Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit


28 February 2014, 13:30 Written by David Tate

There seems to be a current school of thought that electronic music might be the last real bastion of experimentation. The proliferation of cheap (read: cracked) software, limitless free lessons and a vast public forum has opened the door to a new wave of producers, unencumbered by limitations, expectation or public demand. Artists are finding new and exciting ways to paint with an unending sonic palette and their efforts have found a captivated audience. After all, in what other decade could Oneohtrix Point Never be considered a festival headliner? An artist firmly entrenched in the scene, with ESTOILE NAIANT patten continues to push the boundaries of experimentation while retaining an air of pop sensibility.

One of the earliest moments of clarity on his Warp debut comes somewhere toward the end of third track “Drift”, when, after the percussion, sawtooth synths and white noise have built to a near incomprehensible swell, a brief snapshot of silence punctuates the squall. These interstitial moments of respite serve to organise the noise, and patten’s ability to create space – no matter how seemingly insignificant – in amongst such chaos keeps the disorder from becoming overwhelming.

All hazy synths and asynchronous drum machines, patten’s music can be seen as reactionary to years of quantised perfection and pristine production in electronic music. It’s a peculiarity of modernity that an artist should have to be deliberate in removing himself from the grid, but it definitely gives the album a human quality.

Despite its chaotic nature, the record has a peculiar melancholy. The slow moving chord progressions and lush pads serve as a perfect counterpoint for the scattershot hi-hats and bursts of noise on tracks like “Softer” and “Agen”.

From the impression given by this first EP, patten’s signing to Warp must have been an inevitability, as its splintered rhythms and glitched percussion place it very firmly alongside the label’s finest. There are certainly no shortage of nods to British dance culture, and “Agen”’s rattling hi-hats, “Pathway”’s short snatches of garage vocals and the ubiquitous synth sound in “Key” embedded are all staples of the Warp back catalogue.

Patten shares just as much aesthetically, however, with LA’s Brainfeeder crew. All side-chained noise and cross wires percussion, it’s an album that refuses to be nailed down to any particular classification. The 80s VHS veneer, breathy pads and manipulated samples bring the tracks a sun-kissed element that separates ESTIOLE NAIANT from the dark, industrial productions Warp is best known for, while its undanceable rhythms and aggressive synths distance it from Flying Lotus and co. Too.

This is perhaps the point of the record – much like its creator and artwork, it remains unidentifiable, borderline incomprehensible even, but never less than thoroughly enthralling.

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