MIKA VAINIO – Aíneen Musta Puhelin

The English title is Black Telephone Of Matter, which is probably less fascinating – and perhaps even more incomprehensible – than its Finnish translation. But – language matters aside – this album by Vainio, the fourth at his name on Touch, gives us several reasons for feeling musically rewarded, and many others to remain wholly mystified and at a loss for words in the unproductive attempt to describe sounds that are impenetrable, often incredibly cold, yet attuned with the logic of solitary contemplation (bordering on inaccessible sufferance) that is becoming rather typical of the era in which the world seems to shut doors to whoever stands outside the borders of mass stupidity.

In spite of the countless silences that the record presents the most frequent response is a sense of oppressing adversity, the kind of thoughts that usually people try to swat away through an unrealistic vision of eventual future betterments that, in truth, are not likely to appear anytime soon. We’re left alone with sudden appearances of computerized excretions whose equalization is at times irritant, barely audible exudations introducing waste materials replete with electrostatic remnants and misshapen atmospheres from unknown places – could be a waterfall or an anechoic chamber, the result remains a total despoliation of the original tissue of a sound source.

When Vainio decides that low frequencies and entrancement must become one and the same, he delivers authoritatively: tracks such as “Hautaa Hevosen Pää” (dedicated to John Duncan) and the final “Hengityttajä”, both utilizing elements of physical reality amidst impressive landscapes of forlorn burdensomeness, place this disc in the “spin again before long” list.

Next time we’ll think about smiling.


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