On the album's opening side, it feels like we're in jazz country, albeit an unexplored part of the map. Rabih Beaini's Albidaya LP from earlier this year tread upon similar ground, but where Beaini let everything hang out in a rush of improvisation, Becker strips things back to carefully composed floods of colour. His lead tones often sound akin to Albert Ayler's saxophone, a buzzing shard of brass piercing the air. This is especially true on "Chants II," a chaotic but controlled ball of energy fighting against itself for the entirety of its short life.
The latter half of the record is more restrained and somewhat melancholy. From dense clouds of noise to near-ambient passages, there remains a consistent Becker timbre, a sequence of personal dream logic. Each sound is clear, full-bodied and perfectly placed within the mix. There is no waste. This is also true of the album in its entirety, which flies through eight tracks in just over half an hour. Each one is long enough to have a developed narrative, but short enough to blend with the whole.
It's interesting that this album comes at a time when PAN's output has been more focused on outsider club sounds— following releases from Black Sites, Lee Gamble, Heatsick and NHK'Koyxen among others, Becker's LP serves as a timely reminder of the label's experimental roots. Traditional Music Of Notional Species Vol. 1 is designed to dominate your attention; full of heart, incredibly detailed and impossible to pin down. It's almost hard to believe this is his first album.