Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory: Elements Of Light (CD, Rough Trade, January 2013)

I should start by saying that my response to this record is more than normally subjective. I was lucky enough to see this performed at last year’s Today’s Art festival. It was one of those concerts where the music is enhanced by the physicality of the performance, and the two become inseparable in my mind. So now, I can’t listen to the CD without having happy memories of that spectacle.


As I’ve said before, I’m sceptical of the idea of live techno. But if you’re going to attempt the thing, filling a moodily-lit stage with cowled figures, a load of bells, and a three-tonne carillon is a pretty good way to go about it. It starts out quietly atmospheric, but soon the tempo picks up and the gentle beats kick in and what we have is good, simple, melodic techno — that just happens to be played on a selection of chiming clonking ringing percussion instruments. At times it is mesmerizing, at others it’s actually pretty bouncy. (My recollection is that there was more of the former in the live act, but I might be wrong.) I can’t say how well this would work if you were hearing it recorded for the first time, but I really enjoy it.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Leftfield, which I have to say I feel is a little conservative of them.

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