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patten – GLAQJO XAACSSO review

Popjustice’s Peter Robinson recently coined the term The New Boring to describe the Adele led charge of blandness that permeates the mainstream. However, it could be argued this “tedial wave” reaches far beyond and below into the underground. Shallow house is all too popular, disco has lost its throb and sex amidst the raft of beige software produced edits, whilst the current mutation of dubstep is rife with Ruperts marrying post-Burial dampness with perennially leaned-on R&B diva vocals from the 90s.

Within this climate, an artist such as patten armed with a debut album in GLAQJO XAACSSO reaffirms your desire and passion for discovering new music. There’s plenty to find difficult and obtuse about patten: the insistence on referring to him in lower case at all times; the near unpronounceable title of his debut album and the hugely chaotic nature of the music contained within, and a stubborn and steadfast disassociation with the standard media circus that precedes the release of an album.

The above and more has seen patten be compared to that other elusive electronic figure in Actress (whispers abound of him working on material for Werk as well) and makes him one of the most consistently intriguing artists to emerge this year. The rapacious desire to remain in the shadows ensures your focus remains on the music, and the music on GLAQJO XAACSSO proves to be quite captivating.

Much like how he eschews interviews by throwing up Wikipedia links or indeed flipping the script and questioning the interviewee, musically patten demonstrates a thrilling disregard for rhythmic boundaries and tempos, melodies seemingly plucked at random yet weaved into a coherent whole, perhaps best demonstrated on “Blush Mosaic”. At five tracks deep into the album and one of the longest running, it’s a stunning centrepiece, unveiling patten’s ability for programming beaten-up house tracks that drunkenly gallop along seemingly out of time yet don’t trainwreck like Thom Yorke DJing.

The denseness of sound throughout also impresses, with tracks such as “Out the Coast” and “A.M./Soft Focus” sounding like patten has recorded three different tracks cascading off each other. This approach never quite jars your senses given that GLAQJO XAACSSO has plenty of sketched out tracks that mostly veer between a minute and three in length. Indeed it’s the longer arrangements which hint at a more fully developed sound that resonate most. Along with the aforementioned “Blush Mosaic” –  recently afforded a well thought-out video filled with coalescing and merging colours – the album’s other standout is “Fire Dream”, which steadily unravels from a rasping metallic percussive beginning into a massively druggy concoction of jagged edits and intoxicating viscous melodies set deep beneath.

GLAQJO XAACSSO should perhaps be considered the dictionary definition of a headphone album with the rich tapestry of fucked up sounds losing their impact when filtered through loud speakers, though the cover art is striking enough that there’s a temptation to indulge in the vinyl. Given the widespread critical acclaim for GLAQJO XAACSSO, the challenge for patten will clearly be to transform his music’s impact on a personal level to a live setting, something that will no doubt be quite thrilling if achieved.

Tony Poland.