ÄÄNIPÄÄ ‎– Through A Pre-Memory - Editions Mego


Mika Vainio (read Secret Thirteen interview here) and Stephen O’Malley are seminal figures of contemporary underground music. The former, also known as Ø, was part of Finnish influential act Pan Sonic, while the latter is the strongman in American doom metal band SUNN O))). This time, both joined forces in the astonishing and extremely radical project ÄÄNIPÄÄÄ. Their first try “Through A Pre-Memory” released in Novembet of 2013 by Editions Mego is a doom masterpiece and, hopefully, represents the beginning of a long-lasting and fruitful relationship.

After collaborating in the recording of Suicide’s “Che” cover with Pan Sonic and SUNN O))) in 2007/08, they planned to team up and take this association further. The result was “Through A Pre-Memory”. The album, which was recorded at Einstürzende Neubaten’s andereBaustelle Tonstudio in Berlin and mixed at Avast! (Soundgarden, Earth) in Seattle, is a wonderfully dark and violent compound of sinister essences. While the two artists belong to different genres, they have found the right balance between the heavy rhythms and minimal techno of Mr. Vainio, and the drone guitar of Mr. O’Malley, which deepens the atmosphere of this work providing it with both dramatism and brutality. This, together with Vainio’s noise and analog expertise, offers potential listeners the chance to be transported to cavernous spaces and fascinating nightmares. The long four tracks on “Through A Pre-Memory” (all of them are over 17 minutes) combine melancholic and violent stages, and should evoke a myriad of feelings: from inner fears to rage or anxiety. In addition, the album reaches an astonishing level of terror also due to the beautiful writings by Russian modernist poet Anna Akhmatova, sung/spoken/screamed by Alan Dubin (Khante/GNAW/O.L.D). Violas, cellos and contrabasses also play a key role, and perfectly boost Mika’s and Stephen’s superb effort.

In brief, with “Through A Pre-Memory” Vainio and O’Malley have managed to create an obscure, emotional and violent four-piece journey. This work is a purely experimental album based on multiple elements which can be found along the path - dissonant and analog sounds, disturbing effects and strings, noise and drone layers, raw poetry and dystopian soundscapes - the combination of which results in a true work of art. Last but not least, it is intended to be played loudly in order to establish a physical communication between artists and listeners. As they say, “Maximum volume yields maximum results”.

More about ÄÄNIPÄÄ: Mika Vainio - Stephen O’Malley

About Author

Armando Valdés, the man behind Secret Thirteen album reviews, is a translator, music journalist and a member of noise-ambient + spoken word band “Granny On Donkey”.