The then trio's debut album shows Pan Sonic already well on its particular voyage into capturing the spirit of total innovation via strictly electronic means. The high-pitched opening tone of "Alku" mutates into a rapid pulse of sound before "Radiokemia" introduces what for many is the sound of the band, with minimal, cutting electronic percussion accompanied by bursts of static. The variations and changes Pan Sonic can create with such a seemingly simple formula are nearly endless, as "Radiokemia," with its drop-outs and astonishingly subtle builds, and the rest of Vakio proceed to demonstrate. The depth and power of the group's rhythm punch is astonishing, shown throughout the album. Even when the drum notes or hits are slightly buried via production or echo, as on the slow whine of "Tela," their power can't be resisted, technology taken to a higher degree. The general alternation between one-note pieces and more complex, beat-heavy numbers continues throughout Vakio, though some tracks blend the two sides. "Graf" is a fine example, its main line underscored by what could almost be called a chugging train sound. Hints of more "traditional" approaches to techno surface from time to time, thus the varying percussion lines on "Vaihe," which sound as much like an intro to a separate song than a tune in and of itself, or the solid groove of "Hapatus." The trio certainly doesn't shy away from flat-out noise either -- "Hetken" begins with a sustained tone before erupting into a sound fest then just as suddenly shifting back to another tone. "CSG-Sonic" and "Sahkotin" close out Vakio well. The first repeats the opening gambit of "Alku" with a different core sound, while the second builds into probably the album's strongest, most commanding dance effort without losing the edge that makes Pan Sonic so distinct.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett