The prolific Finnish artist leaves behind a rich legacy of experimental electronic music.
The news has been confirmed by his family, though the cause of his death is unknown. Vainio was a multi-disciplinary artist best known as one-half of the experimental duo Pan Sonic, whose wide-reaching catalogue spanned techno, noise, ambient and industrial.
Along with fellow Finn Ilpo Väisänen, Vainio began recording as Pan Sonic in the mid-'90s, while also organizing more conceptual sound-based exhibitions and installations. In one mythic London performance in '95, they rigged an armored car up with a soundsystem that was built to resemble a riot control device, which would have a physically debilitating effect on the audience.
Since then, they released more than a dozen albums, including collaborative material with other noise and experimental greats like Charlemagne Palestine, Merzbow and Keiji Haino.
Vainio also put out a great number of solo recordings, including the acclaimed 2014 album Konstellaatio, released under his Ø alias. That one came out on his long-time home, Sähkö Recordings, who last year also released a collection of his archival band recordings from 1983 to 1985. His last album was a 50-minute score for a film called Mannerlaatta, which was released last summer.
Mika Vainio, thank you for the endless inspiration. You've left us far too soon.— Rrose (@rrose1921) April 13, 2017
Sad day. Rest in peace, Mika Vainio.— Samuli Kemppi (@Kempomat) April 13, 2017
Devastated to hear news that my old friend Mika Vainio has left us. A true one off! I'm forever honoured to have released some of his music.— Optimo (Espacio) (@JDTwitch) April 13, 2017
RIP Mika Vainio SHOCKED— PAN (@PAN_hq) April 13, 2017
RIP Mika Vainio. A massive loss.— Karl Meier (@karlpmeier) April 13, 2017
20 years later and those Philus records are still the best minimal techno that's ever come out of Europe. RIP MIKA VAINIO— Disco Nihilist (@disconihilist) April 13, 2017