Review of Black Noise Album by Pantha Du Prince

Review of Pantha Du Prince's album Black Noise released through Rough Trade

Pantha Du Prince Black Noise Album

Having been making records for the best part of a decade, Hendrick Weber should be something of a household name. Instead, despite the plaudits that have greeted almost his entire output since 2002's ambient masterpiece 'Nowhere', he's still something of a relative newcomer as far as the masses are concerned. Although based in Hamburg, Weber has a very anglophile outlook when it comes to music, citing the first wave of shoegaze spearheaded by My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive et al as a major source of inspiration.

Not unlike fellow compatriot Ulrich Schnauss, Weber's recordings as Pantha Du Prince have enticed both the dance and underground guitar aficionados accordingly, former Creation Records head honcho Alan McGee hotly tipping him as a name to look out for in 2009. Although last year was a relatively quiet one by his standards, his only release of the past twelve months, the dazzlingly perceptive techno marathon 'Behind The Stars' heavily hinted that forthcoming third album 'Black Noise' may be the record that breaks him through to the mainstream, and while the minimal dance genre is still something of a forbidden territory to some, there's no doubting this album possesses the audacity to succeed where its no lesser predecessors somehow failed.

Admittedly the involvement of Animal Collective's Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) and LCD Soundsystem and !!!'s Tyler Pope will help endear 'Black Noise' and its creator to a new audience, but even without their admittedly minor contributions, there's plenty here to appeal to more than just the Warp Records boffins still pining for the second coming of LFO and such like.

The textured build up of opener 'Lay In A Shimmer' sets the album's tone in an instant, giving rise to the more textured percussion-heavy 'Abglanz' and the laidback groove of 'The Splendour', the aforementioned Pope's main tour de force here. Lennox's contribution meanwhile consists of a diligent whisper during the second half of 'Stick To My Side', which while not quite emulating the euphoric opulence of 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' at least offers a brief respite from the occasionally relentless machine-led charge throughout 'Black Noise'.

While the album's mid-point of 'A Nomads Retreat' is perhaps its most forgettable moment and only venture into typical landfill ambient snooze pastures, the upbeat duo of 'Satellite Snyper' and 'Welt Am Draht' offer a more complex outlook that climaxes on the ethereal twists of 'Im Bann', Pantha Du Prince's most closely resembled work to his floppy fringed inspirations so far.

Whereas 2007's 'This Bliss' suggested Pantha Du Prince was a laborious work in progress, 'Black Noise' - although not the finished article - is a worthy successor after years of intense endeavour, and heralds a bright future for techno's newest Prince royale.


Dom Gourlay

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