photo by. Jasper Spicero
PAN’s oeuvre is a well curated collection of the most audibly progressive and often visually challenging artists of present. PAN’s curation spans from a techno-Gothic style collection of cinematic soundscapes, to playful synthesis and indulgent machine music, often with an important message embedded in it’s creation. Two thousand and eighteen has not been any different, and it has been certainly one of the most interesting years for music; progression has been made within the industry for pushing women and LGBTQ communities closer to recognition for their work, an area dominated primarily by straight males, and this is evident this year in PAN’s assemblage of artists, we are challenging the simplistic and narrow minded figures that present gender and sexuality as something binary, something that the authorities need to have to define us.
Experimentation has been at it’s most highest in recent years, the fluidity of personas that challenge gender and the communities surrounding them are continuing to combine performance and sound, and are being presented across some of the most important venues across the UK, with the live performances that follow, these are being attended to in increasing numbers. We still have a long way to go, and recent political shifts have created a vast chasm of regression that has begun to swallow progress made, resulting in negative environments, a loss of personal identity and true expression that are true to the self. We must use all mediums of art to project and sharpen our perspective in these times of struggle in however we feel creates the most impact socially and politically.
artwork. photography by Elise Gallant.
Alexandra Drewchin, performer in the psych acid group Guardian Alien (alongside NYC percussionist Greg Fox), choreographer and performance artist. Eartheater, the solo project of Drewchin has been a project on-going since 2015, with releases on the label Hausu Mountain out of Chicago, whose artwork seems to be the most eye-catching; featuring artists such as; Andrew Bernstein and Psych n’ Free Jazz group ADT.
Her work on Hausu Mountain possesses a subtle touch to the overall sound, the muffled new/wave folk presentation on Mask Therapy on RIP Chrysalis to the soft notation and synthesis on If It In Yin. The album, features a blending of classical forms with modern experimental composition, something rarely done with such success.
IRISIRI continues Eartheater’s blending of classical composition, mechanical synthesis alongside the message of gender and sexual confrontation that tells a story through the often ridiculed digital age, moving us through work that spans across dark Gothic soundscapes, up towards pop that is stripped back to it’s rawest form – this is recognised in the collaboration with Philadelphia born artist Moor Mother (Free Jazz inspired poet and musician who puts across powerful messages that when put into the music, can often verge into a passionate horror) on the track MMXXX, where both their marks are left in abundance, vocal pitching used in the best light.
Drewchin’s vocalisations are playful at times like in Inclined and Not Worried, whilst also drenched in sorrow like we experience in Inkling, a sorrowfulness that calls us out, sending shivers down our spines and demanding our attention. The percussion is caged, trapped and artistically compressed, low thuds that imitates the sound of an anxious heartbeat, all whilst field-recordings and sound synthesis roll across the sound field from left to right, creating a hypnotic state that is then disrupted when moving into the next theme. IRISIRI has generally more darker overtones to previous releases, this only reinforces Eartheater’s diversity.
artwork. Jasper Spicero
Toxe made an entrance to the complex world of the music industry in 2015 releasing on Sweden’s STAYCORE label, and it was a loud entrance to say the least. Toxe’s Muscle Memory is a series of hard-hitting kicks combined with industrial overtones that slam and hit on the to and off, whether it’s rolling through militant techno with the sounds of AX, or on the broken beat and deconstructed sound of Let Me Thru, every sound has it’s space without compromise.
On Morning Story, a release on The Vinyl Factory, we are still in the presence of the hard hitting percussive, although they now sit along side bending synthesis, throwing us between 90’s gangster whines and rave culture’s big synths – this is Toxe’s sound from here on.
Toxe’s release for PAN is building on her sounds of Morning Story and has found a her personal identity with sound, the synths in Big Age are well rounded and optimistic but yet still at the same time, cinematic and dramatic. The percussion is softer here, but there feels a certain level of experimentation with the sounds of 80’s toms, saturated and set in place. Blinks could be embedded in to a computer game, the sort where you are battling it out across a wild plane of bizarre and interesting creatures, equip with large novelty style hammer, or it could be the setting of the most adventurous club environments.
