♫♪  Panabrite - “Balsam”

Load all of your synthesizers into the pod and arrange them in the 360° formation that suits you best. Can you reach all of the knobs from your central dais? Can each keyboard surface extend to its full length without blocking another? Secure them with twist ties or velcro to prepare for take off.

You catch a glimpse of the formation from a few kilometers away as your craft skiffs over the Pacific. Smaller pods orbit as electrons around larger nuclei vessels. Each pod contains one human being and his or her machines, exuding its own LED glow that permeates the translucent membrane to refract through the surface of the still water below in manmade shades of yellow and green. You slide into rotation around the nearest nucleus and boot up your gear. The music is about to start.

The central vessels activate. You know the unmistakable tones pouring out of the pod PAs, providing a backdrop for the new arrivals: Terry Riley, JD Emmanuel, Iasos. A secondary layer joins the drone in the form of rippled arpeggios cast off from the pods of Pulse Emitter, La Révélateur, Günter Schlienz, Kyle Landstra. The sounds hangs heavy over the ocean. Waves form.

Through your membrane you glimpse a figure emerge from the hatch of his pod. Norm Chambers sits cross legged with a guitar in his lap on top of the sphere. You rub at your eyes. You’re seeing this right. He tunes the guitar in his lap as the synth voices build into a leviathan chorus behind him. When he starts to play, the roar subsides. Only his bare notes sound out across the water. You try to remember the last time you felt like this. The pods sleep.

After a litany of loop-worthy tapes on labels like Tranquility Tapes, VCO, and SicSic, Norm Chambers adds a new Panabrite LP to his catalog (alongside previous full-length stunners on Aguirre, Under the Spire, and Digitalis). Pavilion, due October 21 on Immune Records, represents some of Panabrite’s most comprehensive research of the ambient and New Age traditions to date. As if his baroque synth arrangements and hi-fi tonal sensibilities weren’t enough to captivate us already, Pavilion finds Chambers extending his arsenal of synth-drift strategies to include instruments and studio layering practices seldom heard in his project before. Stream “Balsam,” premiering below, and sink into a swell of chordal pads cast against the lattice of recursive acoustic guitar planted in the forefront of the mix. Synths modulate into a garble that threatens to overwhelm the xylophone dubs and field recordings before Chambers stretches warbling leads a la Richard Wright into a textured field of filter sweep moans.

• Panabrite: https://panabrite.bandcamp.com
• Immune Records: http://immunerecordings.net

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CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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