Lee Gamble’s Pan Arc
Lee Gamble’s deconstructionist detour on Pan manifests an intrepid appetite to crinkle his own arc. The Brummie turned Londoner’s cynosure traces the fault line between computer composition and the jungle miasma of the mid-Nineties rave scene. Colliding such polarized realms generates an interpolating space of eddying force.
With his Cyrk collective, Gamble created a community for improvised computer music to amalgamate alongside more club-aroused material, although it wasn’t until 2012 when he appropriated that framework into his own process. The result is four ingenious forays that draw from contrasting reference points, notably Diversions 1994−1995, where samples of resigned jungle breaks splinter across storming cycles of opaque ambiance and shifting pressures.
Pan offers a model pedestal for the panoramas of Gamble’s transferal structures. The Berlin-based label features an assemblage of artists from varying backgrounds, all fitting together for their proclivity to experiment. Whether the outcome bends techno into anomalous forms, as is the case with NHK’Koyxen’s glitch Goliath, Dance Classics Vol. I & II, or as unfurling riot footage compounded into sound art via James Hoff’s How Wheeling Feels When the Ground Walks Away, each album resonates ingenuity.
Pan’s foreman, Bill Kouligas punctuates each release with the keenest graphic design in the industry. The catalog’s aesthetics string together uniformly, each with slight tactful contrast. His linear obsessed design splices space and non-space alike to carry tones off to intersecting angles and arches. As dissected pop art, the work materializes into abstract circuit board patterns.
Diversions’ packaging pierces with a lattice of clementine lines woven algorithmically around a clear plastic sleeve. Harbored within, a white plane of vinyl slaves beautifully behind its calculus network. Dutch Tvashtar Plumes, released nearly simultaneously alongside Diversions, parallels flawlessly with Kouligas’ makeup.
Its atomic structure buzzes and pings countless nano noises across dizzying x, y and z axises. In flow and flux, micro terrestrial environments coalesce into globules of gaseous rotations. Together with Diversions, ...Plumes pushes the envelope further and more peculiarly than the majority of records in recent years.
Since 2012, Gamble’s focused on sporadic remixes, such as the aqueous low-frequency dub of Special Request’s “Capsules,” while also contributing a monthly mix to NTS Radio. On the heals of a two-year hiatus, Gamble returns with another set of back-to-back Pan records. This month’s Kuang EP departs from previous leanings.
“Kali Waves,” the tongue-in-cheek opener, occupies a space as far from Pacific hypnagogic-pop as a downcast London slum. Fractured jungle bars protrude outwards before sliding back inwards with slick reverb and delay. “Mimas Skank” continues the vibe with another hooligan tilter, before a winding staircase of pitch-shifted toms and A.I. sputter and plop out of its jutting parabola.
Kuang’s masterpiece, “Girl Drop” soars and sinks, the minimalist finale suspending hallucinatory with nothing directed but azure, lenticular pads across a fourth dimension.
In September, Kuang’s followed by Koch. If “Motor System,” the full-length’s single is a signifier, prepare for cryogenically frozen techno aloof with subatomic molecules running slowly amok.