Pan Sonic, A

Mute/Blast First
Released: February 1999

Pan Sonic started out as Panasonic, but then a certain Japanese company asked them to change their name. So what did they do? They took the a out of their name and made it the title of their next album. No dummies, these guys. No matter what name they use, Pan Sonic makes unusual and rewarding music. Apparently, they don't use synths; rather, they make their music using handmade analog tone generators (like old radio sets) and the odd sampler (for rhythm). This gives their music a decidedly spacey sound, but it also allows them to venture into the esoteric Pole territory of crackles noises. On A, they add to this formula certain elements of dub (echoes, pitch shifts, etc). The result is music both fascinating and listenable. "Lomittain," for example, makes use of heavy echos and ocillator tones to create an unusual mixture of repetition and interplay. The album really comes alive on "Ahdin," where radio static samples create a rhythm while a bee-sounding tone builds in and around the base--only for the bee to take over and the static to disappear. Then the whole thing starts over again. It's a wonderful piece, and it is a lot of fun to listen to. You can't dance to it, but Pan Sonic's music is as interesting as you'll get in the world of electronic music.

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