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My love letter to
Panda Bear

Jono Ma (of Jagwar Ma) reflects on the album
that let him express himself

Jono Ma

Noah Lennox fans take many forms. Some spent their adolescent years in the late 2000s playing Person Pitch on repeat in the privacy of their bedrooms and listening to his mix of experimental, playful eccentricity and processed, sample-drenched tracks in underground indie clubs. They’re grown now, but never too grown to revisit those blissful years. Others are only adolescents now; new fans who are just collecting classic Animal Collective vinyls and discovering the original chillwave era. Whatever stage they’re at, there are no shortage of fans.

Jagwar Ma’s beatmaker, Jono Ma is one of those former adolescents and now, ahead of Panda Bear’s debut Australian show at the Sydney Opera House, he pens a love letter to Noah. Jono expresses his gratitude for Noah’s music, describing how Panda Bear’s exploration into new, sunnier musical territory also allowed him the courage to explore and grow during his malleable years as a musician.

Panda Bear plays the Sydney Opera House Studio on Wednesday 12 December. His new album, Buoys, is out February next year.


Dear Noah, 

I remember a time in my life when my world was black and white. The clothes I wore, the records I bought, the music I made. I thought everything was intensely valuable, sacrifice, sonic transcendence, the glory of gloom. Joy Division, Can, Aphex Twin, Suicide, MMM. I was obsessed with layering and distorting sounds, noise, dissonance, density. I’d forgotten about space, harmony and warmth.

Then you made Person Pitch and instantly, from the first choral stabs of ‘Comfy In Nautica’, I was reminded of the joys of colour and nostalgia. For an entire summer, that record remained on the platter. It was one of those musical moments that made me abandon everything I had learnt up to that point. It made me rethink everything. In a way, it made me leave my old band behind and start a new one. A new project that strived to bring “the ecstatic” back into music. The joy of nostalgia, lost love, unconditional love, love not for a person but for an atmosphere, love of the numinous. Love of music—yeah, it’s like one of the most power products of humanity’s unconditional love.

You wouldn’t know this, but the very first person I sent my first track as Jagwar Ma to was Jon Berry from Kompakt. They had just re-released one of your records and I asked Jon Berry to send my first track to you. I don’t know why, I guess in the hope that you’d hear it, like it, maybe endorse it. I don’t know if it ever made it to you but it didn’t matter, it made it out and after that, the whole world opened up to me…and it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for your musical pilgrimage leading the path.

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