minute "Kytkennät (transl: Connections)" is another piece like "Suhteelinen" which goes through multiple  movements of evil noise, silence, and post-apocalyptic despair, once again reminiscent of Coil, and "Tectonic Plates" this time around.

The onslaught of unapologetic beats and rhythmic sound bursts is still here, fear not, and for me it's still the best part of Pan Sonic to blast loud. "Tykitys (transl: Cannoning)" and "Koneistaja (transl: Machinist)" bring the dub-influenced beats with the soul-quenching noise. Pan Sonic are showing a lot of evolution this time around in the beats overall. "Hyönteisista (transl: About Insects)" matches an old school hip hop influenced 808 sound-generated rhythm with ghostly whirrs and a remarkably quiet low end riff that recalls early Panacea and other "dark drum n bass" while pieces like "Lapevinmeri (transl: Laptev Sea)" use more fluid patterns with careful treatment paid to each drum sound.

While I often feel Pan Sonic albums can get pretty long, Katodivaihe, like the others, provides a variety of movements with plenty of material to chew on until the next round. I would still love to hear a diversion in the form of something like an EP (see the classic B 12" or Osasto EP), which often brings more direct and compact execution. CDs like this make me long for an LP release which divides the album's movements into defining parts, but with this new Mute-less Blast First imprint, I won't hold my breath.