Prins Thomas doesn't waste a second of this 100-minute collection. And that's no small feat.
Prins Thomas decided to go back in time for this new release, to the era of classic ambient music in the vein of the Orb and KLF. Casting aside drums and drum machines, he took to the studio and went to work on what would become four sides of vinyl ecstasy. Clocking in at over 100 minutes, Principe Del Norte is the rarest of records: It doesn’t wear out its welcome and rarely, if ever, repeats itself in the time we spend with it.
Each song is named after its position on the vinyl, thus “A1” is the first cut and “A2” the second until the listener reaches the inevitable conclusion of the LP with “H”, one of two 13-minute tracks on the record’s backside. The artist (known to his mum and the tax assessor as Thomas Moen Hermansen) takes influence from aforementioned Orb and others, but one might also detect hints of Krautrock, European synth soundtrack works and more at play in these grooves. The latter is especially evident on the opening “A1” and its successor, “A2”, which sounds like a journey through the heart of a city late at night when only the street lamps can register the stories we have to tell and then only the ones that exist outside our most secret hearts.
There’s time for loud, dissonant swirls that freak the listener right out via the haunting and harrowing “B”, time for the retro bleeps and blurps of “C” and time for the throbbing, liquid “D”. If there is a track here that directly connects with the Orb it’s probably this one, recalling the glacial revelations of that act’s 1995 utterance Orbus Terrarum. And, yes Virginia, there’s even a little something something you can dance to via the pulsing, clapping “E” and “F” which may just reconfigure your DNA for ya too.
And then it all comes to an end with two epics, the mighty “G”, which takes those dancing, nightclubbing tendencies and exploits them until the listener has no choice but to get up and dance and the mightier still “H”, which serves as a perfect culmination everything our beloved Prins can do. All that in about 100 minutes and at the end we aren’t tired, we aren’t weary and we aren’t even ready to say goodbye.
Hermansen has built quite a reputation for himself over the last few years and it’s easy to see why so many have been singing his praises and why what would be excess in the hands of a lesser artist doesn’t even hint as excess in his. He has vision but he also has talent that can balance it; he has taste but he has a sense of adventure that allows him to at times stretch the boundaries of what he might normally do and then bring it back in to the familiar territory his audience seeks.
Because of that we’ll be talking about this record for some time to come, a record which brings us to a high watermark in electronic music and bravely sets us on a course toward the future.