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Vainio, Väisänen, Vega – Endless

Label: Mute Format: CD

Vainio, Vaisanen, Vega - EndlessAs acerbic as their recent gigs together, the collaboration of Alan Vega with two-thirds of Pan Sonic shows that the loss of a vowel has not affected the latter’s ability to construct minimal sinewave beats and blasts, nor the former’s anomic bile against The Man and his system. While the Finns lay down the tearing glitches, chundering basslines and hard stepping thuds of analogue synthesis, Vega throws his vocal rage into the echobox in his accustomed darkside Elvis manner.

Each of the participants have the capacity for repetitive outpourings which risk the induction of boredom, looked at coldly. Cycling loops of monotonous noise; whoops and moans bouncing off the walls – a recipe for misunderstanding of the process. Well, if Endless appears stale, there’s a simple solution – turn the volume up very loud, (through headphones if necessary). By the time the walls (or eardrums) are shaking from the combined effects of electro throb and streetwise yells, the depth of the noisescape the three have created becomes apparent. This is highly physical music with words to match, alienated and ultimately only half-turning its back on the squalor of the brutalities of the world.

Like many misanthropes, Vega comes across as a closet moralist, railing against the adoration of the car in “Motor Mania”, religion in “No Home Kings” and American society in general in “Sick Sick USA.” Easy enough targets, but Vega’s anger seems genuine enough. When the trio construct “Outrage for the Frontpage” from jackleads and bashed blocks, the intensity of Vega’s ire becomes unbearably close to violence; likewise the title track spits bitter, brooding, existential cold rage both lyrically and in the snaps and cracks of abused microphones. The effect becomes increasingly mesmerising, as layer upon layer of noise crushes hope and scatters heavy dread. The pounding Industrial beat of “Red Lights Down” shows that there is still life to be squeezed from the form, while the wasted intensity of Vega’s voice has found a musical partner equal to Martin Rev‘s.

The emotional battering which Endless delivers is a rarity in a pre-Millenial culture obsessed with itself, and happy to wallow in self- flagellation to the point of saturation. By its sheer power this album rises above the glibly tormented clichés of most Industrial or Metal music; just as Vega and Rev did with Suicide two decades ago, so now Vega, Vainio and Väisänen strip away the pretension which clouds the effect of most allegedly powerful performers and records. Endless is not a lovable record; it may not even be a classic; but there is no doubting its capacity as a jolting, cathartic, even ennervating “Fuck You” to the world and its woes.

-Freq1C-

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