Amnesia Scanner. Another Life
artwork. photography by Satoshi Fujiwara
Amnesia Scanner, performance art’s duo with a website that have no navigation, displays black and white images of varying miscellaneous objects along with sounds as you scroll further and further down. Until recently, they remained cloaked in anonymity, but with a recent article in The Fader, where they didn’t wish to explain their works; much like a magician never explains their tricks, Amnesia Scanner had opened up about their process.
Amnesia Scanner brought Another Life to PAN in September, and along with it comes an exploration to intense breaks that explore elements of Hardcore, moments of Hip-Hop influences and dare I say it,
EDM styles all under a barrage of guitar riffs that sound over distorted and synthetic, alongside vocal glitching and pitching.
AS Another Life. & AS Too Wrong both adopt a reggae-ton style through which amalgamates heavily distorted guitar riffs and heavy lead lines in the former, and the later focuses more on the distorted elongated bass and claps.
Amnesia Scanner collaborates twice alongside Pan Daijing on Another Life, somebody who I have had the pleasure of seeing perform live, her show was a wonderfully intense experience that was heightened by the darkened room and sharp, obtrusive lighting. Her contribution is recognised almost from the off, and compliments the sounds of Amnesia Scanner.
Stine Janvin. Fake Synthetic Music
artwork. photography by Camille Blake and artwork by Bill Kouligas.
Spawning from a live performance that tweaked and manipulated the voice has made Fake Synthetic Music truly unique. Stine Janvin introduces us to a dramatic and intense series of recordings that often create rhythm through looping and stuttering extreme ranges of vocalisation, creating otherworldly sounds that has the body of a science fiction soundtrack, moving outwards to the unexplored and unknown reaches of space we find the sounds of Stine Janvin.
Puce Mary. The Drought
artwork. cover art by Torbjørn Rødland.
Puce Mary, the solo work of Frederikke Hoffmeier encompasses a 7 year catalogue that features releases on Danish label Posh Isolation, responsible for stunning releases including; KYO, Rosen & Spyddet and Vanessa Amara.
As far as industrial music goes, what it represented and what it needs to continue to represent is exactly what Puce Mary does to the T, it challenges, it frightens and it speaks through harsh tonality and vocalisations. The sound of Puce Mary sits close to the likes of Throbbing Gristle and Nurse With Wound, and this is right from her first single on Posh Isolation – Lucia; available on Tape and Persona, which sits high upon my favourite releases of modern industrial.
“This book, whose title (Fleurs du mal) says everything, is clad, as you will see, in a cold and sinister beauty. It was created with rage and patience. Besides, the proof of its positive worth is in all the ill that they speak of it. The book enrages people. Moreover, since I was terrified myself of the horror that I should inspire, I cut out a third from the proofs.”
A snippet of Charles Baudelaire on his book ‘Fleurs du mal’, an inspiration to the works of Puce Mary, this feels like an entirely suitable extract to the soundtrack of The Drought.
We are willingly pulled through a soundscape of time slowed, it is like we are hearing everything in slow motion; the drums sound like large knocks at the door by somebody relentlessly trying to gain access, the synths imitate being swallowed into a never ending vortex and all with the voice of Puce Mary sounding like the inner-monologue of somebody’s thoughts, delayed and echoed in a world of oppression of the self and To Possess To Be In Control plays with the voice in this way, a slight de-tuning of call and response sounds like an internal struggle of the inner voices.
Objekt. Cocoon Crush
artwork. photography by Kasia Zacharko, and layout by Bill Kouligas.
Since Flatland, Objekt’s releases take on the form of complete and utter indulgence in machine music, they are convoluted, but intricate and exploratory at the same time. These are the sounds we are beginning to become familiar with from Objekt, although I don’t want to completely dismiss the club focused tracks of the S/T releases, which encompass a completely different aesthetic in what they aim to achieve.
Cocoon Crush feels like an entire process, a singular idea, and one that has a richer experience with each sound presenting clear definition, they are subtly placed and our attention is drawn to every little peppering that falls between the spaces. The general tone of Cocoon Crush is dramatic and moody, a much darker experience than Flatland that is not specifically aimed for the dance, but one recommended for a deeper listening. We experience everything from long pauses of silence with nothing but glistening sounds of a bell-like timbre, foley artistry that embody long tailed metallic hits with light glitches that sit lustrously on the top of recordings. There are snippets of mild, unintelligible vocoders against gut punching kicks and snares that seem to draw in the sounds surrounding it.