Panabrite- Infinite Pulsation

The late 2000’s welcomed a boom in progressive electronic music that mostly bypasses the titanic influence of the English acid house scene of the late 80’s back to the rippling arpeggiation and oceanic washes of kosmische musik.  From Emeralds’ Does it Look Like I’m Here? to Mohave Triangles’s Smoked Mystics, there is so much unexpected variety in the textures you can discover when you take the plunge into this vaguely interconnected movement. One of the key figures in this fascinating unfolding is Seattle’s Norm Chambers, also known as Panabrite.

My favorite album of Chambers’s is Infinite Pulsation, which came out in spring of 2011. The manifesto of the album is summed perfectly by the song title “Clean Lines”– like Jon Brooks (of The Advisory Circle), Chambers shows just as much intelligence  for crafting melodic lines as for interlacing vividly beautiful synth timbres. The melodic sensibility on this album stylistically connects it with Cluster’s Zuckerzeit and Sowiesoso…I suppose you could say that this kind of stuff is the ultimate soundtrack for driving down a beautiful back-road. The textures are warm, bright, and have a playful lilt to them…they make me happy in a way that is hard to describe because the feeling is definitely one of being suspended in one’s own little world for a brief window of time. An album like Infinite Pulsation blurs the barriers between the pleasures of the heart and those of the mind.

For my Portland readers: I hope that you will be able to make it down to Doug Fir tonight at 8, where Panabrite will be opening for the utterly un-classifiable virtuoso of post-rock Sam Prekop, along with fellow kosmische architect, my show-buddy Pulse EmitterYou will not want to miss this one…all three of these guys have new albums out (respectively Disintegrating LandscapeThe Republic (an instrumental album on which Prekop tackles modular synthesis, which explains the lineup tonight, if you were scratching your head), and Digital Rainforest). See you there!

Dead Meadow- Shivering King and Others

Somewhere between bluesy hard-rock, shoegaze, and metal lies the hard-hitting, stoney romanticism of Dead Meadow. Their 2003 album Shivering King and Others set the mark for just about every garage rock band that has been in vogue for the past ten years…Tim Presley, Ty Segall, and the Black Angels are most certainly indebted to these guys, though if you wanted to hear something right on the same wavelength as Dead Meadow, Causa Sui would be the way to go.

Like Bardo Pond, Dead Meadow can take a simple groove and turn it into a weird fuzzy odyssey. Rock music is not really all that intellectual…it is mostly just about an abstract feeling of the body. Though this album’s standout, “Heaven”, is proof enough that they can craft a song, where the band has always excelled is delivering these rambling space-rock excursions that do not commit fully to hard rock– the tempo to their rocking is relaxed and dreamy. Furthermore, Jason Simon’s plaintive voice sounds more like Isobel Sollenberger than Ozzy Osbourne– it’s like the guy is calling out from a  wind-swept wilderness.

The really intriguing thing about this band that critics sometimes gloss over is their incorporation of blues-rock influences. What made metal and psych rock significant in the history of rock was their gradual dilution of the blues influence in rock and roll.   Dead Meadow, though, threads this influence into their hazy take on hard rock pretty gracefully. “Good Moanin'”, a loose cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Moanin’ at Midnight”, is an ingenious space-rock take on a classic more satisfying to my ears than the version Wolf himself recorded for the psych-themed The Howlin’ Wolf Album.

For my readers in Portland, be sure to catch Dead Meadow tomorrow, June 4th at the Doug Fir Lounge! It’s sure to be a great one.