If instead of pre-war blues, Beck had been schooled on 80s Euro disco and cheesy Japanese anime soundtracks, he’d probably be making music that sounds like the joints James Pants produced for Welcome, his Stones Throw debut. But our boy Pants seems to have a way of using the inspiration of recordings by, say, Jean-Pierre Massiera’s Visitors and Juan Atkins’s Cybotron to make blander, funk-free facsimilies without ever establishing a James Pants signature sound.
He’s much better at showing off his record collection on the well-chilled Ice Castles, which purports to be a James Pants mix disc. However, the jarring way he sequences tracks by Yellow Magic Orchestra and Weather Report, followed by the pop-tronic experiments of Mort Garson, Bruce Haack and Patrick Gleeson, makes calling Ice Castles a “mix” a stretch. We can only hope this is the stuff he’ll be dropping during his NXNE showcase slot.
James Pants chills out the Stones Throw party at the Wrongbar Friday (June 13) at 1:30 am.