Paul Baran - Panoptic [Fang Bomb - 2009]For much of itís running time 'Panoptic' mangers to summon up this wonderfully heady yet doomed feeling of 3am paranoia & sleepless-ness. Itís an album that somehow mangers to sound strange & awkward, hypnotic, drowsy & bizarrely soothing often all at the same time.
Trying to define musically what is going on here is quite difficult as the album staggers so many genres, sonic disciplines & musical instrumentation. There are elements of doomed piano minimalism joined with gloomy jazz improv, thatís rubbed along by murky & tv flicking slowed electronics and scared by jagged yet charming folk guitar cut strums. See-saws of doomed gothic classical string down falls that nose dive into mis-firing analogue electronics while been ravage by high-wire junk band percussiveness. Itís all very lose, stumbling & often funereal procession like( but it can still sudden become noisy & clamouring) yet at the same time itís highly focused with not a note or element out of place in creating this ramshakled paranoid sonic state. Baran has brought in a high grade of sonic collaborator to build Panoptic's doomed & jittering sonic cites of paranoia and break-down in the shape of : Werner Dafeldecker, Ekkehard Ehlers, Keith Rowe, Andrea Belfi.
Simply put a master class in sonic uneasy ,doubt & crawling paranoia that slow but sure dripís into you like poison lace honey or bad LSD in syrup. Donítí expect a quick hit of grimness & uncomfortable-ness here because 'Panoptic' builds itís jittering, edgy & down-right doomed wonder over time & slowly swallows your mind in a hazy of crippling dread & doubt. One of the late coming highlights of 2009 & truly a must have item.Roger Batty