Pan American

The River Made No Sound

On his third outing with side-project Pan American, master of ambient minimalism Mark Nelson (of Richmond, Va., post-rock greats Labradford) offers more lurking soundscape fare: carefully edited electronica with a dub aesthetic that builds textural balance through blips and ebbing aural drone.

After touring Europe, Australia and North America the last two years (including the Sonar 2000 Fest in Barcelona), Nelson is adept at creating his own delicate, haunted space—one that mesmerizes as it gradually congeals, with aural afterimages composed through ticking clocks/metronomes, eerie keyboard and ghostlike sound samples (was that the echoes from a busy European train station?).

Having emerged from within the Virginia Commonwealth University art scene near the historic cobblestone streets of an old-tobacco city where Poe once roamed, Nelson seems more like a brooding poet himself. His structured though seemingly impulsive electronic work requires a thoughtful ear—entrancing tracks like “Plains,” “For a Running Dog” and “Raised Wall” offer nothing if not vivid, resonant pictures for the mind’s eye.

If you’re into modern mood music and bedroom studio electronic art, this is worth a spin—as with any project of Nelson’s, a man doing beautiful work with what some still consider a sterile, unfeeling medium. (Release date: March 25.)