Pekka Airaksinen (Finland)


Pekka Airaksinen started making music in the late 1960's group The Sperm who combined performance art with experimental music of the day. On their records influences such as John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, free jazz and psychedelic pop were filtered into rough anti-music that resembled the early industrial music and noise that would emerge elsewhere in the world some ten years later. As unbelievable as it sounds now, The Sperm’s leader Mattijuhani Koponen was sent to prison for simulating sexual intercourse on stage at the Old Students Union in Helsinki, and Peter Widén - who was responsible for the allegedly pornographic films that accompanied the group’s performances - was also sentenced to two months in a labour colony.

In the early 70's when The Sperm had withered away, Pekka Airaksinen became a Buddhist and stopped releasing music for almost a decade. Airaksinen, who was regarded as a recluse, returned to the public eye in the mid-80's under his own name and with a brand new but equally futuristic vision. His album Buddhas of Golden Light is an incredible mixture of Sun Ra’s cosmic free jazz and twisted rhythms programmed on a Roland 808 drum machine. At the end of the decade techno elevated the 808 to a fetish object and Airaksinen disappeared for another five years.

In the 90's Airaksinen released a large number of CD's and CD-R's on his own Dharmakustannus label, on which the style of each track varied wildly - breaking every rule of the niche-group marketing concepts of the era. All his recordings, whether they are his unique interpretations of contemporary music, new age, ambient house or jazz, are characterized by a sense of improvisation and casual roughness that is rare in electronic music. The most avant-garde pieces of his recent output continue his earlier work with the imaginary "anthropoid music" of the future.

For more on The Sperm and Pekka Airaksinen, read Jukka Lindfors' article Arctic History. Airaksinen’s Avanto Club performance with Es marks his first concert in Helsinki in 14 years. AN

Friday 9.11.2001 - Gloria
21:00-3:00 - Avanto-Club: Pekka Airaksinen and Es