Pan Sonic

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Pan Sonic
Pan Sonic in 2006
Background information
Origin Finland
Genres Electronic music
Years active 1993–2009
Members Mika Vainio
Ilpo Väisänen
Past members Sami Salo

Pan Sonic (originally called Panasonic) is a Finnish experimental electronic music duo consisting of Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen.


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.

In a musical form in which sequencing and recording music using computers is standard, the group is known for recording everything live, straight to DAT (Digital Audio Tape) 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.


Formed in 1993 as a techno group, with extra member Sami Salo (who later left the group), they moved to operate from a base in Barcelona to escape the long Finnish winters. At the moment Mika Vainio lives in Berlin, with Ilpo Väisänen having 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". The missing "a" lives on as the title of their 1999 album.

In December 2009 news of the duo splitting was announced on PhinnWeb - with Mika and Ilpo continuing with their own solo projects. However in October 2013 news of an imminent new Pan Sonic album titled 'Oksastus' was announced.[1]



  • Vakio (1995) (lit. "constant")
  • Kulma (1997) (lit. "angle", "corner")
  • Endless (1998) (with Alan Vega as Vainio Väisänen Vega)
  • A (1999)
  • Aaltopiiri (2001) (lit. "wave circuit")
  • V (2003) (with Merzbow)
  • Kesto (234.48:4) (2004) (lit. "length", "progression")
  • Resurrection River (2005) (with Alan Vega as VVV)
  • Nine Suggestions (2005) (with John Duncan as Duncan/Vainio/Väisänen)
  • Katodivaihe (2007) (lit. "cathode phase")
  • Shall I download a blackhole and offer it to you (2009) (live, with Haino Keiji)
  • Gravitoni (2010)[2] (lit. "graviton")
  • Oksastus" (2014) 2009 Live in Ukraine. Recorded in Kiyv

EPs / Singles[edit]

  • Panasonic EP (1994)
  • Osasto EP (1996) (lit. "department", "unit")
  • Arctic Rangers 2 x7" (1998)
  • Medal 12" (1998) (with Alan Vega)
  • B (1999)
  • Destria (Live) (1999)
  • Motorlab #3 (2001) (with Barry Adamson). The inside of the CD cover contains images of a brain scan of the Icelandic composer Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson, taken while he was listening to the CD.
  • Che (2009) (with Sunn O))))


  • "Kuvaputki/Cathode Ray Tube/SET" (2008), an experimental documentary produced and directed by Edward Quist over the course of several years. Versions of the motion picture were screened at various film festivals, yet the DVD remained elusive until 2008, due possibly to EMI's purchase of MUTE.


External links[edit]