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Padna - Burnt Offerings

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Artist: Padna

Album: Burnt Offerings

Label: Preservation

Review date: Jan. 18, 2013

Padna is the nom de guerre of Brooklyn’s Nat Hawks, and Burnt Offerings is a far cry from the cassette underground experimentalism where he made his name. After listening to his earlier work — basically poppy collection of buzzes and noise that coagulate with guitar, some scratchy voice and at times the creak of his chair — and new album back to back, it’s impressive how far Hawks has come over four albums. Gone is the “ambiguous is cool” motto he seemed to carry in the early days; now, every note is a controlled connection with the psychedelica Hawks so obviously loves. He’s opted for song-styled tracks, choosing to branch out within a tune’s melody, delicately and slowly, using his acoustic guitar, vintage synths, electric violin, etc., and tickle the inside of your ear.

It’s the length Padna applies to these works that makes for such a distinct sound. Psych is so rarely a slow, drawn-out process, and by stretching every sound, the listening becomes intensely personal. The sonority washes through, held together with a deep centring bass that allow for the waves of sound to float dream-like over and above the melody. And the drift is never aimless, despite all the meandering action. It’s a kaleidoscopic magnifying glass, highlighting those intense moments of pop and fuzz that psychedelica offers in so much abundance that’s rarely absorbed fully. Added to the rolling intonation is a complex revolving movement with sounds meshing in resplendent harmonies and gently clashing in cacophonies of experimental slides and swelling subterranean pulses.

The disc opens with “Ddiigduggg,” a gentle, affectionate ode to 1980s arcade music that swells into to a twinkling ambient drone. “Caphonic Fog” feels like a time-travelling stroll thanks to its muted piano and muffled voices. By the time the disc reaches “Pelts,” the album’s hallmark sound – Hawks’s lilting guitar and its wash of whispered noise -- is firmly in place and doesn’t go anywhere (or disappoint) the rest of the album. Close your eyes and see where it takes you.

By Lisa Thatcher

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