Pantha du Prince – Conference of Trees

A record that thrives on its biocentric themes, Pantha du Prince's Conference of Trees is one you won’t want to leave behind

Album Review by Robin Murray | 04 Mar 2020
  • Pantha du Prince – Conference of Trees
Album title: Conference of Trees
Artist: Pantha du Prince
Label: Modern Recordings
Release date: 6 Mar

Pantha du Prince has always been a producer adept at locating the humane amid fractured electronics. 2010’s outstanding Black Noise was beset with poignancy, while 2017’s Rough Trade-backed The Triad was a gorgeous, daringly beautiful listen.

New album Conference of Trees perhaps represents fullest realisation of the German producer’s desire to truly inhabit his music, however. A daring return to the organic, the record was constructed using a complex series of wooden instruments, partly handmade from different kinds of wood, and it envisages the sort of melodious conversations that trees might have, outwith the range of human interference.

Opening gambit Approach In a Breeze unfurls as a mini-manifesto for these kindling methodologies, its soothing neo-ambient aesthetic nestling comfortably in the woodland. Birch Eno, perhaps. Or Sycamore Reich, maybe.

Holding the Oak coalesces in a thicket of austere melody, it’s bracken notes splintering to the touch. When We Talk, meanwhile, aims for a kind of sub-conscious conversation, an emotional communion that almost goes beyond performance itself. Pius In Tacet amplifies this feeling still further, capturing a kind of Holy silence, a zen-like calm, the swaying of branches in barely perceptible breeze fully translated note by painstaking note.

Closing piece Lichtung enraptures across its 12 minute expanse, echoing the techno-leanings of Pantha du Prince’s previous work in its gentle rise and fall, so natural and so refreshing. It’s a finale that brings together so many of the themes present on Conference of Trees – the patient exhibition of atmosphere, the translation of electronic themes into organic modes, and above all else the bold imagination of its creator. A record that thrives on its biocentric themes, it’s one you won’t want to leave behind.

Listen To: Pius In Tacet, Lichtung, The Crown Territory