Mika Vainio’s death in April 2017 sent shock waves rippling through the electronic music community. The late Finnish musician left an indelible mark on noise thanks to his roles in the ‘90s group Pan Sonic and record label Sähkö Recordings. Over the years, Vainio collaborated with Björk, Suicide’s Alan Vega, drone icon Stephen O’Malley and more.
Artfully shot on 16mm by Jimi Tenor in 1995, Sähkö The Movie – a title fans have given the film in the absence of any official one – is a suitably abstract portrayal of the singular label in its prime. Finnish artists featured include Sähkö co-founder Tommi Grönlund, Mono Junk, Hertsi, IFÖ, and, of course, Mika Vainio himself.
The film tracks the Finnish unit at work in the studio making tracks on their trademark custom-built analogue equipment, hand-pressing limited edition vinyl releases and their eardrum rupturing yet delicate live performances. Outside of a few select festival screenings and those who own a rare VHS edition released by Blast First Petite, hardly anyone has seen the 44-minute film but this hasn’t stopped it attaining legendary status.
Essential viewing for anyone with a passing interest in techno, industrial and experimental music underpinned by a restless DIY spirit.
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