Pan American Cloud Room, Glass Room

Pan AmericanCloud Room, Glass Room
A decade-and-a-half ago, Mark Nelson created minimalist side-project Pan American in order to release material he felt was too electronic-based for drone-core trio Labradford. Since then, ambient music has evolved to the point where guitars and live drums sit snugly alongside synthesizers and processors. On Cloud Room, Glass Room, Pan American's seventh full-length, Nelson finally merges these two musical archetypes. With the addition of Fennesz and Aidan Baker percussionist Steven Hess as a full-time member, much of Cloud Room, Glass Room works off of organic/inorganic soundscapes, crafting seven bubbling, stretching, snail-paced pieces. Hess's stick work manages to give Pan American's slowcore added texture, as album opener "The Cloud Room" benefits from a molasses drum beat that pulls on Nelson's synth-drone, while tracks like "Laurel South" and "Glass Room at the Airport" come off analogously jittery and anxious. With Cloud Room, Glass Room, Pan American's original recipe feels slightly new–and-improved. (Kranky)