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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Pan*American website  Pan*American - The River Made No Sound [Kranky - 2002]

Kranky Records has the habit of releasing music that ends up having some of the most carefully crafted textures I have ever heard. Last summer I meditated, read and nearly had out of body experiences to the sound of the new Stars of the Lid. Now with something completely different yet with the same type of subtle and affecting music comes Pan American with their third album: "And The River Made No Sound".

This music that can seem very stationary and icy at first was not made for those people who will judge it on first impression. Everything is in the details here. On the surface, all you hear are pulsating dubby electronic beats and other sharp echoing blips, hums and pings. But that is not really what this music is about; textures and ambience are not created by repetition and length. Just crank the volume a little and you will realize that what Pan American is aiming at is a constantly evolving and mutating organism. Piano is gently playing in the background, synthesizers slowly change chord and the mood shifts, tension is built and released. Field recordings targeted at your subconscious make you feel like you are in various places, mostly in urban settings. Electronic sounds are sculpting landscapes that have a cinematic quality, but you are the one providing the movie. That's what I like about this kind of music (my opinion is the same about the new Shalabi Effect): since you are the one providing a big part of the equation with your imagination, how can you not like it? I pity anybody who's imagination is so boring that he can't escape reality with this music... A fully functional drug substitute.

"The River Made No Sound" is definitely material for patient listeners. Mark Nelson (from Pan American) is probably as scary to ADD affected people as J.R.R. Tolkien was. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating and, after all, Pan American is beat driven and, on the surface, much more happens than with a band like Stars of the Lid. But my point is that the the real reward will go to those who have the time to lay down in the dark with headphones for 50 minutes and let the music pass through them until they feel the influence it has on their consciousness.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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