Pantha du Prince
German producer/electronic artist Hendrik Weber has never been a half-glass-empty creator, but rather one with a full-on, stormy, shoegazey brand of sequenced sound defying easy categorization. Over the past decade, however, his Pantha du Prince outfit has opted for something more conceptual and semi-organic with a project touching upon the real-life thunderdome of nature (human and beyond) and socio-physical science with albums such as 2013’s Elements of Light (recorded with The Bell Laboratory) and 2020’s maximal solo effort Conference of Trees.
For what Weber calls the “primordial” ooze of Garden Gaia, the solo vocabulary of “electroacoustic expression” has been richly expanded from the “cocoon” of Conference of Trees to include producers from across the globe. This shared experience gives the songs of Pantha du Prince quite literally a whoosh and thrill that Conference often missed—something improvisational, or at least communal, that vibes with the holy roll of Greek mythology and Gaia as an ancestral mother to all that is life. Listen to “Golden Galactic” or “Mother Drum” and tell me you don’t hear God in its ascendant stringed melodies and plucked synthesizers. Elsewhere, the sacred and the secular sounds of chimes and gently falling melody become one on the tame gallop of “Start a New Life.”
Some of the big bell and piano tones from previous efforts in Pantha’s trilogy are part of Garden Gaia—expectedly—and they go naturally and seamlessly with its literal bird whistles and soft squelching synths on “Open Day” and new age-y glitches on “Crystal Volcano.” At times too calm for its own good, Garden Gaia is still provocative on its way to the heavens.