Pan Sonic

Aaltopiiri

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Just two weeks removed from the winter solstice, Finnish programming duo Pan Sonic released Aaltopiiri, an album which appears to salute the long Scandinavian night and spacious tundra where Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen call home. Pan Sonic may not sample its atmosphere directly -- much of the music is likely of completely digital origins -- but the heavy percussive echoes scattered throughout the disc can't help but sound reminiscent of nearly endless winter near the Arctic Circle. The pair seems to prefer either relentlessly processed samples or heavy digital test-tones, the former heard best on "Aanipaa" (reminiscent of nothing less alien than crinkling paper from a flea's eye view) and the latter on the stark musique concrète of "Hallapyydys." The gorgeous extended reverb of "Vaihtovirta" makes it a clear highlight, especially considering Aaltopiiri is a very fragmented work -- sprinkled throughout the 17 tracks are many shorter songs more in the line of musical sketches. Returning to the green fields of pure sound study they'd appeared to desert during the late '90s, Pan Sonic forged a series of intriguing sketches devoted to the polar wastes inside their computers and sequencers.

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