Lower Spectrum/Wilus Bixler/Craig Hollywood
Thursday, November 27, 2014
German electronic musician Pantha Du Prince is making his way around Australia and played The Bakery on Thursday night along with support from Perth local Lower Spectrum. The night was supposed to begin at 8pm, but Bakery staff turned us away twice, citing technical difficulties due to a two hour delay of some equipment. This was only a minor inconvenience as we were happy to take in the lovely sights, smells and textures of Northbridge on a Thursday night, though certainly we would have preferred to throw our money at The Bakery while sitting patiently inside their courtyard instead.
Once we finally gained entry about 45 minutes later, a smallish crowd of young weedy folks had gathered, and DJ Wilus Bixler was on the tables for a few minutes before Lower Spectrum took the stage. Lower Spectrum is the pseudonym for Ned Beckley’s musical exploits, and by all accounts he looks to be not only prolific and active around the country, but is also quite eclectic, if his Thursday night set was anything to go by.
Weaving in tracks across a spectrum of electronic styles, a hint of dub here, a dollop of trance there, as well as some samples from traditional music, his set had distinct movements in the classical sense of the word. There were often sharp turns in between tracks, but rather than jarring or ruining the flow, these were like opening an unmarked door to another chamber of intricately constructed sounds and beats.
After Lower Spectrum wrapped up, we had a short DJ set from Craig Hollywood before the man of the evening, Hendrik Weber, AKA Pantha Du Prince, arrived on scene. He took the stage cloaked in a massive metallic parka, providing a visual clue into his sonic world of Alpine echoes, snow-capped mountains, and cold nights under unobstructed moon and starlight.
He opened with a wave of sound that soon grew into a massive wall, the kind that stops you awed in your tracks, the sound waves reverberating in your core. He held us there in its grip before opening out to material from his latest solo work, Black Noise, which are characterised by subtle house beats and haunting bell and steel drum pings.
This middle level of crystalline chimes and found sounds was lost somewhat in the live rendering of the mix, being slightly overpowered by the beat and bass, as well as having a mass of murmuring bodies to contend with. We can’t expect pristine headphone-quality mixes in a live setting, but later in the set this seems to have been somewhat remedied.
Weber delved back into quite a bit of his earlier material as well, which is designed to be somewhat dancier, but which worked to get the crowd doing the electronic two-step shuffle. Ending with single-track encore, Weber left listeners wanting more, but given the late start to the night, we were lucky he gave us a full set.