Pan American – 360 Business / 360 Bypass

Pan American
360 Business / 360 Bypass

Kranky is the same label that released the last few Godspeed You Black Emperor! albums, confounding releases of pure instrumental beauty and complexity that many people have been warming to quickly. Well, Pan-American would fit into the same category of GYBE!, whatever category that might be. Pan-American play purely electronic music that is flowing and pretty and extremely leisurely. While GYBE! occasionally crashes and rises, Pan-American prefer to stick to the slower, more relaxed music. Fans of GYBE! will definitely enjoy Pan-American, and I believe it would also appeal to fans of electronic music from artists like DJ Spooky, Kurt Ralske, and others.
It’s tough to describe individual songs on albums like this, because they tend to be long and tend to flow together, which is, I’m sure, intended. But I shall try, because I think it’s helpful to describe the music you might hear. “Steel Stars” is pure electronic ambience, with repetitive keyboards and other repetitive noises, including a soft beep that would probably drive dogs nuts. There is a soft beat to this song, and other keyboards flow in and out occasionally, but mostly it is repetitive and ambient, soft and pretty. Now “Code,” this is a great song. There’s much more bass here, a drum-beat heavy yet still softer song. And there’s vocals, soft and whispery while still being sung, sounding as if they are off in the distance or at the other end of your room, far away but still audible. This song is amazing, repetitive without being overly redundant. Oh, and did I mention that the vocals are superbly done by Al Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, both from Low? Well…they are.
“Double Rail” reminds me most of a GYBE! song, with its repetitive bass line and the horns throughout, just coming in for brief bursts and dwindling off. It also reminds me of Grassy Knoll, another instrumental band that uses a saxophone throughout. And the metallic beat throughout this song is interesting as well. “Coastal” is a little too overly repetitive for my taste, with a deep bass beat and this annoying high-pitched sound that seems to wreak havoc with my internal organs. “K. Luminate” is very soft and ambient, with soft, tinkly piano, deep bass beats, and some almost nature-sounding noises. “Both Ends Fixed” brings back the Grassy Knoll reference, with some very cool sax and piano throughout this soft electronic beat. It’s also over 10 minutes long.
Go home after a long day of work, leave all the lights off, and put Pan-American into your CD player. Then sit in your most comfortable chair and stare at the ceiling as Pan-American’s electronic noises wash over you at high volume. That is surely the best way to enjoy this type of music. It’s soft and pretty while at the same time sterile in its electronic quality, almost other-worldly, in fact. This kind of music should not be conscious music, because it does get repetitive, quite purposefully, I’m sure. But it is another fine electronic and primarily instrumental release from Kranky.