Pantha du Prince with the Bell Laboratory – Elements of Light
The Hamburg based microhouse producer, Pantha du Prince (Hendrik Weber), brings us an intriguing conceptual experiment with his latest release. The album is all about bells, drawing on a centuries old instrument called the carillon – a gigantic contraption where shelves of various sized bells are connected to a keyboard – to create the arrangements that he fleshes out with house bass and percussion. The bell motif is familiar in German techno. Many of the artists on the Hamburg Dial label, for example, have used it in their work, presumably because of the wealth of emotional and historical associations it lends the music, but also, probably, because bells just sound great. They sound rich, resonant, clear and, when there are dozens of them going at once, as on this album, pretty spectacular.
While Weber has used bell tones to augment his music in the past, the Elements of Light album stands apart in its maximalism. Not only is the carillon used, but a group of musicians called The Bell Laboratory further fill out the compositions with other chiming instruments such as marimbas and triangles. The overall effect is one of sensuousness, a teeming intricate music of considerable beauty, though perhaps limited character. While the record is broken into five tracks (all with sciencey sounding names such as ‘Photon’ or ‘Spectral Split’) it plays out as a continuous mix. It is ambitious in its scope and after last year’s Krautrock inspired Ursprung album, it’s another notable side project from one of Germany’s most talented producers.
DJ Deep – Kern Vol.1
This month’s notable mix album comes from the French producer DJ Deep (pictured). Kern Vol.1 is the first in a new series of mixes from the Berlin label Tresor. Although Tresor’s club is associated with a dark and hard style of techno, the press release for the album states that participating producers were asked to take ‘a more personal approach’ to the mix, and it seems that DJ Deep has done just that. He turns in a mix with a broad scope, both in terms of the eras represented and the style of music. The opening movement draws heavily on early house and techno, featuring, for example, Juan Atkins (‘Is This Real?’) and an unreleased 1993 house cut from A.E.S (‘Music in my Head’).
As the mix progressor the tones darken and the beats switch gears into territory more typical of Tresor, with Ben Klock’s tremendous rework of Phase’s ‘Binary Opposition’ and The Traveller’s (aka Shed’s) ‘A100’ ensuring the last half hour or so thunders past with great power and muscularity. Putting together the first mix of a series that will undoubtedly be compared to the storied Berghain series on Ostgut Ton must be an anxious task, but DJ Deep has carried it off with verve and balance. I’m already looking forward to Kern Vol.2.
Shifted and Sunil Sharpe in the Twisted Pepper
On Saturday February 2nd, the Pogo promoters will bring Shifted to the Twisted Pepper. Shifted is an anonymous British producer associated with Luke Slater’s Mote-Evolver label. Like Slater, his take on techno seems borne of northern English soil, drawing as it does on the sounds of industry. His debut album Crossed Paths flowed as weighty as molten steel and was one of the standout long play releases last year (a year that saw a lot of music of that stripe released).
Sunil Sharpe is an Irish producer and DJ whose uncompromising music (best exemplified on last year’s ‘A1’ single) makes perfect sense on a line up with Shifted. Sharpe, who is well known for radio DJ work on 2fm, has probably found that trends in techno have taken a turn towards his own style, so here’s hoping 2013 sees his star rise further.
The night starts at 10.30 and admission is €10 with concession or €12 on the door.