I first heard Parking Non-Stop about four years ago when they supported Einstürzende Neubauten in Dublin. Unfortunately on the evening I was running around like a headless chicken and could not get a chance to give them the attention they deserved. Listening now to Species Corridor and piecing together the glimpses of their performance in my mind, I feel a true magic in this band. Their combination of found sounds and field recordings with art pop music works surprisingly well, it sounds like the open ear of Scanner and the melodic ingenuity of Wire (but isn’t Githead!).
The music of Parking Non-Stop is about the ever changing shape and character of Europe. Their name comes from a signpost in Eastern Europe (if my memory serves me correctly), the label they are on is run by Jochen Irmler of Faust and their field recordings cover much of the topography of Europe. All these elements and facts brought altogether, Parking Non-Stop serve as documenters of what Europe was, what it now is and what it may be. Unlike many of the conservative politicians in Europe, there is an openness here to new Europe, its latest member states and the possibilities they bring. Like Kraftwerk depicted it on Trans-Europe Express (alluded to here on the superb “Trans-Siberska Express”), Europe is more than an economic super state; it is a chance for culture to breed and expand beyond physical borders.
Alan Holmes' service in Ectogram serves him well here, his guitar work is versatile and gentle (apart from the awesome and blistering solo on “City in the Intermediate Realm”). The melodies play well against the washes of sound created by Dewi Evans (on various keyboard and synth style instruments). Both provide a vivid space for Zoë Skoulding’s ethereal vocals to exist. Her voice sounds so human amidst these electronic devices and forms a bridge between the field recordings and the music. On the title track this synthesis of exotic recordings, music and voice is particularly powerful (and as the first piece on the album it is an exciting introduction to what is to come).
We all have friends who despair when we move towards the stereo with a new CD, invariably they find our latest purchases painful to listen to. Species Corridor is an album as much for those friends as it is for the average Brainwashed reader. It is a strange and beautiful album that sits comfortably both on the conceptual side of modern music and on the delightfully listenable side of things. It has been a long time coming but it has certainly been worth the wait.