Boomkat Product Review:
Finally available again, Mika Vainio's Oleva was released in 2008 and ranks alongside his most contemplative work. It alternates between shades of the OG Panasonic blueprint and the explorative ambience perfected on 'Kantamoinen'. It also includes a rare Vainio cover version; an interpretation of Roger Waters’ 'Set the controls for the heart of the sun’.
Under the Ø moniker Vainio proffered some of the most singular and shining electronic music of the last three decades, starting in 1993 with a template-setting series of 12"s for his native Sahko imprint, and ending with 2013’s Konstellaatio. Situated somewhere outside Vainio’s best known ice cold minimalist vs hardware gnarrrr modes, ‘Oleva’ finds Vainio at his deepest, opening with the subs & shimmer of 'Unien Holvit’ and ending with the vapourised lament 'Muistetun Palaava Taajuus’. In between, there are more familiar bleep reductions (if u squint 'U-Bahn’ could almost sit perfectly on top of an Eski blueprint), ‘Mojave’ is pure windswept introspection, and the remarkable ‘Tasanko’ sounds like whatever you'd call the Finnish equivalent of porch-side blues, all slide guitar and a deep sense of unease.
Since his untimely passing, Vainio's extensive catalogue has been weighing heavily on the minds of an electronic music community that was in one way or another completely indebted to his singular sound. Re-evaluating ‘Oleva' with that in mind imbues it with a kind of poignancy that’s hard to describe - this is, after all, minimal music. And yet, it feels deeply moving. Somewhere behind the isolated vista on the cover was a man of few words who quietly set about imposing his own precise aesthetic onto the world. In his own time, and without compromise.