Mika Vainio + Lee Gamble + Will Guthrie

Mika Vainio

Friday 11 January 2013


Door Times : 8pm



Disjecta & OTO Projects present the first ever solo concert in London for one of the most important figures in electronic music - Mika Vainio. Vainio has demonstrated a deft ability to combine abrasive texture, rhythmic precision and gaping silence as a solo artist, member of Pan Sonic (with Ilpo Väisänen) and in various improvised music contexts (see duos with Lucio Capece, encounters with Kevin Drumm, Keiji Haino and more).

Lee Gamble will also present a reworking of Diversions - his recent 12" EP for PAN that draws on his archive of Jungle mixtapes and Will Guthrie - one of the most invigorating percussionists working in improvised music - will perform a solo set akin to his recent solo LP 'Sticks, Stones and Breaking Bones' that sees him exploring shifting rhythmic cells of hypnotic polyrhythms.


Mika Vainio, currently based in Berlin, was one half of the minimal electronic duo Pan Sonic from Finland, (the other half was Ilpo Väisänen). Before starting Pan Sonic in the beginning of the 90's, Mika Vainio has played electronics and drums as part of the early Finnish industrial and noise scene.

His solo works, under his own name and under aliases like Ø, are known for their analogue warmth and electronic harshness. Be it abstract drone works or minimal avant techno, Vainio is always creating unique, physical sounds.

He has released on labels like editions Mego, Touch, Wavetrap and Sähkö and he has been producing among others with Alan Vega of Suicide, Keiji Haino, Chicks on Speed, John Duncan and Bruce Gilbert.

"Like the snow that coats his native Finland for large portions of the year, the music of Mika Vainio is cold and severe, a sub-zero take on the archetypes of electronic music ... As ever with Vainio, Fe304 is not for the fainthearted, because even at its most becalmed it constantly threatens to explode with nice cold aggression." - The Liminal


Lee started out as a teenager dj-ing on pirate radio and on the emerging Jungle scene, however his own approach to music has taken a more experimental direction. Exploring the outer realms of abstraction through digital synthesis/resynthesis, Lee has described his current compositional process as…

“…The configuration of material (ex nihilo) via various digital synthesis methods, prompts further disfigurations and reconfigurations. What you then have left is often the detritus or debris of an idea. Phantasms of both previous and current musical, pseudo-scientific and sculptural influences are manifest as new material abstractions, created from the digital blank canvas. This abstraction allows several interests to appear in the works simultaneously…”.

Lee is a also a founding member of the UK-based CYRK collective and has curated/co-curated several Cyrk events. He has also produced and curated three radio series for London based radio station Resonance104.4FM and he continues to DJ. Lee has released his computer compositions on the Entr’acte label and has collaborated with composer John Wall and artists Yutaka Makino and Bryan Lewis Saunders. Lee's 'Diversions 1994-1996' made up entirely from samples from his collection of Jungle cassette mixtapes was released on PAN in November 2012. This will be followed by an LP - Dutch Tvashar Plumes - also on PAN.



Liner notes to 'Sticks, Stones & Breaking Bones':

The hardest thing in the world is to have an original idea. As much as creative musicians hate to admit, free improv/experimental/underground (and all other useless adjectival identifiers) music now has as many stylistic tropes as your standard 19th century symphony: the endless variations on white noise, the orgiastic free ensemble climaxes, reassuring bass drones, “brutality”, all of which point to performance, not playing. Musicians cling to the next solution that the media spotlights, as if consensus actually ever helped anything in art.

Will Guthrie’s music shows that, when its very difficult to know where to look, one can still play, record and perform original music which doesn’t rely on stylistic stamps-of-approval. There is no free-jazz apostille on this record, nor any palapable sense of belonging. Perhaps this is due to his origins in Australia – the ditch between Europe, the US and Asia into which all culture slides and meshes, greedily absorbed by voracious, outward-looking music nerds.

His path as an award-winning jazz drummer, then grass-roots free-improv organiser (founding Melbourne's still-running Make It Up Club with guitarist Ren Walters), flamenco accompanist, then relocation to France, instigating a passionate engagement with DIY electronics and ongoing organizational activities, ultimately culminated last year in a deep questioning of just what to do in the potentitally uncomfortable position of having insane chops, broad tastes and an open mind.

The improviser attempting the perfect statement is like trying to keep honey on a knife. If it’s possible, Will comes close here. This is fearless music: the fruit of a long-standing interrogation with a dark place where most players fear to tread: bullfighting with the musical unconscious. And maybe was worth it; Guthrie's precision playing reveals cycles of intermeshed timbral/rhythmic relationships, playing to an internal logic that transcends the usual thought patterns of your typical drummer. Far from slipping into the mindless, episodic meandering that characterizes much free improvisation, extended formal shapes tuned by experiential instinct gives this music a structural integrity uncommon to most solo performance.

We're not limping through any tired timbre/form formulae here, nor are we witnessing a self-glorifying broadcast of athletic prowess in which the speed outruns the thought. The irregularities are elegantly placed, the raw technique blunted and honed into a resilient break-dance between the spontaneous and pre-conceived. The continuously elastic temporality transmits a hellish obsession with variation, smashing time together in multiple vertiginous chains of 2s and 3s.

This album is living proof that one can ignore the endless distractions and distortions to concentrate on something truly personal, and it is difficult to tell whether this is a beginning or an end. I’m relieved it’s here – the arrival of the John Cage prepared piano software library is yet another indicator that even specialized, idiosyncratic musical practice can be homogenized. Intense self-explorations into the language of the individual such as this LP are seemingly on the decline, but here the drums live like they should.

Anthony Pateras - 2012


This event is a collaborative production between Disjecta and OTO projects.

Disjecta on NTS live
OTO projects