I-LP-ON – Äänet (Editions Mego)


Finnish electronic producer Ilpo Väisänen is best known for his collaborations with his late musical partner Mika Vainio as one half of seminal duo Pan Sonic, whose output spanned from 1993 through to 2009. This latest album from Väisänen under his new I-LP-ON alias ‘Äänet’ sees him paying tribute to both that band and Vainio, the homage rendered even more potent by the fact that the 14 tracks collected here are crafted around recordings and found sounds originally acquired during Pan Sonic’s 2000 world tour.

In truth, much of ‘Äänet’ feels like an extension of Pan Sonic’s work, and inhabits similar sonic space to the duo’s output, meshing abstracted industrial soundscapes with a free-flowing feel that recalls dub more than anything else. Things start off tentatively at first, with ‘Syrjäytyvä’ opening proceedings with the slow crawl of spidery programmed rhythms, around which humming tones gradually build, the clattering snares massing into clattering textures.

Things roll more or less seamlessly into ‘Raavittua Krokodiliä’s twitching minimalism, as lurching drum machines convulse in minimalist fashion against swelling hums and whooshing murmurs, the tapping of what sounds like Morse code bleeding into the mix towards the track’s end against field recordings of trucks driving past.

By this album’s midpoint however the beast has been let off its chain, with tracks such as ‘Seattle 1’ and ‘San Francisco Keskustelu’ harkening straight back to the vast walls of industrial noise textures harnessed by Pan Sonic, the rush of white noise, infrasound bass and humming overdrive hitting the listener in monolithic waves that feel curiously calming, rather than oppressive and claustrophobic.

Elsewhere, ‘Jyvät’ resembles an acoustic sound sculpture more than anything else as the noise of what sounds like grains being poured into a metal tube gets digitally processed into a wash of echoing, refracting layers of sound, against a plume of infrasonic bass that stimulates the base of the brainstem, to eerie effect. ‘Äänet’ sees Väisänen crafting a more than worthy tribute to both his former band and musical partner that manages to vividly evoke some of Pan Sonic’s strongest work.


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