Pas Neos aims to make the Bible an immersive experience with storytelling soundscapes.
For many reasons, Spotify, Mog and other such streaming music libraries are such a gift these days. For me, their greatest benefit is the ability to discover bands you’d never find otherwise. (Keep track of my Obsession Playlist on Spotify by clicking here.)
In my last “Track Obsession” column, I expressed my love for the soulful, synthful sounds of Michael Ketterer. In Spotify, I clicked the “related artists” tab, which led me to my latest track obsession: “Tread Light, Tread Slow” by Pas Neos.
Pas Neos—whose name is a Hebrew-Greek amalgam for the phrase “all things new”—is an enigmatic, eclectic band birthed out of Kansas City’s International House of Prayer, fronted by lead lyricist/vocalist Bob Powers and lead music songwriter Caleb Culver.
Ambient synths, aggressive drums and a combination of singing and talking/shouting paint a rather dramatic picture of Moses’ activation from the Book of Exodus in “Tread Light, Tread Slow”—a track from the band’s first full-length release, The Wheat and the Tares (which was released a year ago this month).
The song, told from the perspective of God the Father, uses actual scripture to detail the story of the Hebrews and God’s response to their turmoil. “And now I hear a groan arise, and there’s a covenant that survives,” rings an early phrase in the song, which then reviews Abraham’s faith before sing-shouting the defacto chorus: “Tread light, tread slow, tread carefully—bare your feet! For the place you stand is holy ground, hollowed ground…”
I haven’t found a band yet that has so creatively used scripture lyrics with cutting edge music and soundscapes that fit the theme of the text.
“We want to be able to sing the Word in a creative way,” Culver told NRT. “We want to make it real so it’s not just cramming scriptures into a musical lick, but really making it come alive.”
It’s made alive with distorted guitars dancing with neurotic synth pulses and intricate beats. It’s made with PA-like effects on vocals shouting the plagues of Egypt and mysterious breakdowns. The story quality of the song is made apparent with a lack of typical song structure.
“We tried not to do just verse-chorus-verse-verse-chorus-chorus-bridge-chorus-chorus-tag that 90 percent of songs do,” Culver said. “It doesn’t always call for that; it doesn’t always work.”
The Wheat and the Tares is an album full of Bible stories told creatively by instruments and programming, from Jonah to Moses and Joshua to the woman caught in adultery. Be refreshed as you experience the passion of these true stories!
(Pas Neos will be in the studio this summer to record their second full-length project, which will release in late 2012 or early 2013. Learn more about them by following @pasneos on Twitter.)
Posted May 22, 2012 | NRT Senior Editor Marcus Hathcock has been a newspaper reporter, an editor and now Communications Director for East Hill Church in Gresham, OR. He's also been involved in opera, acappella, a CCM group and now is a songwriter and one of the worship leaders at East Hill. Follow his journey at www.mheternal.com.