Los Angeles-based producer Ramon Tambucon—better known by his stage moniker RamonPang—debuted his second LP, Third Places earlier this August. Immediately met with wide acclaim upon its release, the record is an amalgamation of distant memories: dark, exhilarating nights spent in dingy clubs with low ceilings, makeshift raves at shoddy venues, and early morning uber rides.
“I was so inspired just by being out and about and DJing,” the artist explained in an interview with Forbes. “I was going to warehouse raves for the first time, staying out until like 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. I wanted my music to be a lot more direct and dance floor-driven as well, but I wanted it to still have this at-home listening thing because my favorite music that I love is very at-home listening.”
The Filipino-American DJ’s newest LP veers away from the complex motifs of nature that enveloped his previous Nature System project and adopts the Y2K aesthetic, placing a distinct emphasis on the minimal. The LP’s art—designed by Ramon and inspired by maximalist imagery reminiscent of the neo-trance project, Virtual Self—is striking, featuring serrated, abstract shapes and a subdued color palette.
The figurative art takes an implicit form in the eclectic soundscape realized in the LP’s lead track, “Recklessly.” Subtly resounding, the dance cut invites feelings of elation, inspiring movement, and simultaneously, introspection. Sound bites interspersed alongside the thrumming of a harp and a thunderous 808, “Recklessly” is a heady trap-infused marvel.
Stand-out cut “Mondegreen” sees the artist’s playful production prowess on full display. A euphoric dance track, the sultry sounds of a saxophone, and soulful choral samples create a wildly thrilling soundscape—this is the track to play at 3am on your way to the afters.
Following the dynamic “Mondegreen” is “Loud and Tranquil”. The track is loud, and only vaguely tranquil. Breakbeats juxtapose flourishes of harmonious melodic and hip hop vocal samples.
Pang’s musical palette is quite varied, so much so that at one point he even veered from producing down-tempo works and honed his enthusiasm for club music in tracks he released under the cheeky, albeit short-lived EDM project, PLURGATTI BOY 420, currently on an indefinite hiatus.
Those familiar with RamonPang’s online presence know the artist is unabashedly forthright about his adoration for Four Tet (who featured the producer in a BBC Radio1 mix last month), trap, and an array of underground dance music subgenres. Incorporating elements from jazz, trap, electronic dance music, and wave, “Loud and Tranquil” sees RamonPang infusing these influences and more, cementing his place as a future IDM-club music heavyweight.
Sample-wonderland “No Internet” follows next. Winding 808s cut through a flux of emotive, interspersed vocal chops, creating the hypnotic yet introspective ambient soundscape we’ve come to expect from the producer. This is essential listening for trap enthusiasts and IDM-curious alike.
Next, smartly arranged and glistening with industrial elements and static sounds, the glitchy yet melodic “Dew,” “Hold Me Under,” and 11-minute ambient stunner “World Checkpoint” impress with their visceral textures and ricocheting melodies. The quick-tempo tracks feel inspired by producers Aphex Twin, Overmono, and music by his Tabula Rasa label roster artists of the likes of Kelbin, Kinoteki, Ghost Forest, and Xenon Chameleon.
Third Places is intelligent dance music for a contemporary audience. The record sees RamonPang redefining what it means to be a “genre-bending” producer in hic et nunc. The flourishing producer’s second LP is a rousing listening experience, from start to finish.
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