Pan American set to release new album A Son via Kranky incoming 8th November


Legacy Chicago craftsman Mark Nelson’s latest offering as Pan•American is less a distillation or divergence than it is a return to his musical and spiritual beginnings. Spare, subdued, and largely acoustic, A Son unfurls like late summer dusk on the edge of town, expansive but intimate. 

Motivated by notions of “moving backward” and tracing roots – as well as a couple years of hammered dulcimer lessons – the album’s nine songs were written and recorded in his home in Evanston, Illinois, and honed during a recent solo tour in Europe. The emphasis on uncluttered arrangements and the centrality of the guitar and vocals reveal these songs as the most direct and emotional statement of his career. Nelson cites everything from June Tabor, The Carter Family, Suicide and Jimmy Reed as oblique inspirations, though his truest muse was creative self-inquiry: “What does music do, Where does music start? How simple can it be? How honest can it be?” 

After decades of mining post-rock pathways and latticework electronics in Labradford and early Pan•American, A Son strips away ornament and distraction in favor of a direct gaze into the heart of what is. 

track listing:

1. Ivory Joe Hunter, Little Walter 

2. Memphis Helena 

3. Sleepwalk Guitars 

4. Brewthru

 5. Dark Birds Empty Fields 

6. Drunk Father 

7. Muriel Spark 

8. Kept Quiet 

9. Shenandoah 

Press quotes for previous album Cloud Room, Glass Room: 

“The way Nelson can beautifully guide a song via the peaks and troughs of his guitar playing must surely come easy to him at this point, although there’s never a sense of him lapsing into auto-pilot.” Pitchfork 

“That sense of being loosely unanchored from the world gives Cloud Room its alien appeal, making its instrumental drift ripe for personal interpretation.” Pitchfork“…a gorgeous piece of audio tourism…” Brainwashed 

“Serene, synthetic drones and sparse, resonate bass give the music body, and enthusiastically applied echo makes these instrumentals as dizzying as a vintage Lee Perry mix.” Magnet“Hermetically sealed but beautiful.” Uncut “

A cats cradle of ambient lushness intended to suspend the listener, pensile in its womb-like amniotic fluidity.” Boomkat 

“It’s a miniature vacation from whatever obnoxiousness might be plaguing your day.” Spin


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