If the accelerating success of Animal Collective in 2009 was weird enough, the level of anticipation surrounding their projects for 2010 must be astronomical, following the placing of “Merriweather Post Pavilion” at Number One in so many end-of-year polls.

If the accelerating success of Animal Collective in 2009 was weird enough, the level of anticipation surrounding their projects for 2010 must be astronomical, following the placing of “Merriweather Post Pavilion” at Number One in so many end-of-year polls.



It’s predictable, then, that the band seem to be beginning the new year with solo projects that may, at least partially, defuse some of the hype. Deakin has been playing the odd solo show without too much fuss, though a recent Panda Bear gig where he previewed almost entirely new material (presumably from the fairly imminent follow-up to “Person Pitch”) has been drawing a good deal more heat.

Before that, however, Panda Bear – Noah Lennox, that is – crops up applying vocals to “Stick To My Side”, a track on the new album by Pantha Du Prince, a German producer. If Animal Collective – and Lennox’s solo work – have reached out towards dance music in recent years, it’s still striking to hear him placed into a more-or-less pure techno context. Pantha Du Prince – Hendrik Weber – is often described as a creator of minimalist techno, but here, and for most of the excellent “Black Noise”, he artfully and meticulously layers various subtle bell-like melodies and rhythms beneath Lennox’s relatively straight vocal melody, as it gradually multiplies and expands into a characteristically yearning series of loops.

It’s lovely, as is the whole album. There’s something silvery and hard to pin down about much of Weber’s music here, not insubstantial, but insidious in a very discreet way which can be hard to articulate. “Stick To My Side” might seem to stand out as his big stab at indie crossover or whatever (he’s now on Rough Trade, too), but actually it blends fairly seamlessly into the whole immersive experience of the album.

Weber’s often categorised alongside a bunch of Kompakt artists, and I can see certain affinities with, say, parts of The Field’s music. But there’s something a little different, precious but not fey, about the way he favours a certain glistening, bobbling sound palate, which reminds me of some ‘90s IDM stuff on Warp, and also a more graceful iteration of the work done by James Holden (another Warp throwback in some ways, I guess) on “The Idiots Are Winning”. Tracks habitually begin abstractedly and ringing, then gradually resolve themselves into rich, gently pulsating marvels; “Bohemian Forest” being a classic case in point.

Inscrutable but not alienating, perhaps, and the cover painting, of an alpine church, set on the edge of a mirror-like lake, seems nebulously apposite. Weber’s last album, “This Bliss”, is reputedly even better: to my shame, I’ve not heard it. But check out “The Splendour” on his MySpace and see what you think.