Panorama is a collection of atmospheric electronic tracks that combine vintage analog synths, lo-fi elements, ambient soundscaping and gritty samples to create evocative songs that fans of Bibio, Boards of Canada, the Ghost Box label and Eighties synth pop will enjoy in equal measure. Like many of the aforementioned bands, 'Panorama' electronically generated minor key melancholy, as well the idea of using nostalgia and memories as inspiration.
Two recurring themes in Tremolo Audio's music are travel and memories, which is crystallized on the cover images for both 'Panorama' and 'Visitas' (the companion album of remixes of tracks from this album): Both sport photographs of old people surveying a magnificent landscape from a mountain top. The fact that these images come from a box of slides ('someone's discarded memories' Verdin says) bought at a flea maket, adds an extra layer of poignancy.
Producer Jorge Verdin got his start as a member of Tijuana, Mexico's pioneering Nortec Collective, working under the name Clorofila. Tremolo Audio became his outlet for experimenting with his collection of drum machines, samplers, tape machines and synths, as well as guitars. In fact, if pressed to come up with a quick description of Tremolo Audio's sound, Verdin would say that it is a sonic space where guitars and electronic instruments overlap, which is pretty what happens when frustrated guitarists wind up picking up electronic instruments instead of practicing scales.
Both 'Parachito' and 'AIO' came from playing around with a cheap nylon string child's Paracho guitar a friend let him borrow, but with strikingly different results once Verdin's electronic side kicks in. On 'AIO' the sampled guitar is processed into liquified distorted blues figures, while on 'Parachito', the guitars lightly arpeggio and flicker over a synthetic beat and analog synth growl. 'Cipollina' was not inspired by Quicksilver Messenger Service's guitarist, both rather an jazzy Aztec Camera song Verdin wanted to replicate - the title actually came from the sound of chopping green onions he used to create the rhythm track. In 'Broken Bolero' Verdin sampled a decades old cassette boom box recording of himself playing yet another borrowed guitar, which he laid over some Fila Brazillia inspired beats, to create a trip hop cover version of a non existent Latin torch song.
For 'Colibri' Verdin brought in session guitarist and friend Tom Strahle to create a filigree of interwoven classical and steel string guitar lines over some minimalist keyboard motifs in 6/8 time. Strahle also adds atmospheric guitars on 'Taxi Negro' and even a cloud of mandolins on the mainly synthetic, motorik inspired 'Transito' to create a shimmering glow to bring the happy shiny track to a close.
It is on tracks like 'Transito' and album opener 'Monza', where Verdin indulges his obsession with vintage synths and drum machines, as well as his love of the music of Eighties synth pop masters such as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, New Order, Depeche Mode and others. It's from those bands that Verdin developed a taste for melodic hooks, atmospheric sounds and driving rhythms, which are evident in 'Interstate Sunset', a track inspired by a late afternoon Sunday drive along the California coastline. A snaking synth brings to mind the winding road, while the circular shifting chord pattern coaxed from a failing Korg EX800 module, emulates dark clouds moving over sea and land, while a dynamic Roland 606 beat drives the track.The overall effect is evocative and propulsive at the same time, like classic Kraftwerk or recent material The Advisory Circle.
These seemingly contrasting elements are what make up the album. 'Panorama' is the sound of guitars off dusty cassette tapes, sparkling synthesizers and half remembered feelings from the past, all coming together to transport the listener to a state of head bobbing reverie.