"Saturn Strobe," the second track on producer Hendrik Weber's second full-length as Pantha du Prince, This Bliss, fully embodies its namesake, evoking the exquisite icy rings of that gaseous planet. Just don't mistake it for a space-disco cut, as Prince's productions are concerned with not just the metronomic minimalism of house but also the ether around every tone, thwack, and throb, capturing the nimbuses surrounding each hit, creating a pulse that verges on the celestial. Such attention to sonic detail has made Prince's tracks staples in the DJ sets of Ritchie Hawtin and Tobias Thomas, not to mention garnering him remix work for Depeche Mode and the forthcoming Animal Collective single.
Pitchfork's Philip Sherburne recently posited that a prevalence of chiming cathedral bells in German cities like Cologne and Hamburg may have something to do with techno artists' infatuation with such lingering tones, and Prince's "Seeds of Sleep" exemplifies this notion with its ambient haze of tintinnabulation. His neatest trick, however, is not just allowing these bell-like peals to linger, their overlapping frequencies tingling, but to couple such weightless tones to an exhilarating sense of locomotion. "Florac," built on a woody "tock" not unlike woodpeckers playing table tennis, doubles its velocity, to where it sounds like a train rumbling through a wind-chime store. Such an emphasis on sound and its resulting ripples gives the aural impression that each tone is pearlescent, perfectly spherical. On "White Out," when tracers whistle across the stereo field, Prince neatly crafts the illusion of space.
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