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Pantha du Prince XI Versions of Black Noise Review

Remix. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

A marvellously multifaceted remix record that well complements the essential original.

Mike Diver 2011

Remix records typically come out one of two ways. Some complement the original long-player to the extent that hearing one without the other is like running a marathon without a rhino suit – half the experience you could be having. Others: shallow cash-in sets, simple as. So which is XI Versions of Black Noise? What it’s not is that many complete remixes of Pantha du Prince’s highly acclaimed 2010 album. "Of" could be "from", the 11 remixes covering only five tracks from Hendrik Weber’s third LP under this moniker, the Panda Bear-starring Stick to My Side featuring five times.

Animal Collective, the collaborative yin to Panda Bear’s solo yang, contribute their take on Welt Am Draht – included three times, other remixes courtesy of Basic Channel’s Mortiz von Oswald and Die Vögel (aka Mense Reents and Jakobus Siebels). So on paper XI Versions… could look less than essential, only a handful of tracks augmented and selected. But few can fault a cast list that also features Four Tet, Walls and Carsten Jost (David Lieske). And the quality speaks for itself once the record turns, any feelings of being short-changed dissipating into a mist of minimal beats and enveloping drones.

One of Black Noise’s best features was/is that it flowed so smoothly, appearing to complement the listener’s shifting moods in an organic, ad hoc style. It was an album to become lost in, its soundtracking to myriad situations both perfect and peculiar. One could jog with it just as easily as they could lounge, and it reached way beyond exclusive dance circles – Deftones’ Chino Moreno selected it as one of his favourite LPs of 2010. XI Versions… isn’t sequenced with anywhere near the same precision – the tracks are too diverse for that. But it does deliver a complete-feeling experience, as if any more remixes would only spoil the package.

Four Tet’s everything-clanging take on Stick to My Side is an effortless highlight, an immersive feast for the synapses; likewise the Efdemin take of the same track, which alters its approach from one of shimmering buoyancy to sinister shadow-lurking. The throbbing synth of A Nomad’s Retreat is carried from the original into The Sight Below’s re-work; here, though, there’s an increased density to the piece, Weber’s arrangement obstructed by sturdy monoliths of bass. With no track coming in at less than six minutes, XI Versions… takes commitment; but in the right frame of mind – and that’s a purely subjective state of being – no listener should be able to resist the multifaceted charms at work across this collection. Far from a cynical money-maker, this is the unwieldy outfit that unanimously improves those essential runners: harder work to start with, but providing great rewards at the finish line.

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