In anticipation and commemoration of the start of the 21st century, German sister labels Rastermusic and Noton launched the magazine-like 20 To 2000 series. Between January and December of 1999, the labels released a monthly 20 To 2000 "volume"--a limited, specially packaged three-inch CD featuring 20 minutes of exclusive minimal electronic music. 20 To 2000 participants represent the international elite of microsound artists, and each volume is intended as a unique impression of the last 20 minutes of 1999.
Pan Sonic's Mika Vainio sees the last year of the 20th century ending with a teeth-rattling crunch, terminal gasps of electrical discharge, and a protracted, decaying fade into oblivion. Cataclysmic noise gives way to the stillness of Nuclear Winter ambience--whistling radioactive winds, driven drifts of fallout and powdered bone, and skeletal shadows projected against a poisoned sky. As the final Ice Age snuffs Earth's flame, a damaged radio sniggers amid the rubble. Vainio doesn't paint the prettiest picture of the end of days, but his 20 To 2000 contribution is the series' most evocative proposition. This 18:43 piece also stands as one of Vainio's strongest solo efforts, taking the barren ambience of 1999's YDIN to its--not to mention mankind's--ultimate end.