- by David Bruggink Rating:6 Release Date:2016-05-20 Label:
The success of Pantha du Prince’s 2010 album, Black Noise, provided ample reason to get excited about The Triad. On Black Noise, his now-recognizable deployment of field recordings and twinkling, echoing bells felt unique placed alongside the more typical sawtooth synth swells and out-of-the-box snares and hi-hats. One could deprecatingly call it 'bleep-bloopy' minimal techno, but that wouldn’t do sufficient justice to its overall impact. I’d argue that effective electronic music often depends on three things: solid production value, sonic inventiveness, and emotional impact, and Black Noise managed to hit all three.
As The Triad begins, even if Pantha du Prince’s sound hasn’t evolved significantly, it does seem initially that he hasn’t lost his touch. ‘The Winter Hymn’ sets the listener's hopes high, with its clearly defined melodies and celestial vocal passages, and ‘You What? Euphoria!’ also wastes no time in sinking into a trance of interlocking bells and bass synth. It feels like the bouncy, techno equivalent of an assertively catchy song by a dream-pop band like DIIV.
The album’s palette of sounds is a pleasantly organic departure from some of the more staid, predictable releases of late, but I suspect it will not be particularly surprising for Pantha du Prince fans. Shards of field recordings, from the nondescript (standard creaks and taps) to the more interesting (what could be prepared piano), make frequent appearances, often adhering to robotic 4/4 rhythms. But the defining characteristic of the album is its omnipresent bells, and though I’ve nothing against the timbre of the bells themselves, their usage rather quickly begins to feel rote rather than imaginative.
Similarly, the album’s emotional peaks and valleys aren’t particularly accentuated, creating a ten-song set that, despite its immaculate production, doesn’t leave much of an impression. 'Wallflower for Pale Saints’ comes close to being a powerful closer, but suffers from a meandering structure and vocals that seem almost out of tune, even though they’re swathed generously in reverb, per the shoegaze tradition.
Techno-philes in search of something more melodic might enjoy The Triad quite a bit, but I predict that unlike Black Noise, it won't have the same ability to turn indie rock kids into headphone electronica listeners.
Just had a listen. I agree. Decent, but not earth-shattering.
Yeah, it also starts to feel quite monotonous as it goes on.