Pantha Du Prince released an album in 2007 on Dial records that I didn’t hear until recently. Which means that I’m sometimes totally out of the loop when it comes to great electronic music even though I download massive loads of stuff. I just don’t have time to digest anything at once, especially in avant-garde music. However more rewarding it’s also a more demanding listen. Henrik Weber is the man behind Pantha Du Prince and I will say that This bliss is probably the album that has impressed me the most in recent electronic releases, experimental or not. His music has a string of influences that runs the gamut from classical music, Detroit techno and Shoegazer. Between ethereal waves and a warm grooving bassline, Pantha weaves strings together for an impressive and troubling synthesis, one which causes dissonance between its elements, just as it creates dissociation between its interplay.
The album flows along beautifully, maintaining its mood throughout, with the tracks first ascending, then intensifying, then dissipating, with the clatter of metallic and delayed percussions hitting with a loopscapes, like Asha. This Bliss mostly showcases the naturalist preoccupations of much recent German techno. For all its idiosyncracies, its lushness, this music is clearly the product of a mathematical environnement. It’s an album that’s as much rooted in My bloody valentine as it is in minimal tech-house. He seems to always bring in new elements in some songs which increases the interaction and makes his music much more engaging, sort of like Isolée. A track like Walden 2, is a testament to that ability. But my favorite track on the album and the one that stands out for me is Saturn Strobe. I found myself repeating it time after time. With its beautifully lush layers of strings sweeping the headphones, it creates a real feeling of open space that conjure up the imagery of glacial winterscapes, hence the naturalist concern mentionned below. This Bliss is a phenomenal piece of work. I’m just truly ashamed to have only discovered it in 2009 but it will stay in my playlist for a long time…
Pantha du prince : Saturn strobe [Dial : 2007 : This bliss]
Pantha du prince : Asha [Dial : 2007 : This bliss]
I used to listen to a lot of progressive house, a style of house music that is noted for musical progression within melodies and basslines. Compared to trance, the progressive genre is usually deeper and more abstract, featuring a lower bpm (around 125-135 instead of 130-160) and a recurrent melodic structure. It’s more abstract and minimal and less catchy. Of course in the mid nineties it was rather called trance but still, bands like Orbital and Leftfield (especially Song of life) had a definite prog edge to them. Later on in the early 2000, I discovered a lot of good progressive soundscapes by the likes of Sasha, Danny Howells, James Holden (in his early sets) and Nick Warren. An English DJ and record producer as Way out west, he’s also the head manager of Hope recordings. Warren also mixed a lot of Global Underground sets, although as of late GU Series had become a bit tedious. Nick Warren can create a hard progressive set or a set with slower tracks nobody ever heard. His mix for GU entitled Paris is a good example of that, featuring only downtempo and chilled songs. But on his prog side, his music is silky, with a modernised progressive house beat and music fused in a versatile & trendy way à la neo-minimal 4/4 tech-house signature currently doing the rounds. Check out his mix for GU : Lima, an excellent introduction to the genre. As well as a great remix he did for Kenneth Thomas for his song “Orange room”. It’s featured on his equally great set called Just music. This post is for someone that truly works hard in Quebec city in order to bring DJ’s and good electronic music altogether!
Kenneth Thomas : Orange room – Nick Warren mix [Hope recordings : 2006]
Backbone music has often been used in movies, TV series (just think Sixth feet under) and TV commercials, but too often among the gamut of releases, it’s become hard to decipher what is exactly downtempo music. Perhaps ambient with a beat, but with different kinds of flavors of jazz, funk, soul, dub, and classic mixed into it. If you’re interested in the genre here is a good reference in the matter. But for those who want to dig more, here is a mix of songs I did, which I decided to call “Down with the tempo”, which seldom bypasses 110 BPM. If I had to pick up one standout track it would have to be Djuma Soundsystem : Les Djinns remixed by the ever great Trentemøller in a downbeat mode with spanish guitars and slow soundscapes. As usual, here is the mix in stream and the tracklisting as well. Try to find the sources of some movie samples, you’ll see, it’s funny ! Hope you guys enjoy it !
Down with the tempo mix
1) Une revolution en 1789 ?
2) Troublemakers : Get misunderstood (Quantic soul remix)
3) Crazy Penis : T plays it cool
4) Nina Simone : See-line woman (Ezel mix)
5) Ursula Rucker : Circe (Jazzanova mix)
6) Gotan project : Santa maria (Tom Middleton mix)
7) Interlude avec Henri Bergeron
8 ) Miklos Rozsa : Love theme from Ben Hur (Bombay dub orchestra remix)
9) Cesaria Evora : Miss perfumado (4 hero remix)
10) Djuma Soundsystem : Les Djinns (Trentemøller remix)
11) Nils Petter Molvær : Leaps and bounds
12) Budzahead : Loco dub motion
13) Massive attack : Tear drop (Mad Professor Mazaruni Vocal Mix)
14) Psyco on the bus : Take a rest (Chateau Flight Rmx)
15) Frankie Valley : Imagination
Down with the tempo [2010 @ Funky Jeff ]