Mika Vainio & Joachim Nordwall - Monstrance 2xLP
Monstrance documents Mika Vainio and Joachim Nordwall reshaping guitars, drums, and incendiary electronics at Einstürzende Neubauten's Berlin studio back in 2010. The results were originally issued by Touch in 2013 with this new double-LP edition arriving on Nordwall's iDEAL Recordings label five years later as a posthumous tribute and reminder of his erstwhile collaborator. It's one of Vainio's most crucial and absorbing collaborations; moving away from ice-cold electronic precision and into a more visceral re-rendering of metal. In a sort of fantasy regression imbued with the spirit of their shared heroes – Einstürzende Neubauten – Mika returns to the instruments he cut his teeth on way back in the '80s, manning electric guitar, drums, and effects, while Nordwall takes control of electronics, electric bass, Hammond organ, and vibraphone, with both arriving at a mutually primal conclusion of distortion and fiercely charged electro-acoustic air. The first side's "Alloy Ceremony" comes on like an Earth death march (especially if played at 33rpm), before the furnace blast of "Live At The Chrome Cathedral" settles to the sepulchral croaks of "Midas In Reverse'. In the second part, the duo communicate in reverberant, hollow knocks, and guttural bass waves on "Irkutsk", leading to a moment of raw, staggering poignancy with the shimmering primitivism of "Praseodymium", leading each other in acres of negative space, with needled strings creating a fine tension that dissolves into the funereal, floating tones of "In The Sheltering Sanctus Of Minerals" in a sort of blue, etheric and almost ecclesiastic resolution. All the track titles allude to metal (in the material sense), which gives you a firm sense of the hard, grey tonal palette the duo worked with. But Nordwall and Vainio generate such an impressive array of music out of this ascetic approach that we can't really think of much in either of their extensive repertoires that sounds much like the hour of music they created here. It's one of Vainio's most impressive and unique collaborations outside of Pan Sonic, an essential exploration of silence and noise. Mika Vainio: Electric guitar, effects and percussion; Joachim Nordwall; Electronics, bass, organ and vibraphone.