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Pantene - Pantene

Pantene - Pantene

Super Utu

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Pantene was a live performance art-pop group that existed in Berlin, Germany in 2015. Its four band members; Marijn Degenaar, Molly Dyson, Olle Holmberg, and Rahel Tierbach took a DIY approach to instrumentation and arrangement, where intergenerational low-fidelity samples collide with subversive and pithy lyrics. Using laptops, MIDI, samplers and effects units to deliver re-contextualised pieces of music, Pantene explored issues surrounding cultural constructions of power, identity and sexuality with effortless aplomb. 

This collection of 4 songs has been, for the past few years, sitting on Soundcloud slowly collecting plays, likes and no doubt intrigue from its listeners, as it seems since the time of upload Pantene have gone silent. Super Utu will be reissuing this remastered digi-relic on 10” polyvinyl chloride for the very first time. On side A is Don’t Touch Me I’m Dancing, a piercing retribution to seedy characters who lurk in dark corners of nightclubs. Molly and Rahel’s disaffected vocals pan “It’s a quest for satisfaction. A finger in every hole.” As if the nightclub is the playing field for some sort of sadistic sexual sport. Just Business, dejectedly examines our autonomy as individuals existing in an increasingly monotonous world controlled by capitalists. It’s the kind of work Barbara Kruger might have written if she decided to make music instead of visual art. Olle reflects “…cos everywhere you go there is another IKEA store to stock up your new life.” It’s a witty remark that would feel as much at home in a dole-wave jangle as a David Foster Wallace novel. At once extremely familiar, yet totally mentally isolating. 

On the flip we hear Near To The Wild Heart. A legato, time-warped sample breathes deep and heavy beneath the reverb drenched vocals which sing “I am calm, I am cool, I wait for you. Take me all the way down, stretch it to the limit.” The lyrics float around in the back of your mind, in the exact same way the thought does that the attractive other from across the room, who’s been making eyes at you all night, might go home with you. On My Knees 2 Pray also does not falter in it’s sexually implicit/explicit vocal tango. The hapax legomenon of sultry deutsche sprache translates to “Virgin Mary, I know you see me. My knees only suffer for you.” 

While public discourse on sampling is contentious, it definitely pays to look beyond the technicalities and understand the context and contention of the creator(s). Pantene’s use of samples trounce any blatant pastiche. They re-appropriate decades old night club hits into breath-of-fresh-air political-pop songs. Perhaps you could even call them protest songs. At least we’re confident in knowing that they’ll be broadcast in institutions which were once symbols of anti-establishment, freedom and expression. Maybe they’re still like that. or Maybe not. 

1. Don't Touch Me (I'm Dancing) 05:27
2. Just Business 04:18
3. Near To The Wild Heart 03:56
4. On My Knees (2 Pray) 03:58

Format: 10-inch Vinyl EP
Label: Super Utu
Catalog: UTU2
Released: May 2019
Genre: Wave / Cosmic / Screwball / Art-pop