Pantha Du Prince
Black Noise


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
February 26th, 2010 | 80 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Less "In McDonalds" than in "The Splendour," Black Noise sounds distinctly of the earth, an organic piece that wavers between warmth and menace without declaring either one the victor.

Last month, when Four Tet’s brilliant There Is Love In You dropped, the term “folk-hop,” a buzzword of ambiguous meaning, began to circulate as if this were the future, man. I mean, how cool does that sound? Techno music removed from the colder, more industrial aesthetic the genre tends to imply by placing it in an earthier context? An interesting idea to say the least, one that’s been applied before, but rarely as seamlessly as on Black Noise.

Black Noise, the latest album from German producer Pantha du Prince, is a record that sits in constant dialogue with the scene that produced Burial’s Untrue and Four Tet’s latest, but instead of being defined in concrete and metal, Black Noise sounds distinctly of the earth, clacking away at an unhurried pace, songs slowly blossoming as opposed to claustrophobically twitching. With song titles like “Lay in a Shimmer,” “Behind the Stars,” and “Bohemian Forest,” it’s clear that Black Noise is an album meant to sit as far away as possible from city life, less “In McDonalds” and more in “The Splendour,” one might say. It’s no coincidence that Pantha du Prince (aka Hendrik Weber) recruits Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) of Animal Collective to guest spot on a track. In an obvious representation of the album’s environment, the collaboration between the two artists (the startlingly immediate “Stick to My Side”) uses Noah Lennox’s familial tone to conjure the forest he’s been playing in throughout both his solo career and his tenure with Animal Collective. Black Noise creates its own fantastic forest, one specifically cast under a clear starry night where the false light allows the journey through it to hazily waver between light and dark.

Weber constructs this organic feel with hollow-log percussion and gently raining, reverb soaked lead lines, but the means are far less important than the end they achieve. Black Noise is a fairly homogeneous record, but differentiation is not at all what the album requires. In fact, the aforementioned Panda Bear collaboration is the only odd duck on the record, for unlike, say, “Walkabout” on Atlas Sound’s Logos, “Stick to My Side” interrupts a truly personal statement from a faceless individual by giving a clear voice to someone else. Black Noise works much better when Weber allows the soul of his works to remain ambiguous, making them charmingly distant without giving a definite answer as to the true emotion behind Black Noise. The wash of playfully percussive melodies and droning undercurrent characterize Black Noise as hypnotic, and the record’s surreal atmosphere constantly wavers between blissful and ominous, playing up elements of warmth and fear, sometimes at the same time. There are times tracks start blending together in a soft, contented smile, others when ticking blips and gunshot synths start contorting the smile into something slightly more sinister. It’s an indefinite personality, and one that allows Black Noise to open in new ways each time it’s revisited.

It’s on these subsequent listens where the benefits of such attention are reaped. Black Noise has a knack for rewarding both active or passive listening, whether you wish to scrutinize just how intricate these arrangements are or let them drift over you and go along for the ride. The latter approach will render Black Noise entirely mesmerizing, and the former approach will show just exactly how it's that mesmerizing. Either way, Black Noise is something worth delving into. It is something intensely personal and emotionally gray, but it’s also grounded, accessible enough to welcome you inside. What you get from that point on, however, is entirely up to you.



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user ratings (166)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Eno (4.5)
A stunning, beautifully produced and written electronic record....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

We're even, Alex Silveri.

also, forest metaphors itt

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Enotron
February 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You've got a way with words, Downer.

Happy you bumped it to a 4.

robin
Emeritus
February 26th 2010


4249 Comments


damn this review is folksy

getting. sigh.

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


10455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

where'd that fuck silveri go anyways

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

idk but he also had joanna newsom this month, so now it's in the hands of john hanson. UH OH

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


10455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hanson with the hipster sensation of 2010? frightening

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


15043 Comments


you know whats funny is i was all listening to 'in mcdonalds' on repeat last night and i wrote a poem about being in a mcdonalds at night. it was awesome. hmmm i might check this album out

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


31218 Comments


Album's chill and all things relaxing

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

poopty
February 26th 2010


319 Comments


i wouldn't say this is too much in the same vein as burial and four tet but great review nonetheless adam downer

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks sexy

i don't think it is from the "same scene" but burial and four tet seem to be the most obvious point of reference, particularly with four tet just coming out with something as strong as There is Love In You, and that gives this album its unique quality

joshuatree
Emeritus
February 26th 2010


3742 Comments


i completely agree with your points on "stick to my side", skip it almost every time i play this

Enotron
February 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In fact, the aforementioned Panda Bear collaboration is the only odd duck on the record, for unlike, say, “Walkabout” on Atlas Sound’s Logos, “Stick to My Side” interrupts a truly personal statement from a faceless individual by giving a clear voice to someone else


Did you get the walkabout comparison from the comment I posted on my review or did you already have it on your mind?

joshuatree
Emeritus
February 26th 2010


3742 Comments


he just copied your entire review can't you tell

Enotron
February 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

OMG. I think I realized that when I read the " Black Noise is a fairly homogeneous record, but differentiation is not at all what the album requires."

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I already had it in mind

and I haven't read your review :o lol

Enotron
February 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't say I didn't expect so.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:-(

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2010


15043 Comments


congrats enotron, you are the only one ever to relate one recent panda bear collaboration with another recent panda bear collaboration

Enotron
February 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

At the time I thought of it, I forgot that Panda Bear performed on that track.

That would be funny, if that was funny.

NortherlyNanook
February 26th 2010


1285 Comments


this album's pretty sick



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