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Fly Pan Am


Fly Pan Am - Fly Pan Am

Fly Pan Am
Constellation - 1999


Michael Panontin
Originally a side project for Godspeed You! Black Emperor guitarist Roger Tellier (until he left GYBE altogether in 2004), Fly Pan Am flesh out intense instrumental excursions on this eponymous first disc. But whereas GYBE, at least on their earlier discs, explored a sort of chamber rock minimalism drenched in despair and lament, Fly Pan Am is a decidedly lighter alternative, eschewing strings for spiralling guitars and taut, disciplined drum marches.

Sometimes this formula works, such as on the album's brilliant opening cut, 'L'espace au sol est redessine par d'immenses panneux bleus', where Fly Pan Am merge a languid and hypnotic twangy guitar riff with high-pitched twirling guitar noodles. It's 13 minutes and 30 seconds of guitar bliss topped with a final mesmerizing drone that wouldn't be out of place on a :Zoviet*France: record were it to be drawn out for another ten minutes or so. Some tracks, like 'Et aussi l'eclairage de plastique au centre de tout ces compartiments lateraux', though still intriguing, actually mark a bit of a regression as the band hash out post-punk chords that descend into garagebanddom, kind of like the early Fire Engines.

Still others - 'Dans ses chevaux soixante circuits' for instance - explore more traditional post-rock meanderings, using raw, almost deceptively amateurish repetition, a sort of naive-art that at times recalls the Shaggs, though this can be either complimentary or insulting, take your pick. 'Bibi a Nice, 1921' comes across as a proper rock song for the middle three minutes, a psychedelic guitar assault of immense intensity before settling down to more post-rock twiddling. Finally 'Nice est en feu' unravels into some plodding, regal guitar plucking backed by female vocals - not terribly compelling itself, though hardly a throwaway.

Still, Fly Pan Am is a promising disc, especially for the sheer marvel of the opener 'L'espace au sol...', and definitely warrants some attention, if in fact these minimal guitar noodles are your thing.

         


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     Constellation


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