Moving into calmer waters from yesterday, New York-based group Jantar’s “Panispera” is a mostly contemplative affair focusing on lush harmonies, extended instrumental breaks and at times hypnotizing stretches of stasis.
“Saint Margaret of Antioch” features some of the aforementioned lushness in the form of three-part vocal harmonies in the opening minutes. The remainder of the nine-plus minute epic is an expansive instrumental break that is akin to meditative psych-rock.
All but two of the album’s six tracks stretch beyond the nine-minute mark, with the exceptions being opener “Born Without Bones” and the understated “Udolpho” clocking in at fifty seconds and ninety-five seconds, respectively. “New Fête Galante Blues,” which closes the album, is the longest of the album’s offerings, at eleven and a half minutes.
I wouldn’t normally focus on track timings, but I think that it becomes an important element with a group like Jantar, or an album like “Panisperna.” The songs here benefit from not being crammed into diminutive forms. Slower harmonic rhythms allow solos to search for their footing and extend ideas over the course of repeated musical phrases.
Take for example the sax solo on “Oracle Repetition and Departure.” Naturally it exudes a little bit of a “Dark Side of the Moon” vibe, but it never approaches the stratosphere, or aspires to virtuosity. Instead we’re treated to a spacious, continually expanding melody that never separates itself entirely from the underlying material.That, I think, is the key here. To throw in some sort of wild, instrumental acrobatics would be completely unfitting anywhere on “Panisperna,” though I’m sure at times it would be tempting to do exactly that. Across the album’s longest tracks listener’s are given well constructed songs up front in more or less traditional structures, with thoughtful extrapolations of those songs then following.