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Pantha Du Prince - This Bliss

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Artist: Pantha Du Prince

Album: This Bliss

Label: Dial

Review date: Jul. 20, 2007

Pantha Du Prince's first album Diamond Daze made a strong impression among die-hard minimal techno enthusiasts when it was released in 2004. But the people who are most likely to be blown away by his new album are more casual listeners, people who might only own a handful of electronic records. Henrik Weber, the man behind the Pantha alias, cites My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive as major influences on his music. The incredibly deep bass lines and beats are the first things that some people will notice when they put this on, but upon further listening to the melodies, it becomes clear that Weber has almost as much in common with those groups as he does with artists like Lawrence or Basic Channel.

The album's dubby production, light and crisp snare hits and echoing hi-hats, contrast perfectly with the glorious string swells, bits of vocals, slow bursts of noise and chimes that flitter almost endlessly from left to right. In someone else's hands the same sounds could easily be saccharine and cloying, but Pantha Du Prince uses them subtly and avoids telling listeners exactly how the music is supposed to make them feel. The album moves gracefully between uptempo and ambient moments, which makes the 80-minute running time fly by surprisingly quickly. While some parts of This Bliss are wonderfully cold and stark, much of the album has an uncommon warmth and playfulness; it might even be described as timeless.

In my experience, fans of electronic music can be particularly rigid about what they like and what they don't like. For example, people who buy every 12" on Kompakt and Perlon can be openly disdainful of artists like Ulrich Schnauss and labels like Morr Music, which are wildly popular among people who don't typically listen to electronic music. There are others who love records that are really minimal or experimental but can't stand anything that's too melodic or too beat-driven. It can take a great record to make people rise above this tendency, and few albums have had as much potential for widespread appeal as Pantha Du Prince's masterful This Bliss.

By Rob Hatch-Miller

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