Blue is a sure color of Winter. The sedate, cool color is always there when the temperature plummets, and the blue of the water is reflected in the star sign of Aquarius. Icy in both its appearance and in its music, Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor is a blast of clear January air and is the second entry in Geographic North’s continuing series.
Pan American drops us in a very cold yet not completely inhospitable place. There are lifeforms here, but they are microscopic rhythms that carry tiny electronic shells. Melodies repeat and reverberate from inside an icy cavern. The clear, reflective tones glisten and glide over the music, as clear as an icy lake. Sensors show no other signs of activity.
The placid nature of the music may just hide some hostility. It’s unclear if the music is lying in a sleepy ambient state, or if it’s suffering from a severe case of frostbite and is unable to move. Like Loscil, Pan American uses electronic textures and deep, snowy melodies, and the result is frozen music. The electronic blips rhythmically repeat, sometimes creating new patterns as they go. While this happens, a lower drone lies prone. It’s as still as frozen stone, with only a thin hint of percussion for company. The long winter months drag on and on, and the opening track “The Terrace” plays out slowly, spanning twelve minutes and dropping in temperature with every passing second. The music is a cold pyramid of restriction, containment and preservation.
“Rue Corridor” adds a gently undulating electronic signal to the mix, and it repeats steadily from start to finish. Its electronic ping is the unhurried blip of a black box recorder, which must be located somewhere in the icy depths. Fragmented melodies emerge from hibernation, and lighter tones sparkle on the surface of the ice. You feel a little isolated, cut off from civilization by the tundra. But the concluding “Pasqual ” gives us some kind of resolution. It clears away the clouds, and under the cool, blue-hued skies the undressed branches wait patiently for the whiteout. (James Catchpole)