Published Sep 16, 2016Known simply by as "D" and "A," patten have long been at the forefront of innovative and experimental electronic music. They've refused to remain stagnant, instead choosing to pivot their sound in different directions with each new release. Their latest album, ψ (pronounced "Psi," after the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet), is the group's second release on Warp Records following 2014's ESTOILE NAIANT. Warp describes the album as a kind of "deconstructed club music, merging elements of footwork, grime and techno beside modern pop, r'n'b and post-punk industrial."
The UK duo — well-known within underground electronic circles — have managed to maintain their anonymity over the years, letting little slip in the way of personal details. (It's presumed A joined the group shortly after appearing in the video for "Winter strobing.") The effect is that listeners, devoid of any real knowledge of patten's polymorphic producers, are able to give themselves fully to the music.
On ψ, patten continue to push the boundaries of their sound and genre. This album is one that changes with each play through, giving way to multiple interpretations like a shifting kaleidoscope. The tracks are jarring, stark, intense, busy, layered, distorted, a combination of calculated chaos and beats that poke and prod at the mind. Standouts include the shimmering "True Hold," with its uniform lyrics provided by A, and the undulating "Used 2 b."
While ψ certainly isn't for everyone, it's nonetheless an important album that strives to get us to think outside the boom box. (Warp)