Pantha du Prince
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Pantha du Prince

Band EDM Avant-garde

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Dec
03
Pantha du Prince @ Centre National de la Danse

Paris, Not Applicable, France

Paris, Not Applicable, France

Dec
02
Pantha du Prince @ Centre National de la Danse

Paris, Not Applicable, France

Paris, Not Applicable, France

Dec
01
Pantha du Prince @ Centre National de la Danse

Paris, Not Applicable, France

Paris, Not Applicable, France

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Music

Press


Pantha du Prince's This Bliss hit me hardest during a train ride on a foggy evening. Peering out my window, the electricity poles looming out of the mist and then vanishing again looked like starkly geometrical trees (while the starkly geometrical trees looked like electricity poles), and the fog seemed to press against the window like it wanted inside. Most instrumental electronic music benefits from such evocative surroundings, but the work of German producer Hendrik Weber seems almost to require it: His delicate, brittle melodic techno under the Pantha du Prince moniker is itself only evocative, to the point that it only makes sense when it's making sense of the world for you.

Perhaps I was vibing off how the ambiguity of the world outside mirrored the ambiguity of the music. Weber's productions, filled with fragile melodic sequences, grim basslines, dolorous chimes, reticular house percussion, and unidentifiable found sounds (TV static? Trickling water? Rocks banging together?), seems to dwell at the precise point where nature and industry become indistinguishable. It's a vantage point from which plants and machines become just more shapes to populate the surface of the earth, and from which humans are curiously absent. But Weber is not blind to the differences between the two, and This Bliss moves gracefully between visions of the natural world and its manmade counterfeits. Given the sweeping romanticism of his depiction of the former, it's not surprising that technology adopts a slightly sinister role in his work: If the music quite frequently drifts towards "proper” dance music (often resembling the cavernous grooves of LFO's Frequencies, only with none of its playfulness), this is portrayed throughout as a sign that things are very wrong.

As with Ellen Allien and Apparat's Orchestra of Bubbles album from last year, Weber is less interesting in a sonic fusion of the human and the mechanic than he is in playing the differences off one another, and This Bliss mostly sidesteps the naturalist preoccupations of much recent German techno. For all its intricacy, its lushness, this music is clearly the product of a strictly mathematical technology, its clicks and whirs and tinkling arpeggios evoking images of an abandoned factory in which the machines quietly run themselves. The mechanical abstraction of "Moonstruck" counterposes an ominous, almost gritty bassline and depressive, atomized synth patterns that occasionally resolve into the vigilant bleep of a life-support machine (Note to producers: This trick always works), while for long sections the moody "Urlichten" sounds like it's being sucked through an industrial fan.

Even when Weber is indulging in crystalline and romantic visions of nature, the music remains a stage without actors: The sighing strings, furtive rustles and mournful horns of "Saturn Strobe" could be the sound of an abandoned forest patiently crafting its own elegy, utterly detached and yet quietly sorrowful as it awaits its own demise. Only in the anthemic final act of "Walden 2" is any light let in, with a succession of spectacular synth arpeggios that sound almost hopeful; but the moment passes quickly into a sense of remorse, as if hope is only defined by its own precariousness-- hope itself becomes too much to hope for in a narrative defined by decay. This overwhelming sense of loss, of something slipping away, becomes almost claustrophobic as the album continues, and exacerbates its context-dependence: In the wrong setting its pathos can become intolerable and its fragility ignorable. Choose your moments, however, and the quiet rebuke of this music makes for a magically humbling experience.
- Pitchfork


Discography

'Nowhere'
'Diamond Daze'
'Butterfly Girl Versions'
'Lichten/Walden'
'This Bliss'
'Behind the Stars'

Photos

Bio

Fishing in the morning, philosophising in the evening: Hendrik Weber has updated Marx's communism in everyday life. After getting up, he turns his life into an analogue artpiece and when going to bed, he manipulates digital data streams.

You may already know him as "Panthel" or "Glühen 4" and as a satellite rotating around the Hamburg-based DIAL label and Indiehouse scene. Hendrik Weber's current and probably most influential project is "Pantha du Prince". In 2003, he released the radically introverted debut album "Diamond Daze": it represents purest sublime physicalness and basically an awesome collection of Hendrik Weber's knowledge and experience in Indierock, New Music and Techno. It is great to see many different layers of a personal history displayed without any ambition of supersense. Though you will find some canonical references (to Detroit Techno, Theo Parrish, Moodyman, Acid House or to good-old Techno "smasher"), in fact the basic vocabulary of Techno and House is constantly enriched and contaminated by alien word fragments. But interferences are welcome and you must not underestimate neither the influence of Noisepop (My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, A.R. Kane) nor the influence of Electronic Music, Minimalism or Folk on the sometimes psychedelically wobbling sounds from Pantha du Prince. Each reference speaks its own language, and just like life, each influence is multiplied and boundaries get blurred. This layering of sounds and moods produces somewhat bizarre effects as every single layer reveals another one. There is neither any centre, nor any "Does and Don'ts". Hendrik Weber loves to break up functionalities and traditional sound structures. And not to forget this unforgiving melancholy that plays a vital part in all his sounds.

However, you will never have the feeling that a vain sovereign governs the archives. Hendrik Weber does not feel this pressure for self-expression or external manifestations (such as affectations in posture and dress) like other artists in the Techno and House scene do. He rather sticks to the wobbly boundary between Does and Don'ts, control and lavishness, ego and excess. Doubt or nescience may allow gorgeous things to happen. Sometimes, music knows more than its producer and this diving into the Ocean of Sound may also be called "digital romanticism". During Hendrik Weber's live performances as "Pantha du Prince" however, you will experience a completely different version of this vague attitude. Instead of acting the self-confident shaman, Hendrik Weber throws his sounds at the audience with an active-passive nonchalance and makes "it" happen: he always leaves enough space for uncontrollable oscillations and at the best moment, Hendrik Weber succeeds in creating this "other space" within a real space (club, bar, public living room) which Michel Foucault defines as "counter-positions or points of resistance" – "effectively realised utopia in which all the real arrangements that can be found within society and culture, are at one and the same time represented, challenged and overturned". Weber's bizarre performance at this "sort of place that lies outside all places and yet is actually localizable" reminds of David Bowie, Andy Warhol and Samuel Beckett's theatre: Why these weird gestures towards the laptop screen? Does he want to appease the invisible data streams and prevent them from getting out of control? Or is it just a little pea hidden under the keyboard? And then Hendrik Weber's nervous elegance – damned sexy and glamourous. But be careful: the desire for the ultimate effect, for this special moment of salvation when "the bass drum leaves, and the holy spirit arrives" is only slightly triggered, but never fulfilled. Though Hendrik Weber wanders in a multi-functional way between Avantgarde and rush, noise and rave, he is reluctant to fulfil popular expectations for instant excitement. Nothing is in fact more boring than the foolproof shortage of unlimited possibilities music has to offer...and thus, nothing ever gets stuck and is soon directed in a completely different direction. And all works out nicely then! Hendrik Weber is a rebel against the topography of entertainment terror. But he offers millions of other streams of desires instead. It is all about this sudden, unprogrammed bliss that Marx would call the "Kingdom of Freedom".