Today starts the new edition of Italian Spark Festival. Tomorrow, On August 24th, there will be a whole night dedicated to Berlin based experimental label PAN with Swedish producer Tove Agelii aka TOXE, British artist Beatrice Dillon and a dj set from Milan artist and musician Simone Trabucchi aka STILL with the featuring of Kaiyde and Freweini.
PAN was started in 2008 by German producer and DJ Bill Kouligas. It is one of our favorite labels and we featured every year in our end years lists of best labels. It’s one of the few imprints which never lost sight of his goal and has kept a strong identity. Eleven years of different and eclectic releases focused on exploration of electronic music in all its aspects. Some of the artists of the label pushed the experimental sound over the experimental path with astonishing new points of view, with a strong connections with visual arts. Artworks had always a great impact.
We selected 8 must releases which describe partially this path of the Berlin based label: from veterans like Lee Gamble and Yves Tumor to the new signing like Toxe and Stine Janvin.
Dutch Tvashar Plumes – Lee Gamble (2012). Birmingham-raised, London-based producer and DJ Lee Gamble is that kind of artist which has a clear identity but also with a good level of shades. Dutch Tvashar Plumes is his second full-lenght and maybe it is also the release which marked his style: muffled rhythms, essential lines, ambient and industrial connections. The concept of club music completely overturned.
Flatland – Objekt (2014). One of the most interesting releases of this decade. After different singles, Berlin-based producer and DJ Tj Hertz aka Objekt released debut album Flatland in 2014. In this album there is all the PAN spirit. Idm and Techno textures are addressed in new territories with different levels of stratification from irregular dynamics to refined minimalism.
Blinks – Toxe (2018). Toxe is the project of Swedish producer Tove Agelii. After a couple of EPs (Staycore, The Vinyl Factory), she released a new one in 2018, titled Blinks. It is mastered by Jeremy Cox, featuring art by Jasper Spicero. Four tracks which reveal a different approach to club music. There is a compact melodic side, there are meditative vibes but there is also a strong rhythmic movement. Not easy to describe but it’s something which gives a new shape to electronic standards.
Serpent Music – Yves Tumor (2016). Yves Tumor is the project of American, Turin-Based multi-instrumentalist and producer Sean Bowie. Serpent Music, the first album with a label, was something different compared to the latest release Safe In The Hands Of Love (Warp). That album revelaed an innovative way to express intimacy, a new path for the songwriting urgency; starting from soul lines until ethereal fragmentation. It was formed from live, organic instruments, samples and various field recordings.
I – STILL (2017). STILL is the project of Milan artist and musician Simone Trabucchi, previously known as Dracula Lewis. According to the press release, The project follows the unearthing of the histories that connect his hometown of Vernasca to Ethiopia and Jamaica, explored under his visual arts project Invernomuto as an in-depth fieldwork lead to ‘Negus’: a series of sculptures, installations, a book, and a long-feature experimental documentary, screened at Unsound 2016.
I is the debut full-lenght released two years ago. In this case, electronic textures are used to narrate more stories and vocals, instead, canalize the music in other directions, enriching the main woven of the sound.
Impossible Symetry – HELM (2012). Helm is the project of London-based musician and sound artist Luke Younger. He works with a vast array of revolving instrumentation and abstract sound sources. After a couple of releases for Alter and Low Point, he signed to PAN for the third album titled Impossible Symmetry.
According to the press release, it’s his first to be informed by live performance rather than studio experimentation. The recording and engineering was primarily a solo venture, with some technical assistance from John Hannon on a few tracks. Most of the compositions were created out of ideas / improvisations that were conceived in a live context and then fed back into the studio work. Five tracks of darl and haunting sound which flows into minimal ambient and industrial textures.
Fake Synthetic Music – Stine Janvin (2018). Stine Janvin is a Berlin-based vocalist, performer and sound artist which uses her voice as main instrument and raw material to create her sound. Fake Synthetic Music is the first full-length. Nine tracks which took us in an abstract world where the “vocals instrument” becomes a psychedelic sound carpet and a way to destructure the concept of rhythmic line.
According to the press release, The tracks on Fake Synthetic Music reflect the concept of sonic illusions and Janvin’s use of the voice as a sound source. “…I wanted to explore how I could vocalise in a way that would combine architectural sound with dance floor sequences.” she says. Each track is based on a different take on these ideas, some being pure studio production, using only her vocal archive of sustained notes, chopped up into innumerable pieces of different lengths, and re-attached.
Another Life – Amnesia Scanner. Amnesia Scanner are a Berlin-based electronic/experimental duo comprised of Finnish born artists Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala. Three years ago they released their first EP titled AS (Young Turks). Another Life is their debut full-lenght. Twelve tracks which show their “punk” attitude in electronic music: we can found hardcore textures, minimal trembling lines, contorted rhythms and so forth. One of the most interesting releases of these years.