If there’s been one constant trend throughout German electronic producer Henrik Weber’s career trajectory as Pantha Du Prince, it’s that he’s steadily moved further away from the Frankfurt techno-dominated explorations of his early Dial Records releases, to a point where 2010’s spectacular ‘Black Noise’ album saw him drawing in a substantially wider audience, with elements of post-rock and ambient creeping in alongside a vocal appearance from Animal Collective’s Panda Bear. Three years on from his collaboration with The Bell Laboratory ‘Elements Of Light’, this fifth album ‘The Triad’ sees Weber looking back at some of the diverse terrain that he’s covered so far, and then finding a way to combine it into one cohesive whole.
It’s also the most band-oriented Pantha Du Prince album so far, with the majority of these tracks being based around the core trio of Weber, vocalist Scott Mou aka Mr Queens and Bendik Kjeldsberg of The Bell Laboratory. Opening track ‘The Winter Hymn’ sees Mou’s ghostly multitracked falsetto vocals taking centre stage amongst a lush backdrop of glacial bell tones and crisply pressurised house rhythms, the breakdown into moody bass murmurings halfway through allowing the ambient elements space to swell into a heady wash of sounds, in an opening salvo that equals anything on ‘Black Noise’ in terms of dreamy and ethereal crossover pop. ‘Frau Im Mond, Sterne Laufen’ meanwhile builds moody atmospheres around clattering drum machine rhythms, eerie phased synth trails and background echoes of Weber’s own vocal harmonies as dark analogue synths rise up like tendrils around the night-drive pulse.
‘Vapour Trails’ ushers in a ten minute glide through crisp tech-house rhythms and refracting harmonic tones that sees Joachim Schulz’s blurred out vocals providing a warmer human presence amongst all the mechanical precision as the harsher overdriven buzzes suddenly melt off into a wash of delayed-out bell tones. Elsewhere, ‘Dream Yourself Awake’ sees Weber’s New Wave-tinged vocals merging with icy synths and dry, stripped down drum machine rhythms, the background ambient tones rising into a mesmerising wall as his voice reaches out through layers of reverb. All up, ‘The Triad’ sees Pantha Du Prince crafting a consistently inspired album that contains some of his most straightforwardly dancefloor centred material in recent years.