He could be any one of the people in here, but patten is almost certainly in the crowd of people gathered in CAMP’s basement for the launch of his new album ‘GLAQJO XAACSSO’. As I scan the crowd, Temperatures are on stage dragging us through their tectonic krautrock. Their set feels like one long extended rumble underpinned with motorik; sort of like some doomy version of Tangerine Dream. It’s certainly not the most straightforward way to introduce the headliner’s wonky, jilted and terminally off-kilter electronica, but then when has anything ever been straightforward with patten?
Camera-shy and only interested in talking about heavy duty musical theory, patten’s self-enforced anonymity isn’t about protecting an aura or fostering an aloof persona, it’s mostly about avoiding questions like “what’s your favourite colour” and “what’s better: tartan or plaid”. You can’t fault him really: those types of questions are always boring.
Musically, patten buzzes about somewhere between the average person’s cerebellum and a lizard brain. Prior to the release of the album we’re all here to celebrate, getting your hands on his music felt like you were either joining some underground resistance movement or getting into some weird esoteric cult. His recorded material consists of nothing more than a bunch of CD-Rs that have been passed around like a religious text, but the fusion of techno, broken beat, IDM and drill and bass that’s on them is nothing less than mind-blowing.
Clambering up on to a stage bathed in the projections of strange biological diagrams, you know his show tonight is going to be weird. As the visuals begin to swing in and out of focus, a wall of sound descends on the room like an iron curtain. There’s no going back now. It’s like the doors to the ghost train open up and we’re all sucked into a Dali painting where sights and sounds pile up, overlapping and crunching into one another like icebergs. Bells ring, distant and ominous. At times the bass fills the room like a sinister heartbeat, as if we’re trapped inside a vast unknowable alien being. Tempos shift subtly, wrong-footing the crowd. Rhythms stumble off-kilter. We are by turns dazzled by riotous colour and held above the clouds. This is a noise gig for the ears and eyes.
For the most part, the audience reaction is as varied and strange as the music spilling off the stage. Some sway, some dance, a few stare resolutely ahead, and one young lady freaks out completely, turning to ask me if we’re in hell before cackling to herself. Suddenly the volcanic activity halts and CAMP is washed in pure green, blue and purple light. I look to see if patten is still there taking the applause, but he’s already sunk beneath the waves.
This post first appeared on Spoonfed on Thursday 20 January 2012
Go to patten‘s website, he is rad.