Kranky’s Pan American aka Mark Nelson makes a rare European appearance at Arkaoda in Neukölln this November. Local support will come from D/B team member Dirk Markham who together with the animator Marcus Gryszock will present another performance of their A/V project The Karmic Laws.
During the summer of 1997, Mark Nelson started recording a full length album for kranky at home and at Sound of Music Studios in Richmond, Virginia. Mark Nelson had been playing guitar and singing in Labradford, but wanted to explore the possibilities of sampling and computer technology as well as his interests in dub and techno. The self-titled, debut Pan American album came out on kranky in early 1998.
Nelson continued to work on Pan American material as he worked with Labradford, learning to play pedal steel guitar, releasing singles on European labels and getting some studio time in with engineer Casey Rice. Rob Mazurek from Chicago Underground Trio and Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low contributed cornet and vocals, respectively. The resulting album, 360 Business / 360 Bypass, was released by kranky in North America (and Blast First in Europe) in early 2000.
More singles and compilation tracks followed, along with the odd live performance. Nelson’s placement behind a synthesizer and mixing desk belied the improvisational nature of the live mix. Between sternum-rattling bass rhythms and Nelson’s willingness to challenge an audience of with outbursts of static, Pan American shows were more than the usual knob-twiddling and smooth noodle maps.
The third record was entitled The River Made No Sound and was released by kranky in North American and Vertical Form in Europe in April 2002. Mark Nelson told Eyemagazine in October 2002 that “When I started I really had it in mind to make a more rhythmic record influenced by house music. I did the whole thing at home by myself, so I guess by the end my natural inclination towards ambience and peaceful textures won out.” Stripped back compared to previous albums, The River Made No Sound, traded dub undertow for percussive points, field recordings and an ominous hum.
The Karmic Laws is an original collaborative audio-visual performance between Erfurt based animator and film maker Marcus Gryszock and Dirk Markham, a Scottish musician resident in Berlin since 2005. The 2 artists have worked together on various projects such as videos, workshops and live shows since 2008. For The Karmic Laws Gryszock presents visuals in a form not usually associated with live performance, namely stop-motion animation. This gives audience member a rare chance to see behind the scenes of such a laborious process, while the moving image is constantly looped and seen to develop before your very eyes.
The soundtrack is provided by Markham who also uses a strictly real-time process with no parts prepared in advance. All loops and samples are created from scratch in the moment and layered to create an evocative soundscape of ambient drones resulting in an instant composition. Each performance brings them closer to their goal of creating a full length music video based on the live stop-motion animation created during their performances.
Pan American & The Karmic Laws
Tuesday, 13th November 2018 | 20:00 CET
arkaoda | Karl-Marx-Platz 16 | 12043 Berlin
Photo credit Mark Nelson