Beggin’ Your Pardon Miss Joan/Guanaco
Quick bio: BYPMJ are the duo of Lex & Vanessa Panayi. They became fully active in January 2008, and have to date released 4 records on several underground labels: Centre Of Wood, Dead Pilot, Dust Wind Tales, and Reverb Worship.
Centre Of Wood describes BYPMJ as follows: “BYPMJ's music is of dreaming and out of time, it is a profound bucolic & dreaming folk made with essential minimal instruments that create music pure and full of emotion and feeling.”
In its rawest form I suppose it is taking various elements: space, repetition and vocal harmony, and creating an almost hypnotic ethereal song to escape into, or in some circumstances to retreat into. It's also propelled by a genuine desire to find soulful and spiritual meaning in the minutiae of everyday life and death.
Many, many things have been an inspiration. Underpinning it all was the ever growing urge to try and put a record together, and get it out into the ether. That urge grew until it bubbled over in 2008 and BYPMJ became an entity rather than an idea.
BYPMJ songs come in short bursts, the idea arrives and is built, usually in an afternoon or an evening, so whatever has been on the record player will probably seep in sub-consciously, somewhere along the way.
Take the 'Undetermined Other' e.p for example - The Misunderstood had been on constant rotation, and you can hear the influence of songs like 'I Unseen' or 'My Mind' in 'Creep Light'. The way Glen-Scott Campbell played on those two tracks is mesmerizing, transcendent, and that was the aim of the repeating slide on 'Creep Light'.
With 'Avon' the inspiration was triggered by the vocal styles of Linda Perhacs & the simplicity of traditional rebetika. Traditional Orthodox sermons and chants were also a source of great inspiration.
Love are a constant source of inspiration too, the Bryan MacClean songs especially, and as wonderful as Arthur Lee was, it was always Bryan MacClean's songs that really stick in the throat; Aloneagainor, Orange Skies & Softly To Me are magical, magical songs that generate a real depth of feeling. If BYPMJ songs can give that feeling to just one person, it's a success.
That's not to say that contemporary records are ignored, Eternal Tapestry's ‘Mystic Induction', Silver Bullets’ 'Free Radicals' and Tiny Vipers’ 'Life On Earth' are on heavy rotation at the moment and Steve Gunn's 'Sundowner' has been a huge favourite. Hush Arbors’ 'Landscape Of Bone' and the self titled release on Ecstatic Peace have been worn to pieces too. 'From Our Mouths The Perpetual Light' is probably my favourite record of last year, so all of these will have had an impact of sorts.
On a non musical level, the wonderful paintings of Peter Doig and Nigel Cooke, Turner, Mama Andersson and Liz Arnold! The imagery, the ethereal use of colour and the narratives behind their paintings resonate so much.
My wife Vanessa's work also inspires BYPMJ immensely, and it is her paintings and drawings that have formed the artwork of the BYPMJ releases on Centre Of Wood and Dead Pilot, and the work Andrea and Dan put into those releases was just wonderful.
The books of Ferenc Karinthy, Homer, Kerouac, Blake all have a presence, be they in the dystopian elements of 'Flowers/Timber' or the meditations of 'Vacuum'
Of course, I must not forget the Llama's & Alpaca's.
Guanaco ± is darker, perhaps more aggressive. It also has very little input from Vanessa, barring the artwork.
There are little or no vocal refrains and the records are more like peans to the animal spirits and ghosts of the old worlds. It's also a lot freer than BYPMJ and more heavily steeped in repetition, drone and amplification.
A growing confidence in my abilities to compose instrumental pieces, I suppose. Everything I do is based around the cuatro or the guitar, and I have only played with any real focus since early 2008, and my voice.
I felt limited in my ability with the guitar and as a result I felt that there was only so much I could do in terms of writing for BYPMJ, especially after 'Dear Nautilus' and 'Undetermined Other', and that's why I created a further pseudonym to experiment with.
By changing direction, or at least opening another way to channel what I had in my head, I felt a lot freer, and it was only when I had written 'Caves Of Holy Light' that I was able to put 'No-One Belongs Here But You' together. Yin & Yang perhaps.
I think there is a similarity there, definitely. I would say that I am not trying to deliberately create a chasm between BYPMJ and Guanaco ± but I can appreciate that if you heard one, without knowing of the other, you may not necessarily think they were intrinsically linked.
Essentially I pour my darkest thoughts & energies in Guanaco ±; it's more about the darker dreams, the bones and the blood against the ethereal forest spirits that populate BYPMJ.
A long gestating collaboration between BYPMJ & The End Springs, hopefully. We have worked together previously on Stephen's 'Synergy' project which was incredible. He is such a wonderful musician.
Reverb Worship has just released 'Avon' on 3", and there is a new Guanaco ± record brewing. And of course a BYPMJ full length, but this could be someway off.
Well, perhaps - it would be wonderful to come and play in the wide open spaces of America and Canada - but no shows have been played on our own shores as of yet.
We do not like to show our faces in public, so that is always a hindrance. Maybe, we will let you know!
Phishing & adverts!
Myspace was great in the short time BYPMJ were on it, and the friends we have made, and the artists we have discovered have been immense, but once the account was phished, we decided to close it down.
The very best thing about it is that we have kept in touch with all of the friends we had made and with Olbasnoise we are making new friends all the time. It just felt like the right thing to do, and Olbasnoise now feels like a natural extension of BYPMJ & Guanaco ±.
I would just like to thank everyone that has bought, downloaded, written about or commented on BYPMJ/Guanaco ±. Thank you for your support. I would especially like to send sweet vibes to Stephen, Rafa, Ana, Mar, Caro, Andrew, Andrea, Roger , Joe and Olbas.
-- Dave Miller (11 November, 2009)