Pioneering experimental electronic music producer Mika Vainio, of highly influential Finnish duo Pan Sonic, has died at the age of 53. The cause of death has not been made public.
Vainio began his career in 1993 with the release of the Kvantti EP (“Quantum” in English) under the pseudonym Ø. That same year he formed Panasonic with Ilpo Väisänen and Sami Salo (who later left the group). The outfit released a stream of well-received albums and explored a wealth of styles ranging from minimal to noise. In 1998, they collaborated with Suicide’s Alan Vega for Endless (released as Vainio / Väisänen / Vega).
The group changed its name to Pan Sonic in 1999 after electronics giant Panasonic threatened legal action.
In December 2009, Pan Sonic officially disbanded. They released their final album, Gravitoni, on Blast First Petite in May 2010.
Vainio went on to work on various projects. In 2015, Pan Sonic produced a soundtrack for Return of the Atom, a documentary directed by Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola about the construction of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland. That same year Vainio’s collaborative project with Frank Vigroux released Peau froide, léger soleil on Cosmo Rhythmatic after a three-year recording process that came about after a series of shared live experiences.
In 2016, he scored the music for the film Atomin paluu with Väisänen.
More on this breaking story as it develops.