Pan American - The Patience Fader
It's easy to take an artist like Mark Nelson for granted. For decades now, as a part of Labradford and as Pan•American, he's continued to produce nuanced, minimal music that rarely screams for attention, creating a series of airy, vaporous transmissions that at first seem subtle but when taken as a whole might be considered their own fixture in the firmament - a stable reference, if you like. The Patience Fader, a suite of mainly guitar instrumentals, represents a uniting of disciplines that's both highly expert and heavily accented with Nelson's own voice. In essence, it's cosmic Americana rendered with a minimalist sensibility, resulting in an elegiac tone that somehow suggests overlapping aspects of Fahey, Satie and Reilly. There's a synesthesiac quality to Nelson's compositions that seems to paint with the colour blue and its contrasting meanings - blue skies, rivers, oceans, but the emotional blue, too. Which is to say, this is both elemental and sentimental music, what Nelson himself calls, “a signal to help others through rocks and dangerous currents". I've taken a whole paragraph to get to what he's expressed in a single line. No surprises in that, really - the evidence was always there in the songs themselves.
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