Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Oleva - Mika Vainio (Sahko)

Another name, another album you’ve probably never heard (please correct me if I’m wrong). Then again, aren’t Pan Sonic a supergroup of electronica? And Vainio being one half of them, there’s a greater chance you’ll know this work.
He’s made a few albums but this being the first that I found today I’ll be exploring them all because it’s very good. In fact, I’ll be looking for Pan Sonic stuff too because I always ignored them since they sold out and played the Shea Stadium and that’s a travesty of everything I thought they stood for, which is maintaining a doggedly low profile underground, where all the best artists operate for reasons of creative purity untainted by the lure of the Devil’s main instrument, money.
Perhaps they didn’t play Shea Stadium. Can you imagine it, two men standing at their computers, watched by 57,000 people? Well, allowing for the fact that they’re not The Beatles (watched by around 56,000, apparently), they might attract a few less.
Do Pan Sonic have 57,000 fans in the whole world? I wonder. Sometimes I think I’m totally alone in enjoying this music, whilst knowing that’s not true, it is a feeling I get. Perhaps I should look for forums where fans of this stuff post...but then, I’ve grown to dislike forums...the ultimately unsatisfactory communication with strangers...the detachment guised as some form of attachment to other people...
And electronica fans are notorious nerds - something I am not! I dance to black music (OK, mostly in the flat, these days). I go out! Well, not much recently. I wear good clothes (he says, smugly)...except when I’m lounging around the house...which is most of the time...
Damn, what have I turned into?
At least I’m not nerdy about anything...having no great obsession or deep knowledge of one subject...which I’m not downing, of course.
You could say that ‘Oleva’ is music for the detached...the music of detachment, in the sense that it doesn’t try hard to elicit emotion in the way that singers of songs do. It creates atmosphere, though, in which you may dream and envisage all manner of things, as the best electronic music does. ‘Mojave’, for instance, could evoke images of a desolate planet...or empty city streets at dawn...even the silent chasm of despair one falls into when waiting in a supermarket checkout queue that is not moving...
There is tranquillity here, but also ‘Frekvenssi’ which, listened to over headphones, makes you feel as if you have two amped up live wires stuck into your ears whilst someone plays with the volume and cross-fade. It’s that good.
‘Muistetun Palaava Taajuus’ (don’t ask), encapsulates the textures and tones running throughout. This is a crafty combination of high-pitched single tone drone buzzing over what sounds like something played backwards and an enormous bass note and thunder, the like of which frequently puts oomph into this album.
‘Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun’ inspires in me no less than the idea of Milt Jackson guesting on a Kraftwerk track. How can that be anything but great?

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