Boomkat Product Review:
We always know that PAN is going to treat us to something special, but seeing them team up with California noise veteran John Wiese is like having yer birthday and Christmas combined. He’s popped up on the label before (with Evan Parker in tow) but ‘Seven of Wands’ is his first substantial work for PAN as a solo performer, and those of us familiar with his canon know that solo is really where Wiese brings the noise. That’s not to say he hasn’t enlisted some of his friends to help out; Angus Andrew and Julian Gross of Liars pop up to add voices, field recordings and percussion, and both add another layer of depth to the clouds of abstraction. Since his cacophonous early works, Wiese has been stripping down elements of the sound and introducing new obsessions, and ‘Seven of Wands’ might be his most successful ‘quiet’ record to date. Harmonies erupt out of clattering, scraping percussion and tones wrench themselves from Wiese’s patented cut-and-paste tape manipulations. The backbone of the sound is still the laptop, but Wiese makes it breathe, cough and hiccup using it as a tool rather than allowing the algorithms to inform his creativity entirely. At times the album sounds like a digital counterpart to Red Horse’s stunning self-titled album from earlier this year as skittering beats collide with haunted, wheezing strings – it’s no surprise that Red Horse drummer Eli Keszler is another PAN alum. ‘Seven of Wands’ is decidedly computer music though, and each instrumental sound is piped through many layers of zeroes and ones. Wiese has reached a point in his career where he is informing the direction of the genre rather than following it, and these delectable selections of nouveau concrete sound as alien as they do referential. He knows his Xennakis, Ferrari and Hecker that’s for sure, but ‘Seven of Wands’ is something all its own, and all the better for it. Needless to say, it's one of the most twisted pieces of sound manipulation you’ll hear all year.