When listening to the kind of music Pantha Du Prince is known for – ornate, orchestral, lush – the sheer strength of the compositions, alone, can blow you away. If you travel back to his second, beautiful album, This Bliss, one would be hard-pressed to find a more appropriate title. Affluent with disciplined layers of sounds and tones that all together enveloped into a sweepingly superb sound that is some kind of electronic, some kind of techno, some kind of classical. There’s a presence to the music that beguiles the attentive creativity behind it and, for years now, Pantha Du Prince has continued to astound with stellar albums.
As Pantha Du Prince, Hendrik Weber’s latest triumph was 2010’s Black Noise, an album that, while justly proficient, was not the magic that the aforementioned album reached back in 2007. But, through the smallest of details, the music was still a continual amount of electronic bliss that swells in your ears and brain with tempered skill. Growing the songs into massive walls of sound, the album’s smash hit was Weber’s collaboration with Noah Lennox, “Stick to My Side.” Creating a back-drop of reflective percussion, atmospheric aesthetics and even more auxiliary sounds (bells, vibes, chimes) – the song’s ethereal qualities aside – the two teamed for a fantastic release that highlighted Black Noise’s creeping potential. It was the kind of album, much like his previous releases, that kindly rewarded with repeated listens and like the ‘smashness’ of the single, was a moment or two away from righteous success.
Taking everything in stride, the German DJ/producer allowed for it to be remixed as XI Versions of Black Noise and, while the notion is altogether perplexing, the remixes act as further extensions to the already well-established entities. You can take Four Tet’s remix of “Stick to My Side”, listen to it side-by-side with the original, and notice vast differences. Each musician takes clear advantage of re-creating the music into intelligently constructed works. Fluttered with synthesizers and electronic percussion, the music is sliced into a delectable impacting presentation. Swerving in and out of a new tone and layer, there is great depth in almost every song.
One can’t help but gripe at the fact that it’s basically two songs off Black Noise remixed a total of eight times (five and three, respectively) so perhaps the name isn’t the most fitting. However, like Weber’s music, the remixes are fully exposed, fleshed-out, flourishing entities of their own, that tremble and rattle long enough to get lost in. On Walls’ version of “Stick to My Side,” the bigness of the booming atmospherics are lost in favor of a loosely, lively feel that compliments the bass with crafty excellence. Like a shimmering array of layers on a sunny day, it sounds entirely dissimilar to the dramatically techno vibe and clap of Carsten Jost’s version, and then again is much unlike the pensive, muscular beat of Lawrence’s version. These separate versions are singular pieces that form a moving sound on XI Versions of Black Noise that are all varied and multi-faceted.
Undoubtedly, there must be a great deal of confidence weighed on the tracklist and, more over, the overall flow of the album. As far as remix albums go, the impressive caliber of the musicianship allows refined modifications and adaptations to sprawl into a new realm with fluid ease. It might be an altogether superfluous release but when the music is as expertly crafted to begin with, it’s a solid sensation for anyone to notice.