An encounter of the very special kind is provided by New York-based Sound-Designer Brian Ales, or – more specific – his most recent album PanCentric; a unique new blend of electronic sounds and ethno elements unfolding over a complex, pulsing groove basement. As opposed to his preceding recordings, Ales has this time completely relinquished the use of guitar pat-terns, which is a remarkable thing to do for a musician who is, besides being a much-wanted producer and composer of soundtracks, originally a guitar player. Moreover, it's no longer playful juggling of masked technical effects at the core of his music; Brian Ales has created himself a whole new sonic world, using samples and sounds as subtly as sensitively. Following his last album November, which presented itself as a comparatively jazzy picture of serene mood wherein brass lines carried most of the melodic work, PanCentric sets out to explore more uncharted territory. Influences of the most diverse origins define this production; to point out but a few, there's defamiliarized samples of the "Choir of the Church of the Apostles Revelation Society", a variety of 'ethnic' instruments played by multi-instrumentalist Matt Darriau (like chinese pan flute, bulgarian bagpipe, a double-reed-instrument) and much more. Sounds like these fuse with the vocals of Philip Hamilton, tightly woven drum-loops by Satoshi Takeishi and Brian Ales' electro-acoustic designs, forming an organic overall impression of audio-phile, soundtrackish character. Still true, even if PanCentric is Brian Ales' most 'electronic' album to date. "This time", he says, "I really dropped the curtain and let the electronics show. I used a lot of obviously synthetic sounds, and even let some engineering 'mistakes' stay in, just to let the gears and wheels show a little. It was a lot of fun being more free with the electronics, and now I'm really into the electronica/dance music idea of it." But that's not all there is, of course. Adding to the cine-phile audio world of PanCentric are japanese drummer Satoshi Takeishi (who discovered his knack for southern-american music some time back, when he was visiting Columbia), meanwhile known for working with artists like Nestor Torres und Ray Barretto, and Matt Darriau's ecclectic selection of ethnic wind instruments. There seems to be some kind of working band evolving here, since both musicians have been on board Ales' productions already (Darriau on Creature Of Habit, Takeishi on November) and the three of them recently have been playing live together, as Ales informs us: "[We]'ve been doing a few gigs here in New York […] where I [was] triggering samples on a laptop using some software I found on the internet. They've been a lot of fun so far, so this is my new thing." Quite obviously, these live-experiences have also left their mark on the making of PanCentric, since the sampled sections on it sound spontaneous and almost experimental, rather than controlled or constructed. Ales consciously enacts a fusion rich of contrast, positioning electronic dance music sounds and ethnic elements seemingly siding and opposing each other at the same time, taking the listener to an ambient world full of impressions.
Byzantium, Planet Earth
Byzantium, Planet Earth