Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Polo & Pan at Wonder Ballroom 09/25/2019 / Photos and review


It was 1865 when Alice took her first trip down the rabbit hole. A life-changing journey that had her talking with giant caterpillars, riddling with a mad hatter, and swimming through her own tears. Such an exotic adventure requires an equally exotic soundtrack. Unforeseen by Alice at the time, but that soundtrack was under orchestration by a pair of French musicians from the early 2000’s: Polo & Pan.

Bringing a wave of unrivaled energy, Polo & Pan, aka Paul Armand-Delille and Alexandre Grynszpan, push you headfirst into a mind-freeing rhythm of pulsating bass and flairing keys. With inventive usage of arpeggiators and synths, they transform common sounds into a carnival of melodic oddities, sampling everything from snaps and claps to pan flutes and modulated chanting.

The beats vibrate and evolve, leaving you constantly tumbling through new layers of imagination. You can feel yourself swagger-waltzing your way down the French Riviera to songs like “Canopee”, and then dance-mobbing your way through Colombian jungles to the xylophonic sound of “Coeur d’Artichaut.” They even place you directly on the yellow-brick road with “Dorothy,” a Wizard of Oz tribute that takes you on an odyssey of bells, bumps, and high-frequency vocals which bring to life a range of L. Frank Baum’s timeless characters.

Fans of Daft Punk will notice a continuum of modulated vocals that accompany the journey, ranging across French, Spanish, and English lyrics, but it’s an instrument forward production that showers sunshine across all the tracks on their debut album Caravelle. The work put in to create an album with such a cohesive (yet non-repetitive) sound is worth lauding in an era of singles and one-off hits. Through the dark and the light, Polo & Pan unfold a full sound departure from the usual day-to-day, and it’s worth punching a ticket for anyone after a trip back to Wonderland.

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