Pantha du Prince, “The Triad”

Pantha du PrincePantha_du_Prince-2016-The_Triad
The Triad
ROUGH TRADE
7/10

Who’s to say where I’ll go?” sings Scott Mou on “The Winter Hymn,” his airy falsetto reaching out from the heart of Pantha du Prince (a.k.a. Hendrik Weber)’s luminous, labyrinthine forest. The presence of a clear voice in the record’s opening moments sets the tone for what Weber calls “a much more personal” experience on The Triad, the follow-up to Elements of Light (his 2013 collaboration with Bendik Kjeldsberg of The Bell Laboratory), but it’s closer in spirit to his outstanding last solo effort, 2010’s Black Noise. Whereas much of EDM strives to sublimate consciousness into the juice of pure sensation, Pantha’s output is more at home embedded in the flipside of this journey—the strange magic of waking up gracefully from a dream. There’s a cleansing effect on tracks such as “You What? Euphoria!” and “In an Open Space” as evoked by Weber’s amorphous exploration of the borders between electronic and organic instrumentation. Which is to say, it’s gotta be the bells.

The Triad was recorded in the Swabia region of southwestern Germany at a studio nestled among apple orchards, which provided natural respite from and sweet fuel for the album’s sessions. In an effort to celebrate the “human touch” as opposed to digital means of communication, Mou and Kjeldsberg were again present for jam sessions and to act as living, breathing sounding boards for Weber’s intricate internal pathways. The Triad takes additional cues from cinematic masterpieces, including Fritz Lang’s Woman in the Moon (“Frau im Mond, Sterne Laufen”) and Agnes Varda’s Lions Love (“Lions Love”), but the visual touchstones do not stop there. Album centerpiece “Chasing Vapour Trails” was inspired by Weber’s experience of watching jetstreams form from the window of his Berlin apartment over breakfast. Apropos of a lucid dream, Pantha du Prince’s music pitches the bell-toned permutations of Weber’s curious imagination over his waking experience, its destination gloriously unspecified.

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