Mika Vainio & Joachim Nordwall
Ideal Recordings
black vinyl
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1Alloy Ceremony 11:02
2Live at the Chrome Cathedral 7:06
3Midas in Reverse 5:32
4Irkutsk 3:54
5Praseodymium 8:32
6Promethium 5:31
7In the Sheltering Sanctus of Minerals 9:06

Monstrance documents Mika Vainio & Joachim Nordwall reshaping guitars, drums and incendiary electronics at Einstürzende Neubauten’s Berlin studio back in 2010. The results were originally issued by Touch in 2013, with this new 2LP edition arriving on Nordwall’s iDEAL label five years later as a posthumous tribute and reminder of his erstwhile collaborator. In our opinion, it’s one of Vainio’s most crucial and absorbing collaborations; moving away from ice-cold electronic precision and into a more visceral re-rendering of Metal.

In a sort of fantasy regression imbued with the spirit of their shared heroes - Einstürzende Neubauten - Mika returns to the instruments he cut his teeth on way back in the ‘80s, manning electric guitar, drums and effects, while Nordwall takes control of electronics, electric bass, Hammond organ and vibraphone, with both arriving at a mutually primal conclusion of distortion and fiercely charged electro-acoustic air.

The first side’s ‘Alloy Ceremony’ comes on like an Earth deathmarch (especially if played at 33rpm!), before the furnace blast of ‘Live at The Chrome Cathedral’ settles to the sepulchral croaks of ‘Midas In Reverse’. In the 2nd part, the duo communicate in reverberant, hollow knocks and guttural bass waves on ‘Irkutsk’, leading to a moment of raw, staggering poignancy with the shimmering primitivism of ‘Praseodymium’, leading each other in acres of negative space, with needled strings creating a fine tension that dissolves into the funereal, floating tones of ‘In The Sheltering Sanctus of Minerals’ in a sort of blue, etheric and almost ecclesiastic resolution.

All the track titles allude to metal (in the material sense), which gives you a firm sense of the hard, grey tonal palette the duo worked with. But Nordwall and Vainio generate such an impressive array of music out of this ascetic approach that we can’t really think of much in either of their extensive repertoires that sounds much like the hour of music they created here. It’s one of Vainio’s most impressive and unique collaborations outside of Pan Sonic, an essential exploration of silence and noise.