19 Feb 10
German Hendrick Weber, under the name Pantha Du Prince has returned after 2007’s “This Bliss” to do -once again- what the XX did for indie, but to techno. The sense of space is incredible, simultaneously inward looking, abstract and minimal “Black Noise” is a sprawling, odd album that refuses to stand still. Combining everyday sounds with tiny percussion pieces he strings together samples like these, not to play over the top of beats but to become part of them, effortlessly switching from spaced out chime powered opener “Lay In A Shimmer” to loose, almost menacing follow up “Abglanz” the songs often trail off into different melodic patterns, as if they tire of themselves and just naturally branch off into different melodic paths. Obviously this lack of strong melodic direction sometimes means that this leans more to the personal listening to the club banging scene, with a few exceptions, but on the whole it’s lack of immediate gratification robs it of that right.
Notable highlights “Stick To My Side” and “Satellite Sniper” stick to that winning formula, the former combining vocals among the organized noise while the latter being one of the few tracks that maintains solidity like also excellent “Behind The Stars” which sounds like an abstract German gay vampire club epic. Although clear favourite “Welt Am Draht” drowns acoustic guitar in spaces chimes, thumbing bass and choppy noise, like the sound of everyday noises being pooled together effortlessly and then remixed with tender care.
“Black Noise” is a rarity, its clarity of vision (and dedication to its press release’s unabashed promises) is refreshing in the often overpowering world of techno, its an album that had the capacity to have huge pounding drums and the bass cranked up but didnt, it remains true to its concepts, and in that it succeeds completely
I leave you with the aforementioned, insanely lofty press release which says things better than I could;
music slumbers in all matter; any sound, even silence, is already music. The mission, then, must be to render audible what is unheard and unheard of: black noise, a frequency that is inaudible to man. Black noise often presages natural disasters, earthquakes or floods; only some animals perceive this “calm before the storm.” Black noise is something archaic and earthy. The music on Black Noise balances precariously on the slippery threshold between art and nature, between techno and folklore, which lends it a certain spectral and intangible aspect.
Well, isn’t that something?