Ø is the solo identity of Mika Vainio
of Finnish techno duo Panasonic, the latter of whose brand of quirky, lo-fi minimalism has transformed them into one of the most popular exports from the Northern European techno underground.
Unlike Panasonic's harder, comparatively more dancefloor-oriented gear, however, Vainio's Ø work tends more toward the ambient and experimental, wedding sparse machine noises with shifting rhythms, stubbornly unmusical sonic textures, and assorted channel separation weirdness. Vainio's Ø releases stretch back to the early '90s (predating his association with Panasonic by a few years); his earliest work appeared on the Corporate label before landing with Finnish techno institution Sahko in 1993, where he's released most of his material, including three albums and a handful of EPs. The increasing popularity of Panasonic has meant Vainio's giving less and less time to his Ø work, but he did manage to release some of his most accomplished solo material in 1996, on his third Sahko full-length Olento, which featured the most effective fusion of Panasonic's austere minimalism with less immediate, more challenging structures. Demand for Vainio as a remixer has also grown of late, with revisions of tracks by Björk
and Tactile both appearing in mid-1996. He continues to record as Tekonivel (for Sahko sublabel Puu) and as Kentolevi for Patrick Pulsinger
's Cheap label; titles issued under Vainio's own name include 1998's Onko, 1999's Ydin, and the following year's 20 to 2000. Wohltemperiert appeared two years later. ~ Sean Cooper, Rovi