Pan American / Komet / Fisherofgold

Personal Settings: Preset 1

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Personal Settings is meant to be a series of split CDs. On each volume three artists, established names or newcomers, are given 15 minutes each to reaffirm their personality outside record label aesthetics, explore new grounds, or simply go crazy without any artistic restrictions. The altruistic nature of the idea notwithstanding, the concept can't help but sound slightly strange in a musical field like electronica, where the use of pseudonyms is widely spread and thus an artist has the possibility to reinvent himself or herself almost at will. The first volume features Pan American (Labradford's Mark Nelson), Komet (Frank Bretschneider), and Fisherofgold (Joe Kingman, a previously unheard electronician from Ireland). Nelson is his usual ambient dub self. "Train Station" is particularly well done, but marks no change in direction. Bretschneider delivers three tracks of minimal techno that generally sound a bit bouncier than usual -- they are also less interesting, one not necessarily going hand in hand with the other. Kingman turns out to be the real surprise here, turning in a beautiful 15-minute piece in the experimental ambient vein of Hazard and Fennesz. In the end, these Personal Settings don't sound more personal or close to home (as the cover photographs hint at) than these artists' other releases.

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