Perhaps most accurately described as “bedroom techno,” Black Noise, the third album from in-demand German producer Hendrick Weber under the moniker Pantha du Prince, is a triumph of minimalism and fragile soundscapes. Beginning each of his tracks with a palette of silence, Weber builds intricate rhythmic structures that project delicacy, as though he were tapping diamonds and icicles together to create his music. The album sounds enough like the instrumental portions of Björk’s Vespertine that it isn’t hard to imagine Weber stomping through a field of snow to create a percussion line. However precious his choice of sounds might be, Black Noise nonetheless impresses for its forward-thinking and even robust approach to contemporary dance music. Opener “lay in a shimmer” resolves into a propulsive 4/4 pulse, while “Bohemian Forest” uses a descending chime arpeggio to deconstruct that rhythm. While the instrumental tracks that comprise the bulk of the record are heady, impressive work, the standout cut is “Stick to My Side,” on which Panda Bear provides lyrics and vocals: The song offeres Panda Bear an opportunity to indulge in his predilection for multi-tracked, looped vocal digressions, and it gives Weber a more accessible outlet for his idiosyncratic take on dance. That Noise does offer something of an “in” for an audience who may not give this type of electronic music much play works in the album’s favor without pulling focus from Weber’s greater creative vision.
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