There are moments of clarity, where everything coalesces into one sublime moment of understanding. This understanding, this realization or epiphany, so to say, always comes with a heavy amount of preparation. And it’s hardly unusual for a moment of such profound activity to naturally come out of nowhere – not unless, it’s the work of some sort of higher power. But this coalescence is a true blessing because when it all comes together, there are very few relatable moments to rival it.
Confusingly speaking, Pantha Du Prince marvels in that very much difficult and for some, impossible, trade. An electronic beat master, the techno-driven musician has made a name for himself as being one of the prime examples of what good electronic music is capable of. Noted by some to be a master in his craft, others have come to relish his unforgettable fusions of melody and harmony and for many, including yours truly, he is the best at what he does.
There are few artists who are willing to push themselves to those outer limits. The limits on the other side of the spectrum that are as equally unfamiliar as they are frightening. But Pantha Du Prince is one of those artists and, now, the best of the best has only gotten better with his third album, Black Noise. Confidently poised, Hendrick Weber as Pantha Du Prince, was first noted for his ability at blending music that is already known for its repetition into something entirely new. Intangible as it seems, techno music will always carry that connotation but Weber doesn’t stop there, he builds off it with towering melodies, vibrant percussion and impeccable musicianship.
So, it goes without saying that those aforementioned moments of clarity abound on Black Noise. Unlike white noise which is shrouded with a discourse of feedback, this black noise is beguiled with an intelligent backdrop of support and creativity. “Behind the Stars” is one of the few songs that carries a weight of distortion and it’s only magnified with ominous vocals that are reminiscent of a television being left on in the background. Even with that, Weber layers it with keyboards, a thumping bass line and shifts back and forth – from clear tiding to cloudy mist – without ever losing grasp of his intent and assurance. It’s something to behold and something that isn’t easy to do; no, this is the making of superb music.
When they first picked him up, Rough Trade held no reservations about letting people know just how fortunate they felt in adding such a virtuoso to their imposing line-up. Referring to him as “one of the most musically eloquent practitioners in [his] field,” they couldn’t be more apt in their description. Weber doesn’t just allow the music to come to him, his focus is always on what’s most important: laying a foundation for every song to build off and then, adding an array of excellent touches to create one overall, exceptional release. Make no qualms about it, this is a meaty, eleven-song album; an album that combines songs that are all six-plus minutes long (save for one exception). And they are each their own entity of grace and posture but, in that same light, they are each so exceptionally decorated and crafted that you’d be foolish to allow them to pass you by. Even when guest artists appear, as they do on “The Splendour”, Weber is the one in control. Here, he opens with the melody before hiding it away, burying it in the fourth channel and bringing his dripping keys, shaking cymbal and techno-beat to the front. Gradually, he allows the live bass to crawl to the front before unleashing everything in equal force: open, booming and victoriously.
In many ways, it’s as if Weber is simply toying with all of his ideas, like a mad scientist tinkering away in his lab. But I have a feeling that Weber is not only concentrated on improving, but that he’s aware of his skill and will put it to good use. There’s a saying that can be easily paraphrased into something like “don’t let all of your good talents go to waste, do something with them.” I think it’s safe to say that Weber is putting his strengths into fine use and, with Black Noise, it’s utterly fantastic.
“The Splendour” by Pantha Du Prince