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Travel Poems . Chapter 1 . Secret towns

by Eric Pan

Gare du Nord 02:57
Claire, I’m writing you from a train station in Paris, which is less a place to be, than a total displacement. For 3 days it’s been raining over us, a constant mist that soaks my head immediately upon peeking outside. So I stay in, looking out, confined by my own feet. It’s my exterminating angel. I feel lonely and extinguished.
Claire, Taipei is glorious…it’s as though the people can just stay still and the food teems around us. I pop my head up above the crowd to see if a dessert cart might be coming around again. I’ll be ready next time. What a huge village. Everywhere must be fun because either teenagers or workers are laughing. Under the veneer I can tell we’re all meerkats.
Claire, I met someone. She talks nonstop, and interrupts me all the time, just the way you do. I love it. We met on an overnight train to D.C. and immediately started chatting about why Camus thinks traveling reaches its fullest potential when we are acting from our fears. Nonsense, I think. So then she disagrees with me on everything, it’s such a thrill. I wish I could see the look on your face right now.
Claire. Have you ever felt so lost, even your sense of self is in question? I’m in an attic in the Haight. I’m running through a forest of thoughts and anxieties. But I don’t think they’re my own. You always talk about opening your heart & even your pores to the world…that’s the best way to get soaked by other people’s worries no? The ambient malaise just floating around. With this fog I can’t see what I’m supposed to do with my time here. Beam me a sign through your tropical sunglasses.
Claire, I think I’ve mastered time. If you want something to go by quickly, just snap your fingers. Now if you want something to go by slowly that’s harder, but it can be done too. I’m doing it right now. The evening is so pleasant here in Sedona, when the desert cools, and you just see the silhouettes of the saguaros. We all hold a pose sometimes. This specific dusk, I think it can last forever, if I allow it. By the time you read this, I’ll still be here.
Claire, we have to attend the circus together sometime. I was wandering in Krakow, entirely aimless, when two fellow travelers welcomed me on their journey out of town. Come sunset, I’m surrounded by nomads making a caravan camp near the mountains, trying to sing songs in Ukrainian with them. Bonfire parties with guitar music transcend all cultural boundaries. It’s a vast country out here, and the universe continues its expansion.
Up Jakupica 01:37
Clairest, Hello from Solunska Glava, the sun has probably kept me lively for several days, I’m delirious with joy. My new favorite word is teleférique. Blanket me in bird feathers, I’ll sail straight to you on one continuous breeze. That’s how fortune-filled I feel. It’s so idyllic on these grassy peaks, each roaming animal more furry than the next. I’m convinced the ancient Macedonians basked like these stones and stored the heat in their bodies, humming all the while.
Hamstrung 01:07
Claire, the magic in this world, is it evenly spread? It could be hidden in easter eggs, or carefree like dandelions when scattered. I hope it looks after us from time to time. I’m in the cloudforest of Monteverde, nursing a heartbreak that should have been gone by now. I think it’s a burrower. It’s my secret companion no one knows about unless they cut me open and read my tree rings.
Claire, I think it’s wild that the feeling of home can change. It can become untethered from geography, it can become a person. It can even disappear completely. I think I’ve experienced all these variations. Can it be somewhere I’ve never even visited, except only in my mind? This is Phuket, Thailand, and nowhere. When I was a child I built a toy village, and would imagine becoming tiny and moving in with them. Can home be the whole world?
Epilogue 00:44


Travel Poems is music for explorers. Step aboard here, to embark; together we'll roam city and sea and stars.


The air is made of music.

Atoms play, particles dance, ripe notes fall from shaking trees. Wherever we go, melodies appear — soundtracks begin performing themselves.

This collection of Travel Poems was composed around the world, recorded on dozens of pianos, each song carrying, bottled, the essence of a place in a peculiar moment. Each song is a postcard.

Every postcard comes from somewhere. Just as important, the recipient of a postcard is, however faintly and briefly, transported to the location+mind coordinates of its authorship.

So it might seem.


“Chapter 1 . Secret towns” released 28 Aug 2020
Chapters 2 and 3 release with tour / live storytelling / roving art exhibition Fall 2022. You can have advance access to these, only on Bandcamp ❤️ here:


JAZZIZ Magazine premiere of “Foot of the Carpathians” with longform interview, 31 July: jazziz.com/qa-eric-pan-travel-poems.

Public Radio International (PRI) feature of “Discovery after Dark” and “Wheelhouse of Wonder (Welcome Home)” with interview and audio, 31 Aug: pri.org/stories/2020-08-31/travel-takes-new-meaning-jazz-pianist-s-latest-album



releases October 11, 2022

Eric Pan creates novel and transportive experiences for audiences, incorporating musical performance, improvisation, collaboration, and immersive storytelling.

This year, he releases a three-volume album titled Travel Poems. It's an unconventional debut. In the rainforests of Costa Rica, what began as a series of song-postcards based on stories of people and places soon blossomed a recording tour, leading to pianos across four continents. The resulting 30-track sonic kaleidoscope boasts solo, duo, and trio performances, threaded through soundscape narratives also curated from around the world.

Live performances of Travel Poems feature its expansive repertoire, and additionally explore a complementary idea: how music is itself a means of travel. Eric delivers his peculiar vision for immersive storytelling, interwoven with song and collective improvisation, to carry audiences into a variety of sound-imagination spaces.

Chapter 1 . Secret towns features:

Nir Sabag (drums) and Hugo Reydet (bass) featured on “Discovery after Dark”, “Foot of the Carpathians”, and “Wheelhouse of Wonder (Welcome Home)”

Trilogy album recorded in countries across four continents by Eric Pan and Brian Trahan

Mixed by Brian Trahan in New York and Berlin: instagram.com/briantrahantruly

Mastered by Ruairi O’Flaherty in Los Angeles

Cover painting by Krys Unverzagt: instagram.com/cokuun_art

Calligraphy by Jitesh Patel

Full credits for found-sound collaborators at TravelPoems.com#about

Released under Falling Sea: fallingsea.com

GORGEOUS ALBUM SITE: travelpoems.com
“View from a Llama” TEASER VIDEO: vimeo.com/242965350
INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/pandelic
TWITTER: twitter.com/pandelic
YOUTUBE: youtube.com/shazamvideo


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Eric Pan New York, New York

Imagine a universe where we’re connected by shimmering beams of light, everyone to everyone.

One quirk about this universe is that the beams send emotions between us, one million per minute per pair, clearly & effortlessly.

Now imagine we already live in this universe except, long ago, we forgot where the beams went. But we’ve always kept music with us: it’s our best way to speak in the old way.
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