Pantha Du Prince And The Bell Laboratory Elements Of Light on LP
A carillon is a baton, console-driven ensemble of bells, all capable of producing different tones. Bells arranged in carillon form have been regular features of church steeples throughout Europe since early medieval times. Their numbers declined somewhat during the course of the World Wars. As metal was in demand at the time, a lot of the bells were impounded during the course of the conflicts.
Though commonly associated with these places of worship, the use of a 64-piece set of bells in Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory should not be seen as a romanticization or appropriation of the Christian faith and its symbols. Rather, the use of bells represents an autonomous development of Pantha Du Princes’s sound aesthetic, a logical continuation of the work heard on his latest album, Black Noise (Rough Trade Records, 2010).
The use of bells in it self is not a new feature in Hendrik Weber aka Pantha Du Prince’s oeuvre. On Black Noise, the characteristic sound behaviour of these particular instruments were subjected to a method of digital approximation, making the resulting electronic alienation a key feature of the album. The result was the unique combination of a Doppler effect of vibration, a harmony of under and overtones, and multiple alien frequencies, all produced by the casting effect of the bell itself.
The Bell Laboratory can be seen as both a musical score and a full orchestra. The idea to compose for carillon in the summer of 2010, came forth when Hendrik Weber at lunch with local curators Mattis With and Håkon Vinnogg heard the characteristic bells of Oslo City Hall during a visit to the Norwegian capital. Together they started working out the blueprint on how the carillion based piece should be done. Hendrik started collaborating with Norwegian conductor instrumentalist and electro-acoustic composer Lars Petter Hagen to further explore the bell.
The result of this collaboration is Elements of Light, a 45-minute symphony for carillon, live percussion and electronic programming. In addition to the 64-piece carillon, the piece includes numerous tubular bells, marimba, xylophone, cymbals and other percussive elements. Elements of Light was developed both on paper and computer. The writing approach corresponded with that of Pantha Du Prince’s regular pieces, the individual digital samples of the Oslo City Hall carillon were written, arranged and finally played as a whole. Additional instrumentation was then added.
Elements of Light is a composition into imaginary space, brought to life through transcription and rehearsals with the other musicians taking part in the project. Oslo City Hall’s carillonneur Vegar Sandholt and percussionists Martin Horntveth of Jaga Jazzist, Erland Dahlen of Nils Petter Molvaer Trio, Håkon Stene of the Norwegian Academy of Music and Heming Valebjørg of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra have all aided Weber and Hagen in the further development and live implementation of Elements of Light.
Elements of Light is a logical continuation of Pantha Du Prince’s previous work, but the music does in no way constitute a walk down beaten paths. The result of this unusual project is an original piece, crafted in the intersection between electronic elements and classical composition. While maintaining a strict focus on the resonating sound of bells and percussion, Elements of Light offers a deep and broad range of sounds, all driven by a swelling and detumescing bass drum.
Pantha Du Prince And The Bell Laboratory Elements Of Light Track Listing:
4. Spectral Split