On his follow-up to the majestic masterpiece that is The Bliss, Pantha Du Prince or Hendrik Weber takes a step further towards blending his shimmering techno melodies with the natural world. Black Noise describes the sound of impending doom, the silence ‘heard’ just before a catastrophic moment like a natural disaster; in this case the destruction of a Swiss village beneath a landslide. The album sleeve, a soft pastoral painting of a burning village (not your usual cover to a techno album), makes another reference to the Alps where Hendrik made a field trip; recording sounds of Alpine life.
Black Noise emerges from beneath a shimmering blanket of bells and chimes; waking slowly, beats drip and crackle over live recordings of village life. Opening tracks clamber, with tinkering music box sounds over resonating broken house rhythms and subtle layered bass. !!!’s Tyler Pope takes on bass duties for the LP’s lead track -The Splendour’, a phenomenal tune, the clattering background noises fall into line with the structured percussion creating a benevolent glitchy anthem.
As if the albums arrival needed any further heralding, Panda Bear’s Noah Lennox vocal on -Stick To My Side’ is soft and entrancing; creating a psychedelic indie dance classic. Brows were raised with Weber’s move from Dial Records to the most indie of indie labels, Rough Trade. However though Pantha Du Prince remains predominantly a techno artist his appeal stretches far beyond the genre.
The centre of the album is dancefloor friendly deep-house, pulsing bass, propelling beats and soaring strings but the groove is such that it may enjoyed in any environment. -A Nomad’s Retreat’ is regimental stomping Detroit house, all the while tinkling live recordings are woven throughout anchoring the album in its original concept. Never are the two concepts, techno and real-life, more married than on -Satellite Sniper’, a spell-binding blend of artificial and natural electro-acoustics over choppy tech-house rhythms. There’s real beauty created on -Welt Am Draht’ as ethereal choral sounds swirl over cinematic soundscapes before Black Noise winds down with shivering ambient electronica.
Black Noise is a living breathing album; an exceptional techno record brimming with soul and emotion.