Pantha Du Prince, aka German producer Hendrik Weber has established himself as a pro in minimal techno over the last decade or so. Across his three albums 'Diamond Daze', 'The Bliss' and 2010's 'Black Noise', Weber has delivered beats heavy, laid back, complete electronic music which tends to have a duality of being both relaxing and muscular, the way the beats, thick in tone, will counter the calm way in which they're executed as well as dreamy, hazy sounds. Pantha Du Prince is back with his first solo effort in six years, 'The Triad', but is it worth the wait?
'You What? Euphoria!' establishes what much of 'The Triad' is about, displaying that detailed layering is perhaps Pantha Du Prince's biggest strength. Through stacking various aspects on top of each other, he's able to fit many emotions into a song and take you to different places. However, it never feels like a mess, only tight knit due to how well all the elements work together. This track in particular features firm clicking beats, sparkly keys and this reoccurring sharp, buzzing sound which swings back and forth like a pendulum, all of which makes for a vibrant atmosphere.
'Frau Im Mond, Sterne Laufen' builds up with light, tapping beats that feel as organic as wood being patted on and there's colourful textures which have a strong presence, but don't hog the limelight. The sparkly aspects come and go, but when they arrive back in, they feel like these little sparks of joy rising within you.
'In An Open Space' is cold and mechanical to start with, but quickly transforms into a warm and friendly track filled with harp like sounds that echo and overlap making for this atmosphere that feels like anyone is welcome. It's a track you could imagine couples cuddling to or being played in a club where everyone is happy to be there.
Ten-minute epic 'Chasing Vapour Trailsten' gives itself plenty of room to explore various textures and moods, such as being ghostly, mechanical and straight up danceable. Due to the length of the song each vibe or feeling that is visited can be well fleshed out and fulfilled, so it avoids simply just being a pile of ideas. In the last few minutes when the brightness emerges, through cute keys, it feels like a wave of relief after so much tension, making the track truly pay off in every way.
'Lions Love' feels reserved and introspective the way the beats seem wary by being closed-in and defensive, but then travel outward and loosen up more as if they're like children reluctant to leave the house, but then set off on an adventure. 'Islands in the Sky' on the other hand is spiritual and at one with nature, the way there's the kind of creaking and bird-like sounds you could hear in a rainforest. There's something of a tribal vibe to this song and feels like wooden instrumentation despite being machine music. Just like a stroll through the park can do, this track makes you feel fresh and at ease.
All in all, 'The Triad' is a most impressive record. There's much of a twinkly spark in the electronics giving the record a childlike playfulness and charm, but there's firm backbone in the thickness of a lot of the beats, making it simultaneously tough. Pantha Du Prince has a talent for fitting plenty into one song in terms of both emotions and soundscapes which makes his newest record deliver on every level for a techno album making it a fine addition to his already impressive discography and one of the highlights of the year in electronic music. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another six years for the next one.