Pantha du Prince - Garden Gaia Music Album Reviews

Pantha du Prince - Garden Gaia Music Album Reviews
On Pantha du Prince’s sixth album, the organic tumult is so thick that electronic tones and rhythms bend and buckle around it.

Pantha du Prince’s catalog plays like a time-lapse of techno being reclaimed by nature. The German producer born Hendrik Weber had a Neuschwanstein-sized Romantic streak from the beginning, and his production style was always indifferent to the associations conjured by techno’s name. He prefers instruments to synthetic sounds when possible, collaborating on his 2010s albums Black Noise and The Triad with musicians like bassist Tyler Pope and drummer Bendik HK. His work this decade has skewed increasingly new age, with 2020’s Conference of Trees leaning so uncompromisingly into its wild talking-trees concept as to halfway convince the listener that plants might actually sound like this when they communicate. Surrounding nearly everything he makes is a thick cloud of bells and percussion that seems to have a mind of its own, inescapably following his music around like a tenacious swarm of bees.

On Garden Gaia, Weber’s sixth album as Pantha du Prince, the organic tumult is so thick that everything else seems to bend and buckle around it. The sound design is familiar from the first ding-a-ling on “Open Day,” but the generosity with which it’s applied is not. Every empty space in the mix is filled not just with bells but also recordings of birds and rushing water that form part of the music’s fabric, rather than simply lapping at its margins. It takes more than a minute for the beat to assemble itself on “Open Day,” and it’s not a four-on-the-floor rhythm but a burdened half-time lope. Pantha’s drums have always been a bit flimsy, performing the bare minimum duty of driving the music forward rather than targeting the listener’s head with sonic or rhythmic trickery. Here they resemble snapping twigs, often paired with woody creaks and rustles that sound as if Weber is clearing the overgrowth from his music in real time.

The sense of momentum that thrives in Pantha’s music is de-emphasized here, and while Black Noise and Conference of Trees felt like journeys along a linear path, Garden Gaia is more like staring into nine individual thickets of climbing vines, hoping to make sense of the overwhelming growth. The tracks are shorter than usual, all hovering around four to five minutes, and the division between rhythmic tracks and more ambient ones keeps the album from generating any sense of forward motion. Some of the techno tracks seem to hurtle toward dead ends; “Crystal Volcano” and “Blume” take their time to emerge from the ether but waste none retreating back into it. Gaia sounds best when it commits fully to atmospheric sound design, as during the eerie bass-and-hand-drums invocation “Mother” and the sumptuous, string-drenched closer “Golden Galactic.”

Pantha’s 2020s are shaping up to be his most eclectic and experimental decade yet, and the ecologically conscious concepts and hand-crafted sound of his recent music serve him well. Yet he seems reluctant to stray too far from the bread and butter of his sound. “Liquid Lights” devotes crucial climactic running time to a simple chord progression and a rudimentary beat underlined by the usual bells, and it sounds so much like Pantha-by-numbers that we might find ourselves scanning old tracklists to see if it isn’t an edit of something from Black Noise or The Triad. The music on Garden Gaia is inspired by the idea of Earth as a self-regulating system, and it’s heartening in that context to hear Weber let his machines fall into disrepair. But Garden Gaia sounds best when they’re swallowed up entirely.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Pantha du Prince - Garden Gaia Music Album Reviews Pantha du Prince - Garden Gaia Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 06, 2022 Rating: 5


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