Kantamoinen is perhaps the most intimately beautiful yet little known LP in MIka Vainio's Ø canon, bridging the gap between his classic ‘90s minimal techno productions - compiled in the vital Metri and Olento collections - and the project’s subsequent turn to more ambient, kosmic and dub wise dimensions in the coolly brilliant Oleva and Konstellaatio albums.
Upon original release it was an immediate favourite of ours - a go-to disc for hazy daydreaming and post-club head salvage alike, drifting between iced out instrumental rhythms and chasmic spaces interspersed with moments of indelibly heart-rending melody that have clearly lodged in the memory ever since.
Taking in 16 tracks in just under 50 minutes, it’s notable for including a number of exquisitely succinct - or tantalisingly short - glimpses of Vainio at his sweetest, even sentimental, especially with the breathtaking Tuulessa / In Wind and the frosted harmonies of Talven Henki / Winter Spirit, as well as the rare appearance of vocals (the voice of Oskar Sala recorded by Hans Ulrich Obrist) in the armchair transportation of Äänikuva / Sound Picture.
Vacillating poignant emotive clarity with forlorn abstraction, this expansion and contraction between deep, wide and relatively longer-form pieces, and a high frequency of shorter, starry-eyed passages, lends the album a more broken, strangely resolved flow than many other Mika Vainio records, and with a twinkling lustre that refocuses the ear with an ancient yet timeless sort of depth perception and atemporal appeal.
It’s an often sublime and necessary addition to any collection of classic ambient music and a firm reminder of Mika Vainio’s full spectrum electronic dominance and purity.