Hendrik Weber aka Pantha du Prince returns with his follow-up to the much acclaimed This Bliss avec Black Noise and it does not disappoint. With chimes and marimba acting as aural touchstones throughout, Black Noise shows the further evolutions of Weber’s melodic-robotic dichotomy and his penchant for deep and infectious bass. And speaking of infectious, “Stick To My Side”, Weber’s collaboration with Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox will leech itself into your memory banks and have you humming and singing it for days. It’s a truly great crossover hit that is just as groovy as it is catchy, and will no doubt help Pantha gain some new listeners.
Beyond that, tracks like “The Splendour”, “A Nomad’s Retreat”, and “Satellite Sniper” are amazing 4/4 burners that build carefully and envelop you in lush tones and Detroit-tinged techno beats. There’s much more warmth to Black Noise than This Bliss, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of The Field’s second album in its execution and musical aesthetic.
Weber seems a bit of a Byronic Romantic. The concept of the album stems from a trip to the Swiss Alps with some musician friends to record sounds and philosophize about music, technology, and silence. Next door to where they were staying was an enormous pile of debris, the remains of a landslide that had buried an entire village, and this is where the album’s concept was born – with the notion that ‘black noise’ is heard like a sonic omen before a natural disaster.
The second half of the album is more sedate, yet still no less compelling. The last two songs “Im Bann” and “Es Schneit” are warm and melodic come down tracks, the closer working those chimes into a subtle frenzy before dissipating like smoke in the air. Black Noise is another excellent release from Pantha du Prince, and a great start for electronic music in 2010. Dig it.
Review: Matt Leslie