Conference of Trees
German producer Hendrik Weber, aka Pantha du Prince, started the early 2000s making a hypnotic strain of minimal techno that was deeply informed by minimalism and ambient music. But it wasn’t until 2010’s Black Noise, which featured guests like vocalist Noah Lennox (Panda Bear, Animal Collective) and bassist Tyler Pope (LCD Soundsystem, !!!), that his signature sound—one which mixed the mechanical cadences of electronic music with more acoustic elements—really took shape. Ten years later, after making (and touring) a particularly high-minded, engrossing record with The Bell Laboratory and experimenting with conceptual art, Weber moves further away from the club on Conference of Trees, his most organic-sounding album to date. Envisioned as a hypothetical conversation between trees, the record is Weber’s embrace of his own place as an artist in the natural world. It’s an exploration of how wood—particularly instruments made from it—is the basis for so much of the music humans make, and how his electronic tools can interact with it. These songs are by and large ambient compositions: gorgeously textured assemblages of droning cello, echoing woodblock, and tinkling xylophone that play like one’s awakening to nature. Beats do begin to emerge around the midpoint of the album, but in Weber’s new world, they’re like the rhythmic twinkling of stars or falling droplets of rain, more likely to get you marveling at the sky than running for a dance floor.