Boomkat Product Review:
Mark Nelson's Pan American beautifully drifts into a sunset sound referencing his classic Labradford output on ‘A Son’, his first new album since start of the decade., RIYL Spacemen 3, Mark Lanegan, Bark Psychosis...
Now a duo revolving original member Mark Nelson of Labradford esteem, and percussionist Steven Hess, whose solo work and with the likes of Sylvain Chaveau and Michael Valera is well loved over here, Pan American return to their post-rock roots with suitably brooding results that sound to these ears like a long evening spent porchside sipping an unending and always chilled glass of whiskey.
Dwelling on acoustic strums and murmuring electronic textures, the music hits a fine vein of ambient post-rock sensitivity that gauzily looks back to that time before the retroactivation of new age and 4th world ambient styles, to a sort of pre-2008 Americana ennui and indie alt.rock that used to be dominant but has lost its grip over the past decade.
“Motivated by notions of "moving backward" and tracing roots – as well as a couple years of hammered dulcimer lessons – the album's nine songs were written and recorded in his home in Evanston, Illinois, and honed during a recent solo tour in Europe. The emphasis on uncluttered arrangements and the centrality of the guitar and vocals reveal these songs as the most direct and emotional statement of his career.
Nelson cites everything from June Tabor, The Carter Family, Suicide and Jimmy Reed as oblique inspirations, though his truest muse was creative self-inquiry: "What does music do, Where does music start? How simple can it be? How honest can it be?"
After decades of mining post-rock pathways and latticework electronics in Labradford and early Pan American, A Son strips away ornament and distraction in favor of a direct gaze into the heart of what is.”