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Katodivaihe / Cathodephase

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Album Review

Cathodephrase continues in the direction Pan Sonic set out in on the previous release, 2004's Kesto, and in fact may even be a more concise distillation of that sprawling effort's diversity. Where that expansive four-CD collection started out with a full disc of pummeling instrumental techno and gradually imploded over the next three discs into more subtle, experimental and ambient textures, neither it nor this album are much reminiscent of Pan Sonic's past as a minimalist dub-minded electro outfit. This collection certainly starts out akin to Kesto's first disc, where the Finnish duo's homemade samplers, sequencers and drum machines (some of which apparently have been randomly "modified" through damage, although whether the effect is intentional or not they won't let on) are set full-tilt to bash the unsuspecting listener upside the eardrum and even lure the heartiest of moshers to the dancefloor. The middle portion of this track list hearkens to the more avant portion of Kesto's second and third discs, where we are lulled into trance by less repetitive, more evocative, and somewhat organic sounds, but instead of falling into the flat-out beatless bliss of the hour-long track on that album's fourth disc, we are instead revived by more of the pounding electronic thrash at which these sonic tricksters excel. The textures conjure up the "ghost in the machine" by sounding as if we have been literally placed inside a whirling, humming, buzzing, clicking, and zapping machine. And it must be an analog contraption, as befits the title, as we surely are not amongst the ones and zeros of a cold digital creation but surrounded by hot, glowing, throbbing cathode vacuum tubes, and it's so nice inside we'll never want to come out.


Formed: 1992 in Turku, Finland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Pan Sonic -- originally Panasonic, until an inevitable confrontation with the Japanese manufacturing giant of the same name -- was among the most active and well-known exports from Finland's experimental techno underground, the first to reach acclaim at an international level. Pursuing the jagged edges of minimal and hardcore techno, Pan Sonic earned an enduring association with industrial and noise music through their incorporation of antiseptic production techniques and power-tool electronics....
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Katodivaihe / Cathodephase, Pan Sonic
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