Mika Vainio/Joachim Nordwall: Monstrance

[12 September 2013]

By John Garratt

PopMatters Associate Music Editor

If you are on the hunt for another example of someone bucking convention, take a moment to listen to the two minutes of silence that kicks off Monstrance, the 2013 album that sprung from summer sessions in 2010 between Pan Sonic’s mad master Mika Vainio and iDEAL label founder Joachim Nordwall.

That’s right, the album’s first track starts with two minutes of silence. After a minute or so of tentative bell chiming, in comes almost eight minutes of industrial throbbing. From then, opener “Alloy Ceremony” naturally segues into “Live at the Chrome Cathedral”. The throbbing fades, and a brief silence is interrupted by white noise. Silence and noise are in contention as the rest of Monstrance plays out, making the album every bit as unsettling as it is fascinating. It’s hard to tell who brings what to the table in this duo, but it’s all of the same mind. Monstrance, equipped with rumbling guitar racket and metallic percussion, can and will compel and frighten in equal measure.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/175267-mika-vainio-joachim-nordwall-monstrance/