Pan Sonic

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Pan Sonic
Pan Sonic in 2006
Background information
Also known asPanasonic
OriginTurku, Finland
Years active1993 (1993)–2009 (2009)
LabelsBlast First
Past members

Pan Sonic was a Finnish electronic music group founded in Turku in 1993. The group consisted of Mika Vainio, Ilpo Väisänen, and Sami Salo. Salo left in 1996 leaving Pan Sonic a duo. The group was originally named Panasonic until 1998. In December 2009, it was announced that Pan Sonic would disband after their concerts that month.[1] Their final album, Gravitoni, was released by Blast First Petite in May 2010.[2] Oksastus, a live album recorded in 2009, was released in 2014.[3]


Pan Sonic cite their main influences from the early 1980s, with industrial acts like Throbbing Gristle, Einstürzende Neubauten and Suicide to reggae, hip-hop and dub. Vainio often remarks that their music is a merger of these two schools of music, taking the harsh and pure sounds typical of industrial techno and spacing them out into longer, subdued soundscapes familiar to instrumental reggae and dub. The late outsider rockabilly artist Hasil Adkins is also cited, as well as country music star Johnny Cash.

Some of their equipment is made by third "extra" member Jari Lehtinen. These and other custom made instruments are responsible for creating the sounds typical to Pan Sonic's music. They also use samplers and an MPC2000 sequencer. Pan Sonic are great fans of experimentation and art performances and have done exhibitions and sound installations in museums. They have also made music for Rei Kawakubo's fashion shows. The group was known for recording everything live, straight to DAT using home-made and modified synthesizers and effect units.

In the late 1980s, as part of a "sound performance", the duo spent 10 hours in a garage, exposed to low-frequency (13 Hz) noise at 125 decibels. They performed a gig in London's East End from an armoured car using a 5000 watt sound system allegedly "similar" to the type used by the police to disorient rioters.


Pan Sonic formed in 1993 as a techno group with member Sami Salo (who later left the group). They moved to operate from a base in Barcelona to escape the long Finnish winters. Mika Vainio later moved to Berlin, while Ilpo Väisänen returned to Kuopio. Their first 12" was released on Finland's Sähkö Recordings.

Originally, the band was called Panasonic, but the corporation of the same name threatened legal action unless it was changed. The conflict was resolved, and the duo removed the "a" from their name to become "Pan Sonic", which was used as the title of their 1999 album A.

In December 2009 news of the duo splitting was announced on PhinnWeb – with Mika and Ilpo continuing with their own solo projects.[1] In October 2013 a new Pan Sonic album titled Oksastus was announced.[4] It is a live album recorded at a concert in Kyiv, Ukraine on June 6, 2009. It was released on February 20, 2014.[3]

Pan Sonic created a soundtrack for the 2015 documentary called Return of the Atom directed by Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola. The film examines the construction of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland. Return of the Atom premiered in Toronto International Film Festival in 2015.

Mika Vainio died on April 13, 2017, at the age of 53.[5]


Pan Sonic discography
Studio albums12
Live albums8
Compilation albums1
Video albums1

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label Note
1995 Vakio Blast First (lit. "constant")
1997 Kulma Blast First (lit. "angle" or "corner")
1998 Endless Blast First with Alan Vega as Vainio Väisänen Vega
1999 A Blast First #24 CMJ Radio Top 200[6]
2001 Aaltopiiri Blast First (lit. "wave circuit") #9 CMJ RPM[7]
2004 Kesto (234.48:4) Blast First (lit. "length" or "endurance")
2005 Resurrection River Mego with Alan Vega as VVV
2005 Nine Suggestions Allquestions with John Duncan as Duncan/Vainio/Väisänen
2007 Katodivaihe Blast First Petite (lit. "cathode phase")
2010 Gravitoni Blast First Petite (lit. "graviton")
2010 Synergy between mercy and self-annihilation overturned Blast First Petite with Keiji Haino
2016 Atomin paluu Blast First Petite soundtrack

Live albums[edit]

Year Title Label Note
2000 Mort aux vaches Mort Aux Vaches with Charlemagne Palestine
2000 Frost 79° 40' FM 4.5.1 with Andreas Ammer and F.M. Einheit
2001 05/10/995 Jenny Divers
2001 19/01/995 20/01/995 Jenny Divers
2003 V Les Disques Victo with Merzbow
2004 Finnexport 2003 Spirals of Involution
2009 Shall I download a blackhole and offer it to you Blast First Petite with Keiji Haino
2014 Oksastus Kvitnu

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Label
1999 X Blast First


Year Title Label Note
1994 Panasonic EP Sähkö
1996 Osasto EP Blast First (lit. "department" or "unit")
1998 Arctic Rangers Blast First
1998 Medal Blast First with Alan Vega
1998 "Kolminpeli (Live)" Evolurbain split with Vodershow
1999 B Blast First
2001 Motorlab #3 Kitchen Motors with Barry Adamson
2009 Che Blast First Petite with Sunn O)))

Video albums[edit]

Year Title Label Note
2008 Kuvaputki Blast First Petite directed by Edward Quist


  1. ^ a b "Pan Sonic News". pHinnWeb. December 1, 2009. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  2. ^ "PANSONIC GRAVITONI". Blast First Petite. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Pan Sonic "Oksastus"". Kvitnu. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  4. ^ "Legendary Finnish duo Pan Sonic announce new album Oksastus". FACT. October 1, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  5. ^ Flanagan, Andrew (13 April 2017). "Mika Vainio, Founder Of Pan Sonic And Electronic Auteur, Dies At 53". NPR. NPR.
  6. ^ Helms, Colin (15 March 1999). "CMJ Radio Top 200" (PDF). CMJ New Music Report. 57 (609). Great Neck, NY: College Media, Inc.: 15–17. ISSN 0890-0795. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  7. ^ Comer, M. Tye (16 April 2001). "RPM" (PDF). CMJ New Music Report. 67 (710). New York, NY: College Media, Inc.: 19. ISSN 0890-0795. Retrieved 24 January 2022.

External links[edit]