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Quiet City

Pan American

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Album Review

Mark Nelson, who is Pan American, cannot find a way to leave well-enough alone — thank goodness. The first two albums under this moniker were organic, strange and beautiful outings with standard instrumentations and various keyboards added for effect. His last, The River Made No Sound got jiggy with a barrage of computer-generated effects and sounds almost exclusively. On Quiet City, Nelson brings back the layered electronics, shimmering muffled beats, and striated time and space stretches, and juxtaposes them against upright bass, drums, trumpet, and fugelhorn. As he has done on the early Labradford records, Nelson even sings, making poetic song-like structures of his compositions. The result is a deeply nocturnal, hushed recording that moves in several directions at once. The textures come in waves rather than layers, but they lap at the unconscious rather than in your backbone. They don't swirl so much as undulate, and the various pieces become one dark rainbow body of restrained, humid, sonic inquiry that goes nowhere and everywhere at once. Brilliant. [Quiet City was also released in a special edition that included a DVD of a "video essay" by Chicago visual artist Annie Feldmeier.]

Biography

Born: 1998

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A more beat-oriented solo project for guitarist/vocalist Mark Nelson of Labradford, Pan American debuted with a self-titled album on Chicago's Kranky Records in 1998. Nelson then recorded a track for the British experimental electronic label Fat Cat's Split series, and also played live with pedal steel genius B.J. Cole. His second Pan American LP, 360 Business/360 Bypass, appeared in early 2000 with collaborations from Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek and the members of Low. A series of split CDs followed,...
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Quiet City, Pan American
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