Sunday, 24 January 2010
Pantha du Prince - Black Noise (Rough Trade)
It's amazing what someone truly talented in music can do with electronics. Germany's Pantha du Prince is one such talent and on his latest offering 'Black Noise', his first on Rough Trade, he spoils the listener with a series of different melodies, beats and textures that are entirely engrossing.
From the opening 'Lay In A Shimmer' it is clear that Pantha knows exactly the kind of sound he is aiming for, using chimes and trills to evoke in the mind of the listener the shimmer of the song title. 'Shimmer' is a vibrant and hypnotic opener and leads you to wonder why he decided to name his album 'Black Noise'.
The answer comes shortly after as you are led into a world of brooding beats and otherworldly synths. This music may have its origins in the same areas of electronic music as those played at nightclubs, but the only place you could ever imagine dancing to this is in some dimly lit alien disco in a far off universe; just one of the places your mind will wander to if you let it whilst listening to this album. This is an album rich in depth and is best only semi-concentrated on, allowing yourself to half get lost in the music and simultaneously letting your mind shift through various dimensions guided by the pulsating rhythms and claustrophobic scratching layers that accompany them.
The only true vocal on the album is provided by a guest appearance from Noah Lennox (better known as Animal Collective's Panda Bear) on 'Stick To My Side'. This does feel slightly out of place amidst an album that is otherwise entirely ambient, but nonetheless Pantha du Prince makes it work weaving his sparse electronica around Lennox's nasal voice.
Picking individual songs as highlights on this album is extremely difficult. The very best such as 'A Nomad's Retreat' and 'Satellite Snyper' (or practically any of them) do of course stand up on their own as single songs, but they truly flourish when listened to as part of the entire album. This is a piece of art that Pantha du Prince has created here and one that should be appreciated the way it has been presented; as one homogeneous piece.
The album clocks in at just over an hour, which is admittedly long, especially for an almost entirely ambient record. However, if you truly manage to lose yourself in this record as is intended you will have been transported far and wide and the time will seem to dissolve, and once you've reached the conclusion you'll be wondering where it all went.
By Rob Hakimian