Music Reviews

Artist: Pan-Scan Ensemble
Title: Air And Light And Time And Space
Format: CD + Download
Label: Hispid Records / PNL Records
This recording of an improvised pre-Christmas experimental knees up features an impressive nine-piece line-up of improvisers whose combined musical CV includes over a dozen groups. A supergroup they may be, but as some football managers know, a group of star players doesn’t necessarily make a team. The Pan-Scan Ensemble however seem to be gelling very nicely.

It’s brass-heavy, with three saxs (one of whom spontaneously transforms into a flautist) and three trumpets accompanied by a piano and two percussionists, giving things a tone that’s heavily jazz-infused. No overdubs, no FX, just raw but mostly non-abrasive avantgarde improv.

Both recordings are an exercise in contrasts. The baseline mode is extremely sparse; individual instruments, individual notes, standing alone among sections of actual silence, tentative and tense. Then there’s a mutual consensus to crescendo, an unspoken agreement to disagree among the performers as they all get louder and more chaotic, before calm is restored and we settle back into abstract and sporadic instrumental opinions. Some instruments echo another, others contradict each other, but it’s clear there’s no tight structure or specific plan, just a selection of confident and skilled performers riffing wildly and freely.

“In Time And Space” the trumpet sounds are more sustained and there’s a greater sense of urgency in ‘the loud bits’, but otherwise despite one track being twice as long as the other, they still have the same overall sonic identity.

This is a well-produced, neat if slightly disposable little bit of fun broken jazz.

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