by Dave Segal
on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM
It’s always a pleasure to see a local artist you champion break out into international awareness. Such is the case of Panabrite (aka Norm Chambers), a Seattle synthesizer master who’s been accumulating much blog praise over the last year or so; now his work’s earned a rave review in that most stringent of print publications, The Wire. (You have to get the physical copy to read the review; it’s the August issue with Ariel Pink on the cover.)
In the review, critic Joseph Stannard writes:
[Panabrite’s music bears] some relation to Jon Brooks’s work as The Advisory Circle and the solo exploration of Zombi’s Steve Moore, but percolate[s] its own flavour of nautical wistfulness. Although Chambers’s music is created using vintage analogue synths, he doesn’t trade in anonymous burble. He composes instrumental pieces with strong, memorable melodies, layering them all with the kind of painstaking craft associated with studio obsessives such as Todd Rundgren, Lindsey Buckingham and Jeff Lynne… Chambers has released an oceanful of material in a relatively short space of time, and what’s astonishing is that it’s all tremendous.
What I’ve heard of The Baroque Atrium bears out Stannard’s enthusiasm. The disc contains some of Panabrite’s most accomplished compositions: somber, majestic, beautiful sojourns that propel your mind to vast, unknown realms. This is way beyond your assembly-line drone stuff (much of which I love, don’t get me wrong); Chambers has developed into a world-class sculptor of melodic grandeur. Those sci-fi-film and nature-documentary soundtracking assignments should start pouring in.
The Baroque Atrium is available through the Australian label Preservation.