Album of the week: PAN AL – Pan Al

Mystifying, entrancing and at times hallucinogenic, Norwegian artist PAN AL’s self titled debut swims between ambient textures and disruptive rhythms as he plots a course to the fringes of electronic club music. After initially being released on the ambient outlet of R&S records, Apollo, the record found its physical form with a record that touches on those fundamental ambient influences, while spurring the genre on with clattering percussive rhythms.

Revitalising to often formless nature of ambient music in the same misanthropic pool from which it gestated, PAN-AL ventures closer to Aphex Twin and Warp than the languid beat-less interpretations that have defined the genre in recent years. Ratcheting beats and synthetic textures that develop in a cloud of slippery arrangements, never completely disappear into the background, nor do they provoke excessively.

PAN-AL finds life on lamented planets with tracks like “It’s Rigged” and”Roadrunner” jetting through static atmospheres on the insolent pulse of kick and snare arrangements. Working in a sonic palette that has only matured with time, noisy vintage synthesisers sculpt bold, free-flowing harmonies and melodies with raspy drum machines piercing the exterior in playful ebullience, bulging through the individual tracks.

Contrasting the energy of these tracks, “It’s nice to meet you” and “Just Open Up” offers a wistful serenity through the length of the EP, which appears more like a mini LP through the narrative of the record.  The tranquil soundscapes the artist creates during these moments of repose, still maintain that illusion of movement, even around a single chord, which together with the other tracks create a sense of perpetual motion through the course of the LP.

We’d be curious to see where it will take the artist  and his music next.