"Why stick to the things that I've already tried?" asks Noah Lennox, AKA Panda Bear, on Pantha du Prince's latest single. It's not meant in earnest, though it rather nicely explains what he's up to here: trying out something new. Not that this affair is wholly without precedent: Bear and Prince have crossed paths before, when Pantha served up a stunning remix of a track called "Peacebone" by this band that Noah's in called Animal Collective. As a singer Lennox revels in collage, layering and manipulating himself, using voice as an instrument, but never allowing technique to trump expression. On Lennox's breakthrough solo record, Person Pitch, his voice keeps its forthright honesty and simple Beach Boys tones no matter how it's being twisted. "Stick to My Side" treats you to the full Panda and Pantha tag-team, with catchy Brian Wilson pleas and haunting bells over minimal beats, and while it works for the most part, it feels above all like an experiment: at times inspired, at times teetering a bit on the novelty of hybrid form. That said, if indie kids and techno kids listen in closely, they'll hear a blueprint for future genre-smashing.
The track's experimental quality leaves ample room for Dial & Friends to crowd in and go to work, and the results speak well of all involved. The standout, arguably, is Four Tet's version, which displays a loose, house-y groove not that far off from his recent "Love Cry" single. The addition of phased-out drums, twinkling keys and upbeat bass, along with touches of the emotive pitch-bent synth and anthemic bursts of vocals, seems to occlude a bit of the vaguely mash-up-like quality at work in the original. Feeling quite fleshed out and proud, it could be a single in itself.
Monsieur Efdemin shows up twice to the party—flying solo he offers a clubby roller that effectively Berlinizes the tune, and together with Carsten Jost offers a Detriot-tinged spook-out that seems like it's receding down some infinite nightclub corridor cast in shadow and neon, with vocals left in mournful shreds. Lawrence's ears are tuned attentively to those beautiful bells...ah, those bells... Over a spare shuffling drum kit he lets them ring out in space alongside a lovely palette of xylophonic ring and sonorous clank. Walls takes the opposite path, yielding a church-a-pella, a beatless and cosmic display of Lennox's pipes in boy-choir glory, swathed on either side by heavenly ambient ripple. It's the Sunday mass mix, sunlight through stained glass.
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Tracklist: Pantha Du Prince - Stick to My Side A1 Stick To My Side (Efdemin Version)
A2 Stick To My Side (Original)
B1 Stick To My Side (Four Tet Version)
B2 Stick To My Side (Lawrence Version)
Digital: Stick To My Side (Carsten Jost & Efdemin version)
Digital: Stick To My Side (Walls version)
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