J.S. Hogan – Ahh, I See Pan cassette
If you’ve ever ran a label or (God forbid!) distro. dedicated to sub-underground musical marginalia, then you’re no stranger to the unsolicited e-mail requesting consideration of the sender’s wares. The vast majority of the time it’s more bemusing than anything (how exactly did this Norwegian vapor wave cum psychobilly unit catch wind of your discerning operation to begin with, much less assume you’d want to stock their latest 3″ CDr of reverent Hank Williams Jr. covers sung in their native tongue?), but every so often you get hipped to something of actual interest. And then there’s that most rare occasion when you receive something out of the blue that is truly excellent. Such was the case approximately four years ago when my inbox had a brief, nondescript message from one J.S. Hogan awaiting. Seeing as there was no mention of “skronk” in the description I gave an initially distracted listen to the file attached, though it didn’t take long to command full attention. It was clear from the get go that this was far from the merely passable field recording sound collage or aimless jammer style tape lurch I’d grown wearily accustomed to; this was The Truth. I eagerly replied back requesting whatever was available, and a week or so later several copies of the curiously titled ‘Ahh, I See Pan’ arrived in my physical mailbox, along with an even more mysterious, unpackaged tape that simply bore the handwritten labeling “J.S. Hogan & Nor Schoenke – Unfinished”. I was intrigued to say the least, spread the word to the handful of true believes I thought would care, and that was that. Until now. The release in question includes the complete audio of the two tapes I’d received that fateful day, along with a near full length’s worth of previously unreleased (a comical notion considering the unassuming manner in which ‘Ahh, I See Pan’ was originally bequeathed) material, completing the ‘Ahh, I see…’ hat trick in masterful fashion. As for the contents of this massive, fully engrossing (not a minute wasted!) C90, imagine if the first two Kluster LPs weren’t funded thru some weird religious foundation, but issued via Spagyric or Minóy Cassetteworks instead; imagine if that tired ‘ole “Beatles v. Stones” boomer gruel debate was replaced with “Smegma or The Decayes?”; imagine a world without war, famine, poverty or hardship, a stateless Arcadia where we all give each other reach-arounds while Camizole rips from on high, and “junk ambient” permeates our very core. We may never know such a happy land, but thanks to J.S. and the fine folk at Regional Bears, for a full hour and a half we can all now dare to dream.
- Tom Deangelo, 2019