Over the past years German electronica producer Hendrik Weber constantly found new ways to evolve his basic understanding of techno music and the almost unlimited possibilities it holds within these wide defined genre walls. His project PANTHA DU PRINCE was always open for new ideas, sounds and the idea of being more than just club music. In the line with other talented acts like FOUR TET or ROBAG WRUHME, Weber made his point already quite clear on his fabulous 2010 record Black Noise. Last year he experienced ambient and Krautrock paths together with Stephan Abry in the form of their project URSPRUNG, now he is back with a new project that wants to combine electronic music with temporary classical music in an adventurous way.
Elements Of Light, his collaboration with norwegian musicians THE BELL LABORATORY is clearly his most ambitious work so far. The whole record is some sort of symphony for electronics, percussion and bell carillon, a three-tonne instrument comprising fifty bronze bells. It’s a continuous flow of sound, diverted into five single tracks – each representing one of the elements of light. It’s spherical, ghostly, sometimes also pumping, quite abstract and full of surprises. Without any doubt, the lastest output by PANTHA DU PRINCE is not only his most ambitious one it’s also his most challenging music. It craves for the listeners attention, open minds and a certain willingness to think beyond listening habits.
It’s no easy record to listen to, this is for sure. And the main problem that can be recognized with Elements Of Light is its clear lack of diversification. The whole concept with beats and bells is not something entirely new – Weber already used it on Black Noise in some tracks. But the pro back than was that there were tons of other elements which created a richer sound landscape. The minimalistic approach of this record avoids such tendencies from the very beginning which makes it maybe quite ambitious, artificial and all that lovely stuff for intellectual minds – but it’s also quite boring on the length of a whole album. The idea is pretty lovely but twenty minutes into the record it already gets its first symptoms of fatigue. Elements Of Light is between good and evil – not really bad but also nothing that can stick up to previous works of Weber. A good idea and concept is not automaticly a good record, it seems.
Stream the entire record over at NPR.org
PANTHA DU PRINCE on NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION