MELISSA BLOCK, host:

The audiences for indie rock and techno music don't generally overlap, but a German techno producer using the name Pantha du Prince has just released an album that's defying conventional wisdom. It's attracting indie rock fans more used to songs built around lyrics.

Michaelangelo Matos has this review.

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MICHAELANGELO MATOS: The artier end of today's house music and techno can be fairly described as a constant beat with some other stuff sprinkled on top. On paper, that's true of Hendrik Weber's work too. He's a DJ and producer from Hamburg, Germany, who's just released his third album, "Black Noise," under the name Pantha du Prince.

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MATOS: The tracks Pantha du Prince makes are heavy on bells, rustling noises, atmosphere, and melodies that gradually work their way in, and then shift in small but discernible ways.

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MATOS: The songs on "Black Noise" fit into the lineage of brooding, late-night underground house and techno pioneered in the mid-'90s by the Berlin label Chain Reaction, in which heavily-treated keyboards floated over rhythm patterns that sounded like they were echoing off aluminum siding.

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MATOS: By 2001, a style called microhouse combined pumping house tracks with rattling minimalism and glitches - the digital sonic accident -that lent the music a lost-in-the-data-stream poignancy.

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MATOS: Pantha du Prince's music is a vivid culmination of those approaches to techno. The glimmering high hat, owlish bass and sustained subdued feedback wail that dot the song "A Nomad's Retreat" are pleasurable in themselves.

(Soundbite of song, "A Nomad's Retreat")

MATOS: But the impact is deeper when that song shares space with the hesitantly unfurling bell-tone melody of "Welt Am Draht."

(Soundbite of song, "Welt Am Draht")

MATOS: In techno music, DJ sets and single tracks are the rule. But Pantha du Prince has made an album that works as an album. "Black Noise" sounds complete. With each track, you get to explore a different facet of one particular sensibility. Full albums are standard in indie rock, and a star turn by Noah Lennox of the much-loved rock band Animal Collective on the song "Stick to my Side" has lent Pantha some name recognition in that scene. In a time when rock music is taking in more styles than ever - from the Africanisms of Vampire Weekend to the distorted R&B of The Dirty Projectors, "Black Noise" seems to be just the thing to push Pantha du Prince over to a new audience.

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BLOCK: The album by Pantha du Prince is called "Black Noise." Our reviewer is Michaelangelo Matos. And you can hear songs from "Black Noise" at nprmusic.org.

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