Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'd Buy Anything By...Pan Sonic

In the barbaric PYT days ("Pre-YouTube") you could rarely watch a music video online. Only the more progressive record companies actually offered videos on their websites, and you generally had to go through a huge process of installing special players in order to watch them.

Back in the late '90s there was a European online service that would push videos to you, and through this service -- whose name I can't remember -- I learned about a lot of great music. It was also where I saw the "Endless" video by Vainio Väisänen Vega, a side project of Finland's Pan Sonic (then known as "Panasonic.")

Sadly that video has never resurfaced, but this one for the song "Urania" sums up the Pan Sonic sound: lockstep, mechanical, sharp, repetative, yet somehow danceable.

Their albums have never been easy to find or cheap, and what's more they all tend to be more-or-less the same. I'm also not a fan of the short experimental pieces they used to put in between their songs, usually consisting of an ear-piercing signal that seemed to go on forever. But whenever I DO see a Pan Sonic album I pick it up, and someday maybe I'll be lucky enough to seem them live.

Albums to buy: Even though there aren't very many of them, I confess that I've never collected them all. I really like "Kulma" and "A," both of which have some truly vicious songs on them. Albums to avoid: their Alan Vega collaborations, which are 5% amazing and 95% embarrassing.

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