- After a stunning sophomore album that rightfully earned him a rare perfect score on RA, Hamburg's Hendrik Weber AKA Pantha Du Prince has been markedly quiet on the production front: Behind the Stars is his first full solo release in more than two years and, unfortunately, it shows. The two tracks here, although polished (and, at times, compelling), suffer from a pointed lack of direction, as if stuck in a kind of post-hiatus quicksand, unsure of where to turn.
The title track picks up where the likes of "Moonstruck" and "White Out" left off, utilising the same rolling, acid-flavoured low-end throb, but struggles to recapture the otherworldly ambience that so powerfully marked its predecessors. Instead, after eight minutes of dark, propulsive, occasionally gripping but ultimately meandering Smagghe-friendly electro-techno business—strikingly reminiscent of Konrad Black's Italo-esque bass excursions for Wagon Repair circa '05—it goes straight for the jugular with a thick, sprawling synth lead ripped right out of the Border Community nu-trance handbook. Arriving as if out of nowhere, it's a powerful shift in dynamics—fairly sweeping the track off its feet—but peters out all too quickly as things switch back into pre-epiphany mode for a final, uninspired salvo.
As for B-side "Frozen Fog," the less said the better. Clocking in at a hearty nine-and-a-half minutes, it does a sterling job of going nowhere very, very slowly. There's nothing massively wrong with it—dark, buzzing bass, slinky hats and timely percussive lacerations make for a decent set of core elements—but it's simply not a finished piece. Bereft of any defining characteristics and content to mooch around aimlessly, quite how it passed Dial's pre-release litmus test is beyond me.
A Behind the Stars
B Frozen Fog