Spin - "PRINCIPE is better experienced while in motion. Preferably on a train or a bike, something with gears you can physically feel clicking into place in time with the meditative regularity of Thomas' propulsive arpeggiations."
Audio Mixer: Prins Thomas.
Audio Remixer: Prins Thomas.
Recording information: K16 Studios, Oslo (2015); Studio M57 (2015).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Hei Karin; Konnichiwa Hagi; Hola Alexandra; Hallo Kai.
Best known for his swirling space-disco tracks, produced both as a solo artist and with frequent collaborator Lindstrom, Prins Thomas explored more of his ambient, Krautrock, and downtempo influences with his third solo album, issued in 2014. Following the 2015 release of an ambitious three-CD mix titled Paradise Goulash, which incorporated everything from avant jazz and industrial to minimal techno and indie rock, Thomas went further out of orbit with his next proper full-length, the 96-minute opus Principe del Norte. The album's extended, side-long tracks are a direct homage to the heyday of gatefold vinyl and prog rock, particularly of the hypnotic, synthesizer-driven variety. Much of the album de-emphasizes beats, instead concentrating on percolating arpeggios and slowly developing minimalist textures. Crystalline guitar tones help shape the cloudlike sonic constructions, but the electronic treatments and softly clicking beats owe equally to '90s ambient techno artists like Pete Namlook as well as to the '70s and '80s cosmic explorations of Manuel Göttsching and Steve Hillage. The album's second CD (or final two LPs) brings the beats back to the forefront, retaining the bubbling, circular atmospheres but adding propulsive (yet not intrusive) disco rhythms. Tracks like "G" perfectly strike a balance between ethereal elements and grooves, with a meaty bass guitar line and handclaps, along with shimmering synths and lightly distorted guitars smoldering beneath everything. The effect is relaxing and meditative as well as energizing, with neither the dance or space-out sides of the equation feeling out of place. Even with the album's epic length, it never feels meandering or indulgent, as Prins Thomas remains supremely focused throughout the entire journey, finding the duality between the different types of "cosmic" music. ~ Paul Simpson