patten – Requiem (Warp Records)


Last year’s impressive second album ‘Ψ’ (pronounced ‘Psi’) saw enigmatic London-based duo patten’s productions reaching new levels of depth and breadth, its dense and intricate textures merging industrial elements with grimy sonics, heavy bass presence, and moody, occasionally goth-tinged atmospherics. Six months on, this latest download only EP ‘Requiem’ sees the duo’s constantly shifting sound moving in a considerably new direction, with the four tracks here in many ways representing some of their most rhythmically ‘coherent’ work to date. Indeed, compared to the often nebulously swirling arrangements of the duo’s preceding work, it’s the beats that anchor the tracks here, providing a backbone for the more treacherously shifting elements that move around them.

‘Amulet’ opens this EP by sending distorted metallic hiphop rhythms wandering through a hallucinatory fog of gauzy digitally-treated vocal elements and eerily phased synth textures, the distorted echo of a ‘song’ occasionally rearing its head through the dense shifting layers, before dark bass synths emerge out of the undergrowth and the entire track seems to slow down to a blurred-out crawl. ‘Zoning’ meanwhile offers up the most frenetic moment here as rapid-fire arrhythmic kickdrums battle for space with what sounds like treated vinyl scratching and a digitally manipulated spoken male vocal sits just at the edge of comprehension, becoming just another textural element in the mix more than anything else as distorted noise flares suddenly rear up against hardcore rave bleeps, crashing hi-hats and the sudden burst of breaking glass.

From there on the pace drops and things get considerably more downbeat and atmospheric as ‘Rails’ sends a foreboding metallic bell motif cycling against snapping contorted IDM beats and swells of dark synthetic bass as half-buried female vocals snarl and buzz, the cycling melodic notes becoming increasingly filtered, to disorienting effect. Finally, ‘Swarm’ closes proceedings with a distorted male spoken vocal approaching a whispery croak as it gets pushed through woozy digital processing against a spacious backdrop of vaguely jazz-tinged offbeats and crunching kickdrums, cold ambient pads combining with staccato stabs of noise to heighten the claustrophobia levels as the snares get cut-up and stuttered into machine-gun like rhythmic bursts. Another characteristically intriguing EP from the ever-unpredictable patten – indeed, it’s anyone’s guess as to where the duo will head next.


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