[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
So once more we’re back out in the desert with Panamint Manse only we’re there after a rainstorm. If you’ve ever been in his sort of landscape after one you’ll soon notice just how much life such a place can hide; the colors burst forth from his sonic palette and through the usage of precision electronics a splendid tableau of organic synthesis emerges. What is apparent is that this record is the chronicle of an artist evolving; if what came before was a stately affair comprised of melancholic wanderings then what I’m encountering here are the beginnings of experimentalism.
‘The Gravel Ghost’ is a transitional outing, rhythmically it is far more focused than his debut and what he uses to fill the spaces between beats has a flair for adventure and even a bit of optimism. If you recall when he first came to us it wasn’t the happiest of topics he was addressing; it’s no bright and shiny slice of synth-pop he’s offered up for his sophomore release but it does feel larger, roomier, as if his canvas has grown and reveals him trying to exceed it’s limitations. No true artist can remain static for long, they must seek what lies beyond their perception.
Panamint Manse will, in time, become an entity a lot more people know of; his songwriting chops are certainly in evidence on tracks such as “Wildrose”. I can almost see the bloom opening while this one plays out, each petal responding to both light and darkness… its life cycle ebbing and flowing along with the conditions in which it exists. His style of composition I’m going to base on the concept of time-lapse photography except that unlike it he’s not leaving his lens open one moment longer than is necessary to achieve the image desired.
One other facet to this record which impressed me was the variety of sounds he employed in making it, you won’t have any carbon copy moments as you play through the pieces. If you’ve been keeping a close enough eye on him (guilty) then hearing another version of “Rock Paint” will be a pleasant surprise. No mere remix, either, he’s gone in and thoroughly re-worked it completely changing the tone; this kind of obsessive detailing is emblematic of those who cannot be satisfied with mapping out only one musical arena but instead poke and prod at the seams seeking to transcend and then ultimately traverse through them.