Inch-time Myth & Impermanence (Mystery Plays Record)
Australian born-London based producer Stefan Panczak’s new album under the name Inch Time) combines experimental jazz with ambience and electronica. Paul Scott-Bates had a listen and liked what he heard.
Having just reviewed the new Four Tet album, 0181 it was interesting that next up should be something with which it could sit shoulder to shoulder.
The new album from Inch Time aka Stefan Panczak is a quite lovely little affair, with influences from the worlds of jazz (The Necks), post-rock (Tortoise) and Arabesque dub (Demdike Stare). The follow up to 2011’s The Floating World, Myth & Impermanence is not only a marvellous album title but also a collection of eleven instrumentals of impressive quality – the Australian born producer has an ear for an addictive tune.
As a long-time fan of Depeche Mode I found album opener Time Of The Fire similar sounding to one of the Basildon boys’ remixes. Early sounds reminiscent of Barrel Of A Gun and a lovely clean drumsound, deep bass and interesting effects. Some early spoken voice and baritone sounds fading in and out. The driving percussion is soon joined by a simple guitar sound creating a very effective track and adding a new dimension. A xylophone sounds emerges and adds a magical quality – almost imaginable in a Buddhist temple. Incredibly entertaining and interesting.
Slowing down slightly with some atmospheric sounds and a jazz percussion courtesy of Karl Penney, The Sun Myth breezes along with an improvised and almost random feel. Creating a sense of complete weightlessness, another guest musician, Alex Bonney adds to the experimental vibe with a striking trumpet solo or two. The minimal feel continues with Woods a track that has ‘dub me’ written all over it. Tinkling keyboards, nice effects and ‘whirrs’ held together by the bass of Olie Brice, one of the UK’s finest jazz musicians.
Almost ambient, Stapedius creates soundscapes and tones which are incredibly subtle. Very slight noises, very relaxing – think massage rather than dance. Slightly taxing but so pleasant to listen to that I’d drifted away slightly and was halfway through track 5, Night Falls. Strumming guitars over ebbing water, again I’m thinking eastern temples through the sounds of rustling wind and cymbals. The occasional stroke of a drum and blow of brass, the track doesn’t really ‘go’ anywhere, but, in a way, that’s its beauty.
Black Mountain is slightly more on the electronic side, again a little like the Mode with a wind instrument of sorts and spoken samples dying down to an eerie silence. Home is a track that’s gone before you know it – completely mesmerising – you begin to realise that on second listen, this album is actually quite a beautiful piece of work. In some ways, not ideal music to listen to in the car due to the calming nature of the sounds, The Devil In Any Key and One After Another exquisite in their simpleness, and, addictive in a similar way to Transmission 13’s Kaleidoscopio album from last year.
At just over a minute, Impermanence is one of those tracks that I often don’t see the point in. It starts, it ends straight away. Maybe it’s just me, but, album closer, Decay soon takes over. A space-age sound – echoes, atmospheric with less jazz but more synth. A slight percussion almost akin to dripping water fading out and leaving the album in a truly inspiring way.
Panczak describes the album as one to “get lost in, to be played after-hours” and I couldn’t agree more. An album, which for me on second listen, really ‘clicked’ and became something rather nice.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.