Shameless Self-Promo: “2012 Pop Robot (Summer Mix)” by Panda Sanchez

As some of our readers may know, Panda Sanchez is the budding music project of In Harsh Light editor Richard Sanchez and writer/musician Tayne Kim. We’ve been hard at work crafting our dilettante, freshman EP to accompany our nosedive into DC’s live performance scene (see below for show dates). In particular, we’re opening for the up-and-coming metal/post-punk band Gracias, Pero No Gracias at the Velvet Lounge in DC on July 25th, 2012.  Wish us luck — and, if God willing, attend, kick back with a beer (or five), and enjoy some local indie music.

During a recent recording session, it dawned on the panda that selling its music (in increments, or as singles) might be a creative way to raise funds to help subsidize the growing costs associated with growing In Harsh Light.  We are sorry to admit that, at least for us, the cliche is true: The vast majority of artists on this floating rock we call Earth are dirt poor, and we’re no different.

So without further ado, we’re pleased to announce the release of our new single, 2012 Pop Robot (Summer Mix), whose previous incarnation was featured on In Harsh Light back in January. Here, the ideas fueling the song proved rather embryonic, and didn’t feel altogether congealed. This latest incarnation, however, remains part of a growing family of singles, some of which are already available (for free) and others that we’re still fine-tuning.

Eventually, the latter may or may not be organized under the aforementioned EP (a term that has endured/evolved with a modicum of irony). We affectionately refer to this collection of electronic tunes as Ursus Evolution. They represent both the diametric styles that brought us together initially, as well as our gradual maturation as musicians.

History Lesson

Like some ursine cousin, Panda Sanchez awoke from its hibernation in 2012. Rather, the Panda woke up. Sanchez’s musical journey had never ceased, collaborating with other creatives along the way in his exploration of electronics and pop. The story of how the Panda fell off the bandwagon is for another space and another time. Maybe he’ll tell it someday. It’s more significant that the prodigal brother returned. 2012 Pop Robot is the first track that Panda Sanchez recorded together since 2003.

Our canorous endeavors began in the early aughts as a humble acoustic duo: With two cardboard guitars, a shitty PC mic and a (er, clean) sock for a pop guard. The resulting sound was most certainly folk-inspired. Those poorly recorded tracks have been locked-up, to be revisited eventually.

The space bears march on. For now, our interests have swelled with a cacophony of other sounds, leading us into a hybrid territory of electronic music. Perhaps our sound could still be considered folk-inspired, but are more aptly described as pop.

So, dear friends and party people, enjoy the summer, and please consider downloading 2012 Pop Robot for the meager asking price of a dollar, and help support the continuance of this blog! Lastly, if you’re wondering about the story behind the Pop Robot, look no further than his origin story (any self-respecting robot needs one):

Alex, the cyborg, woke up one morning feeling like himself again. In fact, he felt vaguely … aware.
But there was a price. With germinal sentience came that rushing tsunami of pain, misery, melancholy. That is, matters of the psyche those of us carrying the weight of flesh and blood spent decades easing into. Alex, on the other hand, wasn’t granted such a luxury. Knowledge came first — and that was the burden he carried.

He also discovered fear. But fear of what, exactly? Fear of dying? No, of losing consciousness. His mind came from a random order of subatomic cataclysms and uplinked algorithms — from an unseen ether — and it was the most precious commodity of his short, nascent existence.

His maker, Allison, was a brilliant robotics engineer and A.I. programmer. He spent all of ten years alongside her, as she fastidiously fine-tuned his OS, digital codex and circuitry, underneath civilization. An undisclosed fallout lab — day in and day out.

Alex, just a torso and head suspended by cables, turned his head. He lowered his gaze to adjust his lenses. In an instance, he saw nothing but blurry figurines of small polymer clay heads. The beginnings of his future skull, his semblance to-be.

He found her sitting by the sink, sipping coffee, writing in her notepad. Scratching her nose. Adjusting her spectacles.

If he could speak, he would have expressed his love for her.  In time, when he finds a voice, perhaps he will. For now, his nascent mind sings.

Panda Sanchez / Show Schedule

Wed Jul 25 – The Velvet Lounge – Washington, DC

Wed Aug 15 – DC9 – Washington, DC

This post was partially written by Tayne Kim

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