Mika Vanio i Stephen O'Malley: defragmentiranje predmemorije.
Music by Mika Vainio & Stephen O’Malley
with Alan Dubin / Vocals ;; Eyvind Kang / Viola
Moriah Neils / Contrabass ;; Maria Scherer Wilson / Cello
String arrangements by Eyvind Kang ;; Tape manipulations by Randall Dunn
Lyrics from Anna Akhmatova’s “Muse”, “Untitled” & “Across The Landing” (epilogue)
Recording 0311, 0112 & 0812 in andereBaustelle Tonstudio, Berlin by Marco Paschke
Arrangements recording & Final Mix 0313 in AVAST!, Seattle by Randall Dunn
Mastered and cut 0513 at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin by Rashad Becker
Front and back cover artwork/planks by Emilie Ding
Produced and art directed by Stephen O'Malley
MAXIMUM VOLUME YIELDS MAXIMUM RESULTS
Mika Vanio and Stephen O'Malley are both seminal figures in the experimental underground having established themselves in the epoch defining acts Pan sonic and sunnO)). Whilst they explored different worlds, one abstracted guitar drone metal, the other hard rhythms and analog atmospheres, there was always an underlying thread which bound both acts: massive blocks of sound, vast cavernous spaces, a sense of drama and the foreboding along with a deep exploration of the physical experience unlike any previously experienced.
Pan sonic and sunnO))) first collaborated together on a Suicide cover version for a Blast First Petite series in 2007/8, and following this Mika and Stephen decided to collaborate further with what eventually became the ÄÄNIPÄÄ sessions. Recorded at Einstürzende Neubauten's andereBaustelle Tonstudio in Berlin and mixed at Avast! (Soundgarden, Earth) in Seattle over an extended period the results see individual approaches coalesce into a monumental whole. The signature motifs of both players are to be found here: the sparse crushing rhythms of Vanio's minimalist techno alongside the black hole drones of O'Malley's guitar workouts. It is the alchemical combination of these element that shifts this release into a new world of burning intensity.
At once unholy and emotional 'Through a Pre-Memory' takes the listener on a vast journey. On 'Toward All Thresholds' immense bleak landscapes succumb to sparse glacial rhythms. 'Mirror of Mirror Dreams' holds itself in reflective terrain as string arrangements by Eyvind Kang are played with Moriah Neils (contrabass) and Maria Scherer Wilson's (cello) providing desolate strokes to the cleansing ambient landscape preceding it. A new level of terror is reached on the epic 'Muse' and 'Watch over Stillness / Matters Principle' as the writings of Russian modernist poet Anna Akhmatova are put to music and sung/spoken/screamed by Alan Dubin (Khanate / GNAW / O.L.D). These monumental texts which book end this lp are at once ravenous and destructive. The shredding light shining through an impossible black.
'Through a Pre-Memory' is a deep immersive experience from two of the most extreme forward thinking music/sound practitioners today.
–Press release by Mark Harwood, London 0913 - editionsmego.com/
Mika Vainio's collaboration earlier this year with Joachim Nordwall was enjoyable, but this new release grabbed my attention immediately and did not relent for a moment. ÄÄNIPÄÄ, with Stephen O'Malley on guitar, Eyvind Kang (viola), Moriah Neils (contrabass) and Maria Scherer Wilson (cello) has more in common with Vainio's work with Pan Sonic than his recent projects, and with Alan Dubin screaming the poetry of Anna Akhmatova on two of the pieces, it surprisingly resembles a Khanate revival.
First paired together for a Suicide cover about five years ago, Vainio and O'Malley are very different artists, the former working mostly with clinically clean sources and the latter known for metal tinged guitar work. Through a Pre-Memory does not throw in any curve balls in that regard because both stick to what they do best, but the pairing of fractured electronic rhythms and noisy guitar works perfectly.
Opener "Muse" and closer "Watch Over Stillness/Matters Principle" are the two pieces that feature OLD/Khanate shrieker Alan Dubin and he is used to excellent effect. The former is a mix of mangled 909 kicks and snares while O’Malley's guitar mimics the rhythm with slight variations to keep it from sounding stale. Later on the proceedings become more electronic and atmospheric, with the beat dropping and scrapes of viola settling in. Dubin's screams are the same tortured, pained squeals he is known for, and when linked with the fragmented guitar bits, it does sound like Khanate.
The closing composition has the project weaving the vocals in to the mix rather than having them stand sharply in the foreground, with a tasteful amount of electronics and processing to keep them from sounding too rigid. With the stop/start nature of the mix and emphasis on beats rather than guitars, there is distinctly different feel than "Muse" had but still feels cut from the same cloth.
"Toward All Thresholds" is more of a concrete electronic piece at first, with only bits of drum or guitar popping through the otherwise complicated electronic-centric mix and only the contrabass standing out clearly as a traditional instrument. The guitar becomes more forceful, as does the rhythm, with the closing minutes having more of an industrial flair to them. "Mirror of Mirror Dreams" also has ÄÄNIPÄÄ presenting drastic dichotomy, with raw feedback and electronics bouncing between more pleasant tones and the traditional instrumentation, bouncing everything between pastoral hills and post-apocalyptic wasteland.
One of the most surprising aspects of this album is that it does sound like Vainio and O'Malley jamming together. Both have become rather entrenched in the more esoteric world of musique concrete and experimental sounds, so hearing synthetic beats and overt guitar right from the start was comforting, as I am a fan of both of their most known projects. Amidst those touchstones lies a wealth of texture and sound, however, so their more abstract tendencies are never far behind. - Creaig Dunton