Red Panda: Ferrimagnetic
Scarcelight Recordings

Given how contemporary it sounds, it's hard to believe the source material for this collection of blurred guitar etchings is bedroom recordings from the mid-‘90s. Culled from 12 cassette tapes and a CDR, the eight pieces were recorded by Red Panda over a nearly ten year period. Red Panda's identity isn't revealed though one guesses it might be Chris Jeely (aka Accelera Deck), considering that guitar is the dominant sound source. Not conventional guitar, of course, but guitar that in the right hands turns malleable enough to generate blistered meditations (“Valerie No. 4”), crystalline ambiance (“Here,” “Wish”), and haunted timbres (“Nightwatch,” “This Subtle Gravity”).

With its angelic shadings and whistling whorls, “Cyanic Pull” might be the most captivating piece, in part because of the skipping clicks that flutter across its ringing shimmer and plummeting wails (the skips, incidentally, caused by unrepairable scratches on the severely scratched CDR). One anomalous moment occurs amidst the cycling washes and cascading ripples of “Solstice,” specifically a propulsive rhythm pattern, conspicuous for being the singular instance of such on an otherwise ambient collection. Despite the album's scattered origins, a uniform sound coheres with its ghostly murmurings revealing a melancholy core deep within the cavernous blur.

March 2005