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The Tumbleweed

Panchiko: A Band that Slipped Through the Cracks.

Internet Sleuths Searching for a Lost Album
Whole EP including the rot and non-rot songs and the second EP.

Strolling through a thrift store, their eyes fall upon a peculiar sight. A CD case with the stylized characters spelling D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L with a pencil drawing of an anime girl. Right next to the head is the name of the band that created this CD, Panchiko.

(Panchiko Logo with album name)

The search began on July 21st, 2016 when an anonymous user posted on the /mu/ board on the website 4chan. This board was specifically made for the discussion of music and music-related media. “I picked this up because it looked interesting…” said the anonymous user submitting a photo of the CD. “I wasn’t able to find any references to it, online, whatsoever.” This piqued the forum’s interest, making people ask for an upload of the CD. As requested, the anon obliged.

Unfortunately, the CD had disc rot, causing the music to crackle and pan from one ear to the other. This caused users to question whether this was done on purpose or if the CD truly had rot. Nevertheless, the person uploaded the album’s content to the forum and YouTube as well. The album began to spread like wildfire and so did the search.

“Was this an honest-to-God ‘90’s curio? A prank hatched by internet-savvy teens? An internet experiment in nostalgia, in the spirit of vaporwave? Nobody knew.” Says the band in their Spotify biography on the talk of the legitimacy of the album when first posted. Many people weren’t sure if this was just the original posters (abbreviated to just o.p.) way of getting publicity for their new album or if this was genuinely a lost album with its only known recording on a rotted CD.

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Despite the continued questioning, an audience of internet sleuths began to start cracking down on who made this album and where it came from. The first clue was where this album was found and the info given by the O.P. What everyone knew at the time was that the album was released in 2000 with it being on the back of the CD case. Oddly enough only the first names of the band members were listed. Owain, Andy, Shaun, and John. Next users looked towards the front of the album. The next clue was found on the sticker on the front. The album purchased was from a store called Oxfam, a store located within the U.K. This narrowed the search a little bit but they needed more info.

With the album cover art found to be from a Japanese manga and the search gaining more traction, people kept searching for clues. A user said during the original discussion that he saw the same CD at an Oxfam in Southampton. This greatly narrowed the search even further. Despite the shop mentioned not having seen the album there, that didn’t discourage sleuths. They began messaging every musician in the area with the same names in a brute-force attempt to find the original bandmates. This was also in vain as no one responded or said that they had no involvement.

Just when hope was lost, there was one more lead: the bar code on the front of the CD. This code wasn’t for the item itself but for the person who gifted the CD. This meant that there was a direct link to a person who physically owned this CD. But, another dead end. Laws in the U.K. forbid that companies give out that info. But there’s still the digit code on that barcode sticker. In 2020 a user in the Discord server made for this search made a huge breakthrough. Using the last four digits of the code listed on the sticker, the location of the Oxfam was revealed. Sherwood, Nottingham. After this breakthrough, another brute-force search was made. One seemingly abandoned account was messaged on Facebook.

“I woke up one day and ping — there’s a message on a defunct Facebook page of mine, ‘Hello, you’ll probably never read this, but are you the lead singer of Panchiko?’” Said Owain about getting the message. “Yeah,” he responded. Finally, the search had ended. Owain went on to get back in touch with all of his old friends and bandmates.

They reconnected and were in shock at how huge of a thing the search for their album had become. Luckily, one of Andy’s friends had a copy of this CD. This copy had little to no disk rot and would become the master for future releases. Not only did the internet revive a crushed dream, it also rekindled someone’s love for creating music. To this day Panchiko still make music and do national tours around the world. Sometimes all it takes is a group of like-minded strangers to dig up a once-forgotten piece of music.

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About the Contributor
Jackson Jenkins, Newspaper Assistant Editor
This life of a musician is fulfilling, it is what makes him as a person, it is the reason he gets out of bed, music is the reason he feels content, music is the reason he is the person he is now. Jackson jenkins is a senior at Grantsville High School, he is a part of the school marching band as well as his own band with some of the school faculty. He is a very accomplished musician and has the instruments to prove it. Jackson shreds, his live for guitar and the sharp feeling that he gets when he plays it comes back to when he was a little kid playing at the school of rock, a school specifically for the most gifted musicians, he plays his heart to the floor every day, and he doesn't stop because he feels there would be somethings missing The goals that he has for his music are nothing short of challenging, Jackson has been shredding every day for the past 8 years for at least an hour. He says he gets caught up in the moment of playing the guitar so much that it is usually more than an hour. When he is playing music he says it is like he's speaking another language, he feels like he is creating something new and better than he has before every time he plays. The sense of accomplishment he feels every time he even puts a finger on his guitar that is always kept nice and clean for the next time he wants to make the music language that he is creating.  
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  • M

    Miles WagnerJan 23, 2024 at 9:05 pm

    This is great. I recall hearing something about this story some time yesterday but I didn’t look into it. The details you shared made me increasingly curious. I enjoyed reading this!

    • J

      Jackson JenkinsJan 23, 2024 at 11:22 pm

      Thank you Miles. Good to hear from you!