Album:  360 business/360 bypass

Artist:  Pan American

Label:  Kranky

Released:  1999


Pan American is the solo project of Mark Nelson, also known for his collaboration in Labradford. On his second album, 360 business / 360 bypass, Mark embarks in a jazz improvisation carefully wrapped in an IDM electronic package. Contrary to what you might think, the results are stunning!


Words that come to mind when listening to this album include organic, subtle, warm, intelligent.


Most songs have some kind of abstract loops going on in the background, not clear what produced those sounds, so one could say there's a fair amount of repetition from those loops. But to hastily come to this simplistic conclusion would imply ignoring all the subtle freeform jazz improvisations layered on top, which make the whole thing come alive and evolve in many directions. For instance, when Rob Mazurek's coronet (a kind of trumpet) makes its appearance on the third tracks entitled Double Rail, you can't help but notice and appreciate the ingenuity of mixing all those parts together in a seamless whole.


There's also sparse vocal contributions from Mimi Parker and Al Sparhawk (both from the band Low) bringing voice to an otherwise instrumental album.


If you like your jazz with a modern abstract twist, this album is for you. If you don't, i still recommend you give it a try.

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