Not long after finishing his debut album, Nature System, RamonPang returned to his studio and got back into it without missing a beat to bring us Third Places. RamonPang is […]
Not long after finishing his debut album, Nature System, RamonPang returned to his studio and got back into it without missing a beat to bring us Third Places. RamonPang is an LA-based left-field trap and IDM DJ/Producer, but Ramon Tumbucon is also a writer, graphic designer, label head of Tabula Rasa Records, part of Soul Food Collective, and helps the crew over at Brownies & Lemonade. While this may sound like a lot for one person to have on their plate, all of these outlets come to RamonPang naturally, just as natural as creating a masterpiece like Third Places.
Third Places was born from Ramon’s idea and passion to take listeners to the times and places where inspiration can be found, as well as the exhilarating, sometimes frustrating, headspace it can create. Whether it be midday on a hike, at a hole-in-the-wall club at three AM, a quiet moment at dusk on the beach, passing a rancid manhole on your way into work, wherever and whenever inspiration finds us it sends us to another realm that’s overflowing with creativity. In his own words in the form of a Twitter thread:
THIRD PLACES: the past few years, I’ve attended tons of events + parties. Had many walks in neighborhoods I’ve never been. Gone on some strange ass discords. More times than not, I walk away inspired.
It pisses me off. Why now of all fucking places. Why not in the studio??
— RamonPang (@RamonPang) August 2, 2022
Exploring Third Places
The project’s opener, “Recklessly,” effortlessly brings together a sultry vocal sample, heavenly harp, off-kilter glitches, and tickling trap drums to set the expectations for the album, to have none. RamonPang is an expert at juxtaposing elements of a track harmoniously, which leaves listeners hanging on every beat, wondering what will be thrown into the mix next. Spirited tambourine and joyous gospel choir vocals on the next track were the last things on my mind, but a nostalgic surprise nonetheless.
As someone who grew up attending church, something I will never forget is the music and its ability to emotionally charge a room. “Mondegreen” energizes listeners by picking up the pace, opening with rolling breakbeats, and injecting us with jubilation. Playing off the title, this meta-tune chops and blends the vocals beyond understanding leaving its interpretation up to the listener.
There is no need for interpretation on “Loud and Tranquil,” though. Truly both equal parts loud and tranquil, the track takes you to a relaxing beach before it turns the volume up on some delicious tech-house beats, all infused with his recognizable harps and serene ambiance.
“No Internet” and “Dew”, at the center of the project, offer new paces. “No Internet” provokes a feeling of idling with calming drums and quirky synths, while “Dew” provokes the feeling of pondering with a tantalizing vocal sample and progressive polyrhythms. Both tracks are different polarities, but both “No Internet” and “Dew” navigate us through very specific feelings and headspaces using soundwaves as their vehicle.
The leading single, “Hold Me Under,” takes us out of our heads and into our feels with milky vocals and a free-fall of glitches and blips. This release is an excellent example of RamonPang’s ability to use song structure to subvert listeners’ expectations, and heading into “World Checkpoint” it’s the reality check we need.
Abandoning conventions, “World Checkpoint” is the place between places, a Third Place. This otherworldly, serene eleven-minute conclusion to Third Places reminds listeners that our expectations affect the art that is created. If the pressure to make three to five minute heaters got to every artist, we would miss out on so much necessary art, like “World Checkpoint.”
What did you think of RamonPang’s album Third Places? Let us know down in the comments or on our socials! Also, be sure to peep the breaks-fueled guest mix contribution he provided us earlier in the year here.