Search - Pan Sonic :: A.

Pan Sonic
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

Formerly known as Panasonic (before a certain Japanese corporation made known its dislike for their moniker) the Finnish duo Pan Sonic creates radical, contemporary electronic music. A goes even further than its predecesso...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Pan Sonic
Title: A.
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mute U.S.
Original Release Date: 2/23/1999
Release Date: 2/23/1999
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Ambient, Electronica, IDM, Techno, Europe, Scandinavia, Experimental Music, Dance Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 724596907825, 5016027311499, 5016027611490, 724596907818

Formerly known as Panasonic (before a certain Japanese corporation made known its dislike for their moniker) the Finnish duo Pan Sonic creates radical, contemporary electronic music. A goes even further than its predecessor, 1997's Kulma, in its quest for purity. Like an episode of the TV show ER minus all the doctors and patients, the record is about the machines' point of view. This is the sound of fibrillators sighing and electrocardiographs hiccupping, of circuits barely connecting and instruments running by themselves while nobody's looking. It's hard to fathom what Pan Sonic could possibly do after this album, since they've painted themselves into an abstract corner. In the meantime, A is like a Pollock painting: the point is not necessarily meaning or a "narrative" but rather a quasi-feral reaction to elemental sounds. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

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CD Reviews

Otherworldly magic
Kevin Mcallister | Livonia, MI United States | 02/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album delineates the realm of the machine. Its subject concerns the evolved intelligence of technology gone awry--of science merging with sound to culminate in a grandiloquent menage of industrial malaise. That 'A' and the remainder of Pan Sonic's catalouge is 'too abstract' or 'abjectly minimal' is of no importance to rabid experimentalists like myself.Quite simply, 'A' is a landmark of brilliant innovation. It is an album concerned with unfettered mechanical ruminations coupledwith the sound of sound.I first acquainted myself with this Finnish duo with their latest gem, 'Aaltopiiri;' an engaging, dynamic album that kept me spellbound at night along with the swirling snow from outside. I hunted down 'A' (quite a challenge) and mangaged to procure 'Vakio' from an outside retailer.I am convinced that Pan Sonic is one of the finest duos working in the electronic field. Those of you who find their material 'too bland' either do not have the patience to meticuously process their work, or do not have the capacity to appreciate ingenuity."
Buzz, beat, buzz; repeat.
Jonathan Parker | Calgary, AB Canada | 03/14/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)

"If you've ever delighted in the sounds of amps being plugged in, scratchy power switches, and tests of the emergency broadcast system, look no further. On 'A', Finland's Pan Sonic meld all of the above into a soulless yet often fascinating soundscape. Rhythmic and pulsing on one track, droning and squeaking the next, this is avant noise at its finest. But those with no patience for aural experimentation (especially at high frequencies) should avoid."
Abstraction and atmospheres - one of my favorites from Pan S
Steward Willons | Illinois | 07/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sometime after Panasonic's 1997 album "Kulma" was released, the electronics giant of the same name threatened legal action if Mika and Ilpo continued to release music as "Panasonic." By 1999, Pan Sonic dropped the "a" and went on to make some wonderful music, with the missing "a" showing up as the title of their next album.

"A" stands alone as a major album, but it was works well with its companion EP, "B". A sticker on the "B" jacket indicates that "A" contains atmospheres, while "B" contains beats. Although there are plenty of beats on "A", it's definitely more ambient than some of the previous Pan Sonic material.

Some see "A" as a new level of abstraction in Pan Sonic's work, but I don't know if I agree with that. While the techno elements that we heard in "Vakio" are gone, the music doesn't sound any more experimental than the previous material. Take the opening track of "Vakio" as an example: it's nothing more than a modulated sine wave - how much more basic and theoretical can you get?

One of the greatest aspects of Pan Sonic's work is the amazing sounds they get from their custom-made analog instruments. Those are firmly in the foreground on "A" sounding simultaneously alien and human. There are other great sound artists, such as Richard Devine", but Pan Sonic is different. Where Devine and others produce music marked by advanced digital signal processing, Pan Sonic has a more basic approach surrounded by analog warmth. Rather than finding new things to do with, say, granular synthesis (again, Devine), Pan Sonic uses the simplest of building blocks to create their sounds. You'll hear a lot of unadorned sine waves, basic amplitude modulation, and 808 bass drums.

While this isn't "minimalist" music, it is music built from minimal elements. It's repetitive, so those with short attention spans may not enjoy the slow developments on these tracks. Some tracks may even push what certain listeners are willing to call "music." "Joskus" is a 90-second drone that doesn't seem to have any sort of formal development. "Pala" begins with bleeps that sound more like they should be emanating from a piece of industrial machinery than from an album of music. However, when heard in the context of the album, they all make sense. If you heard some of the short tracks in isolation, the aesthetic value would be questionable. But, when heard in the midst of this album, they really work well as transitional material.

Some reviewers see these short little tracks as filler. While you wouldn't probably listen to them on their own, they are absolutely necessary when you look at the album as a whole. Yes, there are individual tracks, each with a title, but it's a continuous album that really demands to be heard in one sitting. To label the transitional tracks as "filler" is like saying that the areas of harmonic instability between thematic sections in a sonata are merely passage ways from A to B.

"A" will be challenging to some, but the effort is worth it. The music will grow on you over time and you'll continually notice new details. Unless you feel like you're pretty familiar with this sort of stripped-down sound experimentation, I might recommend starting with "Aaltopiiri" or "Kulma", just because there are enough familiar elements to easy you into the more abstract material."