"This grouping of audio recordings is for aural use only. Any emotional content perceived herein is borne of its listener, and is in no way intended by its author," states Patricia in the press release for his latest album, Several Shades of the Same Color. "Any sounds resembling speech are not intended to convey meaning."
It's not exactly the most heartfelt way to present one's work, but then again, synthesizers are just machines, after all. If anything, they're more like an orchestra of diligent little machines, patiently waiting for their chance at a solo, and Patricia is their conductor. And if we are to consider Patricia a maestro, then he's up there with Leonard Bernstein; such is his artistry.
The synths on Several Shades of the Same Color positively gurgle through your ear canal. They quiver and bubble into colourful squiggles at every turn, but they're dark and ominous too. Listening to the first few tracks, it's difficult not to make a comparison that's all too prevalent in music reviews, and liken them to Aphex Twin's music; "I Know the Face, But Not the Name," "Speed Wagon Night Bride" and "It Gets Worse at Night" would all sit comfortably in the Analord series.
Amidst those tracks is "The Words Are Just Sounds," a song that brings us back to the "Any sounds resembling speech are not intended to convey meaning" part of his press statement. Here, the listener is met with some sombre keys and a "voice" (or is it a machine?) that croaks incomprehensibly, but nevertheless seems to be warning us of some problem or another. Then again, that's just one person's take. Patricia doesn't seem to have one, or if he does, he's not sharing.
It might seem like a cop-out to place all the emotional onus on the observer rather than the architect, but not everything needs a backstory. Yes, "You Never Listen" could be cathartic venting of frustrations in a failing relationship, but it could also be — and probably is — just Patricia wanting to make a club-ready acid techno track.
Several Shades of the Same Color is music for music's sake; maybe just this once, we can listen without listening too much. (Ghostly International)