Although the electronic circumference covered on 2010’s Black Noise was an exceptional bridge of techno and to some degree, dance music, the symphonic harmony Pantha du Prince’s Hendrik Weber reached on 2007’s This Bliss still resonates strongly within the electronic producer’s catalog. Perhaps more all-encompassing, Black Noise showcased a vast array of sounds, while This Bliss envisioned a more layered approach. So it’s interesting to see Weber partner with the Norwegian group, The Bell Laboratory, for an album of very minimalistic techno-driven music.
The material on Elements of Light doesn’t necessarily signify a new coming for Weber either, the bell group’s music is obviously developed around and because of one instrument, so these five songs still gel because of Weber’s stellar musicianship. There won’t be earth-shattering breakthroughs on Elements of Light like there was on Weber’s previous efforts though. Unlike the bold moves of the aforementioned Black Noise, Weber favors a minimalistic method that finds the music as one block of sounds, rather than separate compositions. The middle piece of “Photon” is a driving and propulsive mixture of steady percussion and synth-heady music that directs the bells into a thumping encasing. This meditative approach, where the aim is geared towards the entire end result, rather than on spectacular highs and lows, makes for a challenging listen for the average fan.
And so while that truth is exposed and it comfortably settles in, Elements of Light is simply a meditation on this aforementioned minimalistic approach. Much like Moonface’s twenty-minute debut EP is specialized on one instrument, the bells are the main star here, acting as the voice on many of the songs; like Spencer Krug Weber embraces this and runs with it. On “Spectral Split” the ominous chant-like spell The Bell Laboratory try to grip is aptly supported by the silence behind Weber’s music. The atmosphere left behind from “Photon” is quickly adjusted with wide open spaces and tempering electronic that acts as support, instead of the main attraction. Much like “Particle” begins with a steady mirage of bells, Weber continuously steps in and out of the limelight to beguile the bells’ spirit. The attention to detail in realizing what the instrument requires to succeed is perhaps the crowning achievement here, even if Weber sacrifices a little off his shining style to reveal it.
The method Weber approached this release with is definitely something fashionably endearing. Elements of Light is positively like its title depicts a fundamentally-sound presentation of the sounds as they reflect off the basking light. These bells and electronics fuse for five songs of orchestral techno that locates Weber in fine form. Aptly an entire side-project, rather than a one-off on the electronic producer’s next album, the idea is fully fleshed into a discovery of solid notes. And in the meantime, it allows for the next proper solo album to take another proud step forward, further into the limelight.