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The slow metallic shrieks and deep grinds that start up Mika Vainio's 2011 album shows that the Pan Sonic veteran remains as interested in exploring extremity and texture as ever, and continues to step out fully on his own following that duo's 2009 dissolution. Indeed the musicality of "In Silence a Scream Takes a Heart" is one of Life's most appealing facets; for all the depths explored by the sudden, sprawled-out growls of feedback and noise, there's a sense of both depth and careful progression throughout. One could easily imagine a string quartet arrangement of the song on the one hand, while still thrilling to the exultance in the sonic scuzz on the other. A through line on the album is the emphasis on how to arrange and edit what could otherwise be seen as simply white noise, all with an ear to a certain kind of resonance or, arguably, performance. The stops and starts on "Throat" feel like a free jazz exploration, while even the more straightforward (as such) "Crashed," which sounds like a straight-up solo guitar improvisation than anything else on the album, comes across less as genre exercise and more as testing the possibilities in a particular context. The stark beats on "Mining" not only match the title, but turn the track into a monster industrial mover from 20 years past. "Open Up and Bleed," a cover of an Iggy Pop nugget that feels pretty far removed from the source, is almost like something reclaiming the ghost of isolation, spurious as the pseudo-genre might have been. But with the crisp echo, murky rumbles, and bursts of groaning sound, it's almost like the sound of the mid-'90s has returned to wreak a little vengeance.