You needn’t listen to Meta Major, the new EP from the local post-rock outfit Pan, to understand its vibe. From the heavenly illustration that graces its cover to the ultra-encouraging song titles — “Aim High,” “Miracle Mile,” “Baton,” “The Best Day” — the album comes decked with positivity. The instrumentals within are a succession of escalating crescendos, each one more restless and joyous than the last. This group has always been a bolt of buoyant energy, but the players have never sounded so insistent, so assuredly bright. On Meta Major, the four-year-old Pan finally sounds like the band its founders envisioned.
“We really want to take people somewhere,” offers Ian Flegas, who started Pan with fellow guitarist Nathan Stewart. “We want it to be a journey in their minds. I tell people that it’s good music to listen to while you’re running or exercising or something like that. We want people to feel like they’re on the top of the world while they’re listening to it. We want people to look at it in a really positive way, like, ‘Hey, the universe has my back. The world’s not against me.’”
These jubilant intentions have been with Pan since the beginning. Sparked by jam sessions between Stewart and Flegas while Ian was staying at Nathan’s house, one of the group’s key inspirations was Fang Island, a cartoonish blur of colorful riffs and sprinting rhythms. Its first LP — 2012’s These Are the Things I Love, And I Want to Share Them With You — surges with similar vigor, led by riffs that never stop swelling. But while the interactions between Stewart and Flegas are explosive, the other dynamics are fairly flat.
Meta Major is a fuller listen, thanks in large part to one key addition: violin. Flegas had been after Kayla Breitwieser, who now plays in Pan, to join the group three years ago. The violinist wasn’t interested back then, but she ended up dating Stewart. After hanging around practices, she soon became an integral part of the sound.
On “Miracle Mile,” she offers smooth strokes, a delicate complement to churning riffs. On “Baton,” her frenzied melodies frolic atop the band’s urgent uplift, occasionally harmonizing with effects-laden guitar. Pan has never sounded so complete.
“The violin just fills in some of the cracks,” Breitwieser explains. “A lot of Pan’s dynamics are very orchestral, so you have a lot of big, epic sounds. And what’s better with an epic sound than a whole violin section? One works for our group, but we talk about it all the time: ‘What if we had like 10 guitars? Five basses? Two drums? And a whole string section?’ We’d be the next Trans-Siberian Orchestra.”
Pan also recorded Meta Major live to tape at The Jam Room, capturing the group’s onstage presence in a way previous releases have not. It was a timely decision, as the band’s long-fluid lineup had finally solidified. Most of the players from the EP are still with Pan, and while a new bassist might be needed soon, no major shifts are expected.
This stability has allowed Stewart and Flegas to concentrate on progress instead of teaching new members old songs. They hope to enter the studio early next year to record another small platter. And while Pan was on the road more than ever this year, playing some 80-odd shows in places all over the eastern part of the country, they plan to hit it hard again in 2014, determined to expand their connections throughout the Southeast.
“You develop a sense of camaraderie,” Flegas says of the road. “That really does mean a lot with a band. It’s not just five people playing music together. You kind of develop a sense of family. That translates into writing music. It means more to you knowing that you have other people there that you can rely on.”
Pan plays Friday, Dec. 13, at Hunter-Gatherer. Hunter-Gatherer is at 900 Main St. Music begins at 11 p.m.; admission is $5. Call 748-0540 or visit huntergathererbrewery.com for more information.
Not Your Typical Greek Restaurant
Ariana’s in West Columbia serves up delicious all-natural, low carb dishes, as well as homemade bread and baklava. Come try the best salad dressing in town! Location info and hours here.
A two-day outdoor art and crafts show celebrating its 38th year. Being held on September 5 & 6, 2014, Click for details
Back to School Tattoo Specials
Magnum Ink is offering 1/2 off all tattoos for students over 18 as well as 2 for $60 on letters or numbers for state employees. 1405 Rushmore Road, Suite B, right off of Broad River.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Accepting Applications for Shakespeare’s Kidz!
Students ages 10-16 are invited to join South Carolina Shakespeare’s new youth company, with classes running September 20th-December 11th followed by a final performance. Learn and hone audition skills, monologues, and scenes from Shakespeare and modern works! Contact Katie Mixon with questions about scholarships and applications: PKatieMixon@gmail.com.
Music Break at Music Farm Columbia
Join COR for an evening of networking for music and business leaders on September 3rd, featuring performances by Josh Roberts and the Hinges, Death of Paris, Fat Rat Da Czar, and Lazy A and the Green Thang. Free admission for musicians and members! Register here.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Company seeking carpenters, plumbers, masons work is year around with a 40 year old company. Starting pay is $10.00 but experienced individuals will be compensated accordingly. Must have a clean driving record and must bring a copy of your driving record to the interview. Please call 803-865-1200.
Pool Cleaning-Full and part time available. Must have a clean driving record, be organized and have a professional appearance. Starting Pay is $10.00 per hr, please call for an interview, please bring a copy of your Driving record and a list of all past employers with duration of employment listed as well as telephone numbers for references. Cal 803-865-1200
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Mungo Homes. Celebrating 60 years of our family building for your family. mungo.com