Review: Panchasila – Panchasila (Discrepant, Aug 24)

Argentinian artist Panchasila’s self titled cassette is the soundtrack to a steamy, psychedelic stumble through the jungle. Rhythmic collages are constructed from tribal percussion samples, low-quality dictaphone recordings, warm tape hiss and vinyl crackles, and clips from cumbia and other ethnic songs. Most of the sound on the album remains in the mid to low frequency range, giving everything an aquatic stuffiness that seems to hang in the air like our dear old friend humidity. Panchasila’s heady, lethargic rhythms are prominent yet hold barely any governance over the swirling sounds also present, which creates an interesting contrast — and unearths possibilities for unique progressions, as the rhythmless elements slowly align to the percussion. Closing track “Salt” is a perfect example, and also happens to be the best cut from the album, bouncing vivid bird call cacophonies and head-bobbing marimba melodies off a backbone of hand drum loops. Panchasila is nocturnal, surreal, hallucinatory…but all in that mysteriously comforting way that could only be recreated by a darkness-drenched rain forest.