Simply amazing and one of the most joyous releases of the year. Formed in 1969 and based in West London, the Ebony Steel Band celebrate their 50th anniversary this summer. Last year they took up Ian Shirley’s challenge to interpret some classic Kraftwerk tracks on steel drums. Seminal electronic songs like The Model, Spacelab, Neon Lights, Tour De France, The Robots, Computer Love and Computer World were arranged for Ebony’s 11-piece line-up taking a metal on metal instrumental approach to Kraftwerk’s visionary music. Shirley also got the Ebony Steel Band to take on older Kraftwerk material like Europe Endless, Kometenmelodie 2 as well as serving up an amazing interpretation of Tanzmusik as Tanzmusik (Jump Up).
Recorded in two sessions at The Pool in Elephant and Castle in April 2018 and 2019 this LP is essential for fans of Kraftwerk, electronic music and steel bands. The album is called Pan Machine as ‘Pan’ is another name for a steel drum. When it came to sleeve design, Shirley hired famed snapper Lawrence Watson (from The Smiths to Noel Gallagher) to photograph the band in Man Machine era poses for an album that is aptly called Pan Machine as a mark of deep respect to the greatest electronic band in the world. So, this record looks as good as it sounds.
Check a track out here