One must wonder about Mark Nelson. Does he want his music to provoke us into contemplating the big questions? or does he just like to make strange sounds? Recording under the name Pan*American Nelson (guitar), along with Steven Hess (percussion) and Robert Donne (bass) seem naturally unnatural on their album Cloud Room, Glass Room (50'06"). This music may contain subtleties that cannot be recorded. Evoking the world of the subconscious, much of the time it hovers in some new no-space. Cloud Room, Glass Room takes the listener to another place, where very suddenly we are dropped and left to fend for ourselves. A few tracks show their dub influence, as a steady bass line drives along a dreamy arc. The reverberant and plucked-so-slowly guitar glimmers above digital mangling and the persistent tapping of soft drumming. Other works are more invasive, as in mechanical drum kit and bass guitar conventions beneath howling feedback. These assured compositions build tremendous suspense while remaining as concerned with texture as they are with narrative. Along with their audio hallucinations that exist on the hinterland between rock and ambient music, Pan*American also delves into more friendly and recognizable zones where the mood brightens a bit. But throughout these seven tracks, irregardless of the area being mined, everything happens slowly; like Twin Peaks slow, with Angelo Badalamenti and Julie Cruise counting time. Such power from such deliberation.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 5 June 2013