The River Made No Sound


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The River Made No Sound Review

by Andy Kellman

Mark Nelson strips it down even more for The River Made No Sound, his third record as Pan American. Nelson strips it down so much that a few of the tracks here are leavened as little as possible, thus erasing the ability to be as conducive to intense listening as Pan American and 360 Business/360 Bypass. Despite this, there's no mistaking that it's fine for the background throughout, as long as the background has something to do with a crusty-eyed morning after a sleepless night, or perhaps a stroll through a lifeless airport terminal. The rhythms vacillate between an unintrusive, occasionally four-four pitter-patter and a subtle variation on Nelson's dub-influenced thrums. Atop these rhythms, mite-like rustlings, mechanical hums, and other subtle forms of noise damage crawl and hover. The liveliest of the bunch is "Redline," the track with the most forceful forward progress and the most tension, however subtle it might remain. The rhythm makes incidental, pronounced throbs, and at least four other deceptively disparate sources weave and tangle so effortlessly that they slip by without much notice. Whether viewed as tedium or hypnotism, Nelson's third solo effort should appeal to Eno heads and those who can't get enough of micro-sound miners like Jan Jelinek.

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