Album Review patten – ESTOILE NAIANT

An album which reflects its creator.

In the kingdom of the over exposed, the man with the low profile is king. Ever since he emerged in 2011 patten has been an elusive, enigmatic presence. An artist who shuns the spotlight and divulges little about himself. Which is intriguing. It’s a fairly natural trait: as soon as someone doesn’t want to let something slip, our desperation to know increases.

Fittingly, ‘ESTOILE NAIANT’ is an album which reflects its creator. It is an elusive, enigmatic thing which divulges little about itself and is all the more intriguing because of it. It’s the first full-length release he’s made since signing for Warp, a move which always seemed to have some sort of cosmic destiny about it.

Because it was kind of hard to listen to his debut (‘GLAQJO XAACSSO’) without grasping for a reference to a Warp band. Hell, it was hard to read the title without picturing of Aphex Twin’s introduction of face-to-keyboard methodology for naming, and ‘ESTOILE NAIANT’ is definitely similar.

There’s certainly nods towards Richard D. James’ tendency to switch from that which darts across the landscape with an almost whimsical desire to experiment to that more like a psychotic modem eyeing up your neck. Plus, to keep the Warp theme going, you can also hear bits of Boards Of Canada throughout ‘ESTOILE NAIANT’, certainty in the mournful and ghostly ambience which surrounds much of the album.

Both the opening ‘Gold arc’ and ‘Softer’ both have a hint of something industrial about them, something almost steam powered about the beat. ‘Here Always’ seems to be built around the last desperate message of a malfunctioning morse code device, while the bass of ‘Key Embedded’ sounds piped in from a deep-sea diving bell. But by it’s very nature it is hard to pick moments out. It is an album far more about the whole than the piece.

And ultimately, the whole sounds close to a bunch of things without being precisely like any of them. It’s too fractured for that; as if patten formed it from the shredded remains of a dozen different records. An enigma made by a puzzle, ‘ESTOILE NAIANT’ is as compelling and as unusual as the musician who refuses to tell you his name or show you his face.