Pan American
Pan American

Pan American

About Pan American

Pan•American is the long-running solo project of Mark Nelson, guitarist and vocalist of ambient drone-rock legends Labradford. While bearing some similarities to the group, such as drifting guitar textures and hushed vocals, Pan•American has frequently explored dub, techno, and ambient influences, employing shimmering washes of sound and subtle glitch effects. 360 Business/360 Bypass (2000) is his dubbiest, most beat-heavy work, while Quiet City (2004) represents his music at its most stripped-down and intimate. After several electronic-oriented efforts such as 2013's Cloud Room, Glass Room, he went back to his roots with the primarily acoustic A Son in 2019.

While active as a member of Labradford, Mark Nelson began recording and trading cassettes of his experimental solo work as Pan•American sometime during the mid-'90s. The project's self-titled debut, an album of dub-influenced post-rock, was issued by Kranky in 1998, and a version of Pan•American's track "Both Ends Fixed" appeared on a split EP with Janek Schaefer on FatCat Records the same year. A different mix of the track (this time with cornet playing by Rob Mazurek) was included on the second Pan•American album, 360 Business/360 Bypass, which also included guest vocals by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low. As Nelson's activities with Labradford wound down, Pan•American singles and split releases appeared on labels like BSI Records and Quatermass, and the project's third album, The River Made No Sound, was released by Kranky in 2002.

Moving away from the dub techno influences, the more acoustic Quiet City appeared in 2004, packaged with a DVD using the album as its soundtrack. The glitchy, abstract For Waiting, For Chasing was released by Austrian label Mosz in 2006, and later reissued by Kranky. 2009's White Bird Release was a bit darker and more static-filled, and 2013's Cloud Room, Glass Room, featuring percussionist Steven Hess, brought back some traces of the project's earlier dub-influenced sound. Rue Corridor (Sketch for Winter II), an ambient cassette EP, was issued by Geographic North in early 2015. A Son, a country-influenced album of guitar-based songs and pieces for hammered dulcimer, appeared in 2019.

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