潘PAN releases her first new music in seven years, REBORN

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Making an unforgettable entrance with her boundary pushing artistry, welcome 潘PAN (real name Pan Wei Ju), one of the most groundbreaking musicians you’re likely to hear this year.

Today, the Taiwanese artist who previously released under the moniker Aristophanes for which she received global recognition, has released an EP entitled ‘Reborn’. It marks her return to the ether and the start of much more innovative new music to come.

Pan worked on the EP with BON (Kojey Radical, Mykki Blanco, Gaika) and Clams Casino on production duty and mixer David Wrench (Sampha, FKA Twigs, The xx), who are equally regarded for their forward-thinking approach to sound. Across a constantly morphing sonic palette that moves from metallic, apocalyptic beats to delicate nods to the traditional music of her Asian heritage, via heavy, industrial moments, spacious soundscapes and much more, the thread in Pan’s music is utterly mesmeric vocal. Performing in a mix of Mandarin and English, she says having the two languages to play with is “like featuring another artist who has a different way of describing things”.

Pan wrote the lyrics in Hong Kong, Berlin and Taipei, recorded and produced in London and Melbourne representing an emotional and physical journey across cultures and identities. Talking about the EP, she says “Pain, sorrow, anger, delicate sounds build up and demonstrate the strength of being vulnerable. The urge to feel connected and cared for in a relationship, the desire of expressing needs without shame, and the mixture of regret and limerence, all are very sexual, and intensively delivered by the sounds and abstract lyrics.”

About the title track, she elaborates “Reborn is a song about the limerence to a person in the past, knowing clearly that nothing good would come out of doing it again, though still with hope it could work in a dream or a parallel universe.”

Though Pan Wei Ju is an entirely new artist – new outlook, new message, new material and name – you may have met the woman herself before. Back in the mid-’10s, the Taipei-born rapper went by the moniker Aristophanes. After performing a career-changing feature on SCREAM’, taken from Grimes’ celebrated NME Album of 2015Art Angels’, Aristophanes went on to build a cult fanbase, releasing her debut mixtape ‘Humans Become Machines’.

With ‘Reborn’, Pan is reemerging with the same new energy that the EP’s title might suggest. “Aristophanes was me writing in my bedroom and doing my own thing, whereas now after years of travelling around, what I want to do is more about connection,” she says. “As an artist I’m more mature. This new music is bigger and it has a stronger message.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Pan needed a little more time to settle into herself and her art. Raised by a mother who “hated music” and refused to have it in the house, she recalls having almost zero access to pop culture until she moved out of the family home. Inspired by the storytelling of the Taiwanese rappers that she then began to listen to, the heavily male-dominated scene at the time, however, made it almost impossible for Pan to broach. Undeterred, she turned to the internet, reaching out to producers on Soundcloud and collaborating with artists across the globe and outside of her bubble.

Working with Grimes – a fellow self-taught female artist who produces and engineers everything herself – was the confidence booster that Pan needed. “If you’ve got ears and you’ve got a desire to express, then you can learn all the things from Youtube – it’s not just limited to men,” she says. “I can learn that and I can do what I want, I just need to do the work.” And so, for the past half decade, Pan has been doing exactly that. She’s moved to Lisbon, where she lives with her recently-adopted cat Truffle; she’s been working with other people and most importantly, she’s been writing. A lot.

And so arrives the long-awaited rebirth of Pan Wei Ju. Stay tuned for lots more new music to follow.