Pan Pipes - "Transmission Form"
(L'angelo Carnivoro 1999, AC CD 001)
From Aural Innovations #11 (July 2000)
Pan Pipes is an Italian band playing space pop that sometimes has new wavish and hip-hop edges, but also incorporates plenty of interesting electronica. The band consists of Taba on vocals, sampler, and guitar, Tony on guitars, bass, and sitar, Bando on bass and cello, Toty on bass, and backing vocals, and Musetti on drums and percussion. According to the promo material, the name Pan Pipes is inspired by William Burroughs' novel "Nova Express" and Pan Pipes are contacts between humans and extra-terrestrials.
Among the highlight tracks is "Child". A countdown to liftoff opens the tune, and once "we have ignition" a steady electro beat takes off accompanied by dark Goth vocals and a fuzzy, gurgling psychedelic guitar that trips along throughout the song. "Planet Gong" may or may not be a reference to the Pixied ones. It's a danceable new wavish song that is embellished by a cool looped synth melody and brief noise-psych guitar wailings. "Taste Of Candy" is a cool spacey funk rocker that I enjoyed. A funky bass sets the groove as noise-psych guitar wails out extended high-pitched licks.
Pan Pipes also uses cello on a few tracks which I thought was a nice addition. "Yoshi" is a dark, valium-paced song, made all the more eerie by the cello which plays a somber melody. A simple, but darkly atmospheric tune that I enjoyed. "The Whispering Of The Wind" is similar to "Yoshi", but the atmosphere is brighter. In fact, it's one of the stronger songs on the CD, alternating trippy melodic verses with full blown rockin' wall-of-noise choruses.
Another of my favorites is also the most chaotic track. On "Urban Fall" looped flutes (pipes?) and rapid vibes open the tune and things are briefly floating until it abruptly transitions to a hip-hoppish beat, but joined by a sitar and lounge-jazzy flute. Once the vibes join in it becomes quite a free-for-all glom. An interesting blend of contrasting sounds, rhythms, and instrumentation. Pan Pipes' interest in dancey hip-hop rhythms are heard again on "Metropolis" and "Kill Your Idol". The dance beats on "Metropolis" by themselves would be a bit generic, but the music rocks out hard as the guitar bashes away, alternating with looped synths and pulsating flute sounding synth lines.
Pan Pipes have a lot of good ideas though some are stronger than others. I thought the psych tunes had a fresh approach and the cello was an unexpected bonus that I would have liked to heard utilized more. I'll be interested to hear what the band does next.
You can visit Pan Pipes at their web site where you'll find several mp3's to sample.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz