Boomkat Product Review:
Mono No Aware (もののあわれ) is the first compilation to be released on PAN, collating unreleased ambient tracks from both new and existing PAN artists. Featuring Jeff Witscher, Helm, TCF, Yves Tumor, M.E.S.H., Pan Daijing, HVAD, Kareem Lotfy, ADR, Mya Gomez, Sky H1, James K, Oli XL, Bill Kouligas, Flora Yin-Wong, Malibu, and AYYA, the compilation moves through more traditional notions of what is called ’ambient’, to incorporating wider variations that fall under the term.
PAN’s first label compilation takes the shape of an introspective ambient suite revolving central themes of “an empathy towards things” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”, and effectively distills and renders the feels of a whole new wave of contemporary artists. It serves to beautifully illustrate the label’s depths in unity and common purpose with tracks by key roster - M E S H, Bill Kouligas, Sky H1, Helm, Yves Tumor, Jeff Witscher (Rene Hell) - as well as a smart influx of extended family and new producers - TCF, AYYA, Flora Yin-Wong, HVAD & Pan Daijing, Kareem Lofty, Malibu, Oli XL - who refresh and perfectly expand the label’s already unfathomable breadth of styles, personnel and their perspectives.
By some distance the label’s most sublime release, Mono No Aware is presented as “a meditation on mortality and life’s transcience” in an attempt to come-to-terms with the intangible nature of time and the perceptive boundaries between “memory and hallucination…; or reality and fiction”.
It does so thru 16 subtly personalised and compatible pieces, with results that speak to a world of increasingly chaotic flux and instability by simultaneously mirroring its confusion while also providing an inclusive safe space away from it; offering mutual gridwork for a spectrum of expressive nuance that takes in the billowing lushness of Egyptian artist Kareem Lofty’s Fr3sh at one end, and the colder digital soul of Danish/Chinese duo HVAD & Pan Daijing at the other.
In the space between, under Bill Kouligas’ curation, Mono No Aware transcends vast, ostensibly detached time and space between Polish producer AYYA’s exquisite Second Mistake and U.S. artist Yves Tumor’s elusive/illusive Limerence to highlight their differences and similarities, vacillating the windswept dynamics of Helm’s Eliminator with ADR’s ambient-pop hymn Open Invitation and jumping from the needling peak of Mya Gomez’s justforu to Bill’s own ambiguous blend of agitated noise and aching melancholy in the rare outing, VXOMEG and in a tormented but optimistic way mutual to the M E S H and Sky H1 cuts and especially TCF’s C6 81 56
On one level Mono No Aware helps to rescue ambient music from the clutches of neo-classical bores, and on another helps to firmly place it within context of the modern world.
A brilliantly curated, hugely satisfying collection of tracks.