Review: pantea – Things


“Magic happens in the space between Listening and the listener, where there is only verbs.”

This is taken from the text accompanying Things, whose title is perfect in being a placeholder for possible objects: a recognition of an outline, an entity, yet to be specified. And so these six tracks exist in “only verbs” – scrapings, cracklings, scuttlings, scrunchings – with each offering clues as to the objective identity of the “thing”, yet each contradicting the last so that a correct categorisation is always out of reach, keeping Things trapped in the realm of the potential. Even recognisable sources (the crunch of footsteps, human voices pushing through dead air), are processed in a way that displaces them; pantea severs them from earthly association, reducing them to blurry miscellanea.

Everything moves so quickly. What emerges is promptly obfuscated by another, then vanishes. The space shrinks, becomes distant, then lunges forward to envelop the head. Glimmers pop out from a buckled cylinder of traffic noise, stretching into electronic beeps like lights seen in passing, then melt into rain, then obliterate into particles of static. The beautiful paradox of Things is that it carries the “sense” (another vague encapsulator) of continuity and organic momentum, even as these sounds contort in such a way that refutes the kinetic language of nature, spasming disobediently against gravity and skeletal design. It beckons obsessive repeat listens, offering the vague suggestion that repeated exposure might lead to a sharper, less ambiguous render. Yet each time, this quivering sprawl refuses to collapse into something definitive. If anything, the contradictions only seem to grow in size.