Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Daniel Ladiks, artistically known as panDem, is an aspiring Techno & Tech House DJ/Producer originally from Latvia. He was born into a musical family – his grandfather was a famous accordion player and his mother an accomplished singer and keyboardist. Daniel himself, attended musical school for over 8 years, taking both piano and accordion lessons. He started DJ’ing at age 13, although he admits he kept it in the background due to his many other interests. panDem’s latest twin-song EP “Secret” embraces a sentiment that John Digweed once expressed about minimal electronic music – That good minimal techno contains as much relative importance in the audible sound as it does in the absence of sound.
Mastering the devilish attitude that accompanies darkened rooms, dance clubs and unfamiliar faces, panDem emerges with a strong, energetic and intriguing recording that is built on classic no-nonsense four-to-the-floor Tech.
This is an interesting period for this genre. For the last 2-3 years many DJ/Producers have spun a wide array of overwhelming electronica in the search for the pulse of house music while at the same time attempting to blaze a path forward onto the mainstream Top40 charts.
panDem takes a different route, moving from what is best understood to be Pop/EDM hybrids to a nostalgic neo-tech-house that is true to the recesses of those dark, comforting and subliminal places where we exit from our daytime lives.
I’ve been listening to electronic music for a long time, and while I dearly love it, the genre also has a tendency towards mind-blowing pomposity that simply boggles the mind. Luckily panDem is on another electronic page, one which is more pure and direct.
The tracks “Secret” and “Space Travel” on this set reflect a kind of signature panDem sound which is best indicated in the way he handles sonics, space, and the consistent beat rates embedded in his tracks. More than just atmospheric music, this is intense, seductive, and the power behind it is best described as magnetic.
The journey on “Secret” takes you from a singular bass kick through hi-hats and horns, and then as you settle in, ever outward until there is no sense of time, just the pulse of the rhythm emblazoning its impressions on your mind. There is no high or low point. It’s all very constant. Not repetitive, mind you, but constant.
The second track, “Space Travel” is dark, moody and still makes you dance, wiggle and oh yes, smile. It also exemplifies what a DJ/Producer, looking beyond two turntables and a mixer can accomplish. panDem uses his drums as a foundation and spices them up with subtle drama that effectively guides listeners into a state of mild, controllable, hypnosis.
Don’t expect any melodies to rush at you and teleport you into the safety of commercial club dance. The bass will throb against your eardrums. Those drums will pound. And then come the synths to catch you. Deep, dark, punchy, celebratory, cathartic. This is the sort of Techno music you can completely lose yourself in.
The quality of recording is outstanding, and the engineering second-to-none. panDem is a shining example of what a versatile and forward thinking DJ and producer is capable of, without being overwhelming. You don’t even need to be in the club to enjoy this EP. You can easily hit your living room floor with this one!