Boomkat Product Review:
These are the final studio recordings made under the name Pan Sonic, recorded as per their usual working methods at Mika's home studio in Berlin from 2005 - 2011 and subsequently edited into this album format by Mika in 2015. Award-winning soundtrack, Pan Sonic’s last gasp.
Back from the brink, Pan Sonic’s Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen present their final studio recordings, framed as the soundtrack to a Finnish film, Atomin Paluu [Return of the Atom] about construction of the first nuclear power plant since the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. We know they said Oksastus (2014) was their last LP, but technically that was a live album, and to be fair, who the fuck is complaining?!
Recorded between 2005-2011 and subsequently edited in 2015 by Vainio at his Berlin studio (not the first time he’s worked for filmmaker Mika Taanila), the soundtrack makes extensive use of field recordings captured by Pertti Venetjoki on location at the construction site. In context of the music’s use within the film, the 12 parts broadly tend toward concision and spacious abstraction reflecting the scale and peril of the operation at hand, whose imposing structures are documented on the cover art and gatefold interior for you to gawp at.
As it was pieced together from recordings made over such a protracted period, it’s possible to hear likenesses in the duo’s various releases over that same time. But ultimately this is just pure, signature Pan Sonic; stark as you like, prickling with white noise, and laced with crushing, brutalist rhythms.
But just as always, there are a handful of more melodic, harmonic developments which really grasp the darkness in a way few others can, most notably the gloaming spectres that rise from Part 7 or the rhythmic noise meets dancehall burial of Part 12.
Again, it’s sad to see Pan Sonic clock off for good, but there’s no denying it was a job so well done...