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Fly Pan Am - C'Est Ça CD (album) cover


Fly Pan Am


Post Rock/Math rock

3.65 | 30 ratings

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5 stars Fly Pan Am is one of the influential bands in the post rock/math rock genre and also one of the bands that stem from Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GY!BE) which includes A Silver Mt. Zion among others. As with these other bands, Fly Pan Am is from Montreal, Canada and also records on the Constellation Records label. The band was founded in 1996 by Roger Tellier- Craig who was also one of the guitarists for GY!BE from 1999 - 2003 when that band went on hiatus.

Fly Pan Am was formed in order for Roger to explore livelier music in experimental post rock sounds. Since their formation, they have collaborated with various other artists and have added electronic experimentation into their sound. The line-up has remained the same through the years, though the band did go on hiatus from 2005 to 2018. The quartet consists of Roger (vocals, guitars, electronics) along with Jonathan Parant (vocals, guitar computer), Jen Sebastien Truchy (bass, electronics, synthesizer, mellotron, computer), and Felix Morel (drums). The band reunited and played for the first time 14 years in 2018, and then released their first album since the hiatus in September of 2019 called "C'est ça" which consists of nine tracks and has a total duration of about 40 minutes.

"Avant-gardez vous" (1:19) starts things off with a noisy, introductory piece that uses electronically enhanced instrumentals in a noisy layered track. "Distance Dealer" (4:09) brings in a more traditional sound, at first anyway, with a upbeat sound and clean sound. Noises soon come in to surround the traditional sound along with subdued vocals. This all creates a unique, noisy yet lush and somewhat lounge-jazz sound, but there is nothing typical about the entire mix, its original, strange and cool. There is a heavy use of both traditional instrumentation and electronics that might make one think of "65daysofstatic", however, this is still much different than that, making it a type of post/math rock that you haven't heard anything like. "Bleeding Decay" (5:36) begins with layered effects and noise which soon gets a more organized sound when synths and drums come in. The beat is more moderate here, and there is a strange vocalized effect along with a nice echoing guitar melody that appears through the hazy layers. The electronic effects that manipulate instrumental sounds gives it a industrial sound that supplement the traditional playing of the instruments. Sudden screaming vocals come in at 3 minutes, which is a bit of a surprise, but only last about a minute as the music becomes tenser with repeated bass and ticking drums. Then it takes the melody and transforms it into a metallic sound. Again, there is nothing like this out there.

"Dizzy Delusions" (1:50) is short, but it has some really neat effects that really mess around with your senses. In it's short duration, it travels through lushness to outbursts of dark noise. "Each Ether" (5:06) begins right away with hazy, shoegaze style vocals on top of a buzzsaw guitar enhanced by electronic manipulation while maintaining an upbeat rhythm. As it continues, there is some screaming going on deep in the mix while the music plays a hazy, yet rhythmic sound, thick and layered, yet not at all like a drone. As the title suggests, it is "off in the ether", yet it is strangely listenable. I would say the music takes some familiar sub-genres of music and makes them new and different, even giving an avant-garde approach to the music.

"Alienage Syntropy" (1:59) is another short noise composition, again manipulating sounds in interesting ways to create unique soundscapes. Through this one, the drums attempt to make some kind of sense out of these metallic drones and noises, and end up getting manipulated while they are at it. "One Hit Wonder" (6:57) starts with pulsating synth sounds while rolling and ticking cymbals create waves of sound urging the pulsating music to ebb and flow along like waves. This all increases in sound as layers come in building on the drone which continues to pulsate, but at a slower pace, and spacey effects start to surround it all. That surprising screaming comes in again, while the electronic effects go a bit crazy, things really start to get chaotic and noisy. Then a bass pattern starts to organize the chaos a bit, things take a sudden short pause, and then it all returns as a chaotic noise fest again. Things go from lush layers to heavy noise, alternating back and forth until the noisy ending.

"Discreet Channeling" (6:25) begins with the shoegaze sound again, with layered droning and soft, yet rapid drum patterns. The deep, whispering, yet evil sounding vocals are electronically enhanced and kept deep in the manipulated layers. The drums start to drive the music as it gets really fuzzy, for a while, then it returns to the original sound again with the whispered, subdued vocals. Just before the 3rd minute, it sounds like a manipulated children's chorus is singing deep in the layers, then the dark, muddy sounds begin again, the drums beat a strange march as feet slog through the mire. The music takes a sudden turn as the guitar starts to sound like a bagpipe and heavy, thick layers play something that might just resemble a riff, while the screaming continues, this time barely discernable.

"Interface Your Shattered Dreams" (5:37) sounds more like a goth experiment with deep, dark vocals buried under a shoegaze style guitar and fast rolling drums. The "chorus" becomes a bit melodic in the instruments, yet there is that screaming vocal buried in the layers again. This stops to be replaced by slow heavy drum and bass beats while sound effects give one an illusion of a monster rising from the deep. Then there is a long pause. Then the ominous drum and bass bring back in more eerie effects. At this point the track is quite scary sounding, but then it is suddenly replaced by the goth-shoegaze layers again. The so called "chorus" returns with more screaming buring under the layers, then the goth-style comes back. All of this creates something very new, unusual and unpredictable, just like this entire album.

This album is so unlike anything else, taking familiar, current styles and manipulating them, experimenting with their structure and sound, and stretching them beyond their boundaries. What you get as a result is a hazy, lush, noisy, dark, chaotic and yet sublime mix of sounds that create something very unique. The band has always been one to experiment with music, but they remained somewhat loyal to their roots. Now, they take those sounds to the next layer, creating post rock that is highly experimental and move it into one of the most logical places it could possilbe go, into avant-garde territory, until it hardly even sounds like anything else out there. This is very daring music, definitely not accessible, but there are passages where they fool you into thinking it might be, only to destroy any preconceptions you might have. Be warned, this music can get quite loud and noisy as sounds clash with one another, yet there are segments of sublime sounds that will take you in other directions completely. I know there are a lot of people that may not like this music, but I think it is genius. The band really hits on some great sound on this album, and it is well produced. It definitely makes the list as one of the best albums of the year, especially in its own classification as post/math rock. 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |


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