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Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory
- Elements of Light

Many will find it boring. Frankly, it is – but it bores in the best way. It relaxes. Charms and invigorates. Even non-Pantha Du Prince fans would do well to check it out.

Matt O'Neill

Jan 30th 2013 | Label: Art As Catharsis
Elements Of Light was composed by experimental techno don Pantha Du Prince (Hendrick Weber) in conjunction with The Bell Laboratory – a specially assembled ensemble of live bell-players. By all accounts, it's a labour of love. Weber's affection for the harmonic layering of a bell ensemble upon hearing it for the first time recently apparently demanded he incorporate such orchestration into his own music. In a strange way, that says a lot about the sound of the resulting album.

Elements Of Light is beautiful and luxurious. Weber composed the album as a solitary, 45-minute piece of music and it's paced accordingly. Single melodic figures and notes hang suspended for nearly minutes at a time. Particle stretches over 12 minutes. Spectral Split drapes itself over 17. Throughout, Weber's presence is subtle. Droning pads sift around bell loops. Occasionally, kick drums and hi-hats invade the mix and nudge proceedings into actual techno territory.

All of which is to say – Elements Of Light is not a Pantha Du Prince album. It's barely even a techno album. Any listener looking for that kind of experience will be, for the most part, disappointed (though Particle does eventually deliver a spectacular breakdown). Still, that's not to say it isn't a good album. Weber and his collaborators have avoided the majority of pitfalls in crafting long-form instrumental music. Elements Of Light doesn't drag, avoids cliche and is, stylistically, quite novel.

Many will find it boring. Frankly, it is – but it bores in the best way. It relaxes. Charms and invigorates. Even non-Pantha Du Prince fans would do well to check it out.

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