music the virtual eco system

Recently discovered the electronic artist patten, not sure how well known he is, though he has some stuff out on Warp records/
My first encounter reminded me of a kind of scenario where on a cool summer evening, I am out on a street and hear two house parties happening simulatenously where I am situated roughly between.  In the air and breeze, the music from both parties coalesces and seems to form a strange hybrid, a new and mutant music that cannot exist except by this strange circumstance of time and place.  It feels uniquely like receipt of a signal or encounter with a consistent space occuring through the sounds, marked by a beauty and a strong feeling of unknowns, but positively charged and breaking through via concatenations of jumbled sonic elements which should not work but do.

one track exemplifies some of these things which i get from this (kind of) music at its best.  This is not everyone’s tea I can appreciate and I think one reason I am so struck by it is that I hear similarites with some approaches to music making that i’ve had over the years, though with his best stuff, patten is a cut above.

through the stuttered doorway…

I’m struck by the doubleness (that there is a discontinuity / disjunct to the sounds, but also a layered, revealed depth level continuity) that helps give a whiff of the schizoic… of course the sound of the disjuncted (unbelongoing or turbulent presence) is never the deepest thing about the sense of the music, whose effectiveness is partly down to how much it is its own whole and maybe also a hole through which we might glimpse something past our own shuttered appropriations (in the form of ideas, the fixtures in our believing and perceiving etc).

A lot of the time with ‘high end’ music (for want of a better term)  there is an unencumbering of the sonic space (‘Music is the space between the notes’ Debussy), the objective of minimising the proliferation of emplaced sounds, reduction to empower a resonant simplicity of the sounds in their distribution together.

This is music with a comported strategy, like an ambient dance music which includes apparitions of struggle amid what might appear at any point as ill-fiting and out of time and can present as simply too much.  But for me – this is crucial to its great move, a jump from the populated to de-populated sense of something shining in the gaps…

In a way it feels like apparent noisiness here is a camouflage, with a built-in moment of reveal, a charmed-form whose details alter with real contact, pointing like sunflower heads towards the miasmic key task of the song – that of unforgetting, of realising in turn that one’s enounter is like a gazed seeing of the unknown animating of leaves, a fluttering geometry that makes bright jewelled gaps of the clear day sky of light….
As a friend once reminded at a moment of hypnagogic imagination ‘human voices wake us and we drown’
but here, the voice most priominent in the song is itself drowned, compacted and honed out – left with removed presence.  A tonality and rhythm of the voice-sonic, stripped out but palpably now also consisting of some kind of compounded tone, pitch tampered /tempered in range and perhaps suggestive of the female (if not in itself gender-determinable)?
it feels like a transformatics is at the heart of this piece, that when we really hear are transformed by its possibility, that wild combinants can cohere in flight and in a dream of perception.
Here’s a good video for the patten song ‘drift’.

In genealogical terms, i am reminded that patten’s music also seems to use a sensibility that takes full advantage of the space made from the emergence of ‘glitch’ music from early 1990’s, (by Oval most notably with the album 94 Diskont).

However, it is not the specificty that necessarily marked out early glitch, the sound catching, leaping into mystery of where in a pre-esablished but short circuited tone-space it might land, creating new consistencies and refrains from continuity breaks, fast-wiring of the expectation gland.  But I’m reminded how necessary it was for the digital to break down, for us to hear the warp and weft of electronic music’s capacity to be wilfully mutated in its own response to being forced (to jump, to degrade, to repeat, to click, to glitch).

Many artists have made use of a glitch-formed palette and alongside something like 8-bit music (think Gameboy songs, early Crystal Castles etc) has brought added dimension to the possibilities of electronic (and specifically digital as opposed to analogue) music.
patten and his compositional style remind me a bit (in terms of what is being shown in the possible) of the digital sound sorceress Holly Herndon  Although I think Holly is a sculpter in the disciplines of space and impeccable precision, while not forgetting that the broadest brush can convey the most directly.

I almost feel that each time i listen to a song like Chorus, I am hearing it for the first time… its particulate nature is one of the things i feel gives it connection to patten, but i think from deeper you hear that Holly Herndon is a guide to a phylum of singular visitations in circumstances of harmonic brilliance which are on the level of some of the best ever composers.  Least from this angle…
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