Review: Phasen – The Crisis Is Over

My initial impressions of 19 year-old Ryan Parmer is that he probably doesn’t get out much. That’s not an insult, merely an observation as this Anthropology student’s discography since the beginning of 2007 is prolific to say the least and I have to wonder how he finds free time between studies and music. Recorded in his tiny dormatory room, ‘The Crisis Is Over’ is an electronica album which befits the compact loneliness of its origins.

Parmer asserts that every track is an “intended representation of his current mood’. If that’s the case then he is a man who is inspired by sadness since virtually everything on this record is infused with a sense of melancholia. Most of the time it’s melodic and gentle techno like the self-explanatory ‘That Rainy Day Feeling I Get’ but occasionally it hints at darker depths and that’s when things get really interesting. ‘Another Weekend Trip’ is a fully formed number; made up of several layers of insistent beats and a wistful tune. Both this and the haunted sounds of stunning ten-minute centrepiece ‘Tropiconica’ are amongst the best tracks of the genre that I’ve had the pleasure to hear this year. In addition, the acoustic guitar loop featured on ‘Beau’ demonstrates Parmer is equally comfortable in the “folktronica” zone.

‘The Crisis Is Over’ may peak in the middle and tail off towards its denoument but clearly Parmer is a talent to watch amongst a mass of artists in this crowded field. If he performs consistently well, the Anthropology degree may not be required after all.

Web Sites:
Phasen Myspace
Distant Noise Records Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
Aphex Twin, David Newlyn, Line Noise

